I've been reading "Making Sense of Behavior", by William T. Powers. The book is about controlling human behavior, but one section really made me think about the importance of proper business intelligence and SQL reporting for an organization who wants to achieve ambitious goals:
"On a twisty mountain road with cars coming around every blind corner you don't look away for even a second! Because the general rule is that if you want to control something, you have to perceive it.
When you're filling your bath, you don't just perceive that the water looks hot, you specifically use your temperature sensors in your hand to report on the current temperature of the water because that's what you're controlling: temperature.
Perception tells us the current status of whatever it is we're trying to control. Without that information, received continuously or at frequent intervals, we can't control anything. Perception is just as important as action, for controlling."
Reporting is not our only means at perception, but it is a powerful one. And when organizations ignore effective reporting and business intelligence strategies, they do so at their own peril. I have always felt that business intelligence was nothing more than delivering the right data to the right person at the right time.