Copying my answer from this question:
Thanks for the question. I too have spent a lot of time handcrafting reports and was exposed to Tableau when others at a previous employer used it. I downloaded the trial, worked my way through the tutorials and was impressed at how much can be generated, how quickly, with little technical expertise.
Of course, there will always be some reports that we have to handcraft and the question is how to fit Tableau in with our existing applications / handcrafted reports.
For standalone solutions, with no code of mine, I have been using
Qlik® Sense Desktop is a Windows application that gives
individuals the power to create personalized, interactive data
visualizations, reports and dashboards from multiple data sources with
drag-and-drop ease. Discover more insights in your data in just 5
**Free for personal and internal business use**
Drag-and-drop app creation and data loading
Multi-data source integration
Installed Windows application
That "Free for personal and internal business use" is actually quite generous, but might be a problem if you have to release reports to external companies.
For client side code-your-own, I think that you can't beat http://d3js.org/
See also http://www.quora.com/Is-there-an-inexpensive-alternative-to-Tableau
http://www.datacopia.com/ - free and cheap versions available