I want to create a backend analytics console for my users. I was wondering if there was a 3rd party service / drupal module that I can use as a starting point for this. Or is this more of a custom job?
I would use Google Charts with the Chart project: http://drupal.org/project/chart
You didn't mention if you are using Drupal 6 or 7, but it supports both.
Most likely, what you are wanting to do is a custom job--if you are seeking some sort of specialized reporting. It really depends on what you want to accomplish. If you could provide additional detail, I would be happy to try and offer a more precise answer.
If you are just querying the database, it is quite easy to either use Views or write a simple custom module to produce basic reports.
There is also a module called Forena Reports which you may find useful. http://drupalmodules.com/module/forena-reports
If you are looking for analytics on site access, my recommendation is to start by adding in the Google Analytics module and using Google for your statistics. Its painless and their insights are exceptional.
In the meantime, take a look at http://DrupalModules.com. The site is fantastic and is extremely helpful in locating useful modules.
Please note that the specific version of Drupal you are using will affect which modules are available.
Here are a few modules that might be of some value.
Hope this helps.