As was announced early in 2004, Oracle has just released the Oracle Business Intelligence Spreadsheet Add-In. This is an add-in for Excel.
OracleBI Spreadsheet Add-In enables end users to display and navigate Oracle OLAP data from within Excel. Users can treat the Oracle OLAP data as regular Excel data. For example, they can create formulas and graphs, which enables them to combine the powerful analytic capabilities of Oracle OLAP with standard Excel functionality. Using a wizard-driven interface, users can select data from Oracle OLAP simply by choosing from a list of values or by creating advanced selections, such as those based on exceptions, top/bottom analysis, or hierarchies. In addition, users can create Oracle OLAP-based calculations using a wizard. The built-in Query Wizard and Calculation Wizard are based on the Oracle Business Intelligence Beans wizards, thus ensuring a consistent interface with other applications that are based on Oracle Business Intelligence Beans.
With this add-in, it becomes much easier to make use of the OLAP functionality in the Oracle 9iR2 and 10g database. Wizard-driven from Excel, end-users with only a little training should be able to perform analysis that otherwise would require the use of custom built applications or the configuration of Analysis tools such as Discoverer.
As of yet I have not done anything with the plugin, so I will reserve both judgement and recommendations. I hope to tell you more in a few weeks.
The homepage of the Oracle BI plugin for Excel: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/bi/spreadsheet_addin/index.html. View an online demo.