Sometimes out-of-the-box analytical tool capabilities simply don't offer rich enough styling, interactivity or embeddability. When you need more than easily configured charts and reports deployed via vendor-supplied web apps, then you must customize.
Customizing out-of-the-box analytic and reporting applications
We've been there. We've done some amazing things to style, customize, and embed libraries into reporting applications. We can make your out-of-the-box application, like Pentaho Analyzer or Saiku, look like its just an extension of your main application.
We prefer the Pentaho platform because we know that building an analytic application from scratch is no easy task. It has nice theming, and with its recent platform re-engineering, allows much easier access to stylesheets and injection of custom libraries. It is an extensible and open framework that can be molded to suit just about any purpose. Additionally, it provides a comprehensive security model that integrates nicely with LDAP, Active Directory, CAS and/or custom database security repositories.
Building from the ground up
There are times when we've needed to go beyond the out-of-the-box front ends and frameworks, and implement specific visualization libraries to build what people want to see. D3.js and HighCharts are both excellent libraries for doing advanced visualizations with more complete control. In most cases, we're still doing robust data engineering on the back end to enable these libraries to more easily display the data.
These custom analytic applications may take a little more effort, but with our analytic, design and integration chops you can be assured that your solution will be spot on.