Data analysts often use a chain of 3 to 4 tools to achieve a single task. For example, first they query the database to extract aggregated data. Then they import it into Excel to do some more processing. Next, they move to R, to run some statistical analyses. Then they go back to Excel to produce nice charts.
This approach is time consuming and error prone, but often analysts don't have any other choice. They can't work in the database directly, because they find SQL difficult to use. Even though it looks simple for simple queries, it very quickly gets complex and unreadable. Using Excel as the only tool is not an option because it can't store and process larger data sets. The same holds for R.
Rax has the ambition of becoming a Swiss-army knife - an integrated environment for an analyst. It talks directly to the database tables and can handle any amount of data. At the same time, it provides greater expression power and ease of programming than SQL. Rax has an integrated graphical engine with charting libraries allowing to create beautiful charts in a single statement. In the near future, Rax will be integrated with R and therefore offer plenty of statistical functions to choose from.