I've started working with CiviCRM as I've been looking to build a new website for a NPO I work for, which does Youth Development onboard a Sail Training ship. One of the problems we face is the information we have being in multiple locations, so to get any critical information for our operations onboard (such as Passenger Manifests, Crew Transfers and other details) we have to go through the office. On top of this, alot of these things are STILL put together by hand via spreadsheets and what not, which can make for a slow process.
Implementing CiviCRM to start bringing all our membership information, event information and registration together could certainly streamline this process, but critical to this is quickly generating manifests, reports and what not so that whoever needs the data with the right login credentials can get it quickly with no fuss and just print it out. Views seemed the best way to do this as it's flexibility in displaying information queried from the database is excellent, as long as it's given good definition to work with.
Basically I've spent the last week or so relearning a bit about programming and improving CiviCRM's Views Integration so it can be better used to display information, at present the base tables defined are Contacts, Events, Participants, Contributions and Activities. These tables are linked in various ways so that you have a fairly flexible framework with which to build your queries from.
As well as the fixed tables that CiviCRM uses, this integration will also go through all your Custom Data Groups which are related to the 5 base tables above and automatically assign them. There's also the ability to create links with whatever text you like, that can link to either the usual CiviCRM Management Pages and functions, OR to a custom Drupal View as a Page, with the contact/event/etc ID tacked on the end. What this means is it should be quite feasible to build a front end for grabbing information that your users specifically need for your implementation of CiviCRM, without having to hack up the various CiviCRM Pages or touch a shred of PHP.
Not every single field of information that could be used has been implemented yet, for example things like Honorees and Recurring Payments are still on the todo list, but overall a fair amount of information can be pulled from the CiviCRM Database. While this stuff I'm doing is very much hobby work in between my real work, most fields can be added fairly simply using existing handlers so if one or two things are missing that you'd like for your implementation, or if something isn't working as it should let me know on the forums and I'll see if I can sort it out. A diagram of how the Views Tables are joined can be found on the wiki and the adjustments should be in the CiviCRM 2.2 alpha shortly.
Update: This code has now been committed to svn and will be part of the alpha 2 next week