BCS is the normal way to integrate external data source into SharePoint. If the "external data source" is MS SQL Server, it's relatively simple: we can do the job through SharePoint Designer.
However, if we need to grab the data from web services, and don't like Visual Studio (C#), what can we do?
With the help of Scheduled Tasks, we can import data into SharePoint list, or export data into external data source regularly.
From business users' point of view, the performance is great. And not like "external list" - we get full features of list view!