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Business Connectivity Services for SharePoint 2010 can be a Catalyst of Change

This is the second in a series of posts on Microsoft’s Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint 2010. A comprehensive set of video training content (approximately 1.5hrs of training spread over 11 topics) on Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint 2010: Business Connectivity Services is available for purchase on SharePoint-Videos dot com. Each video included in this set is also available for unlimited viewing, whenever training on this topic is required, to all subscribers to our web site. We offer individual subscriptions, as well as “People Subscriptions” to enterprise organizations. Please contact us to learn more about our subscription offers.

In a case study published on September 7, 2012, and titled Power Company Speeds Key Processes, Frees Developer Time by 75 Percent with Intranet, Microsoft® provides useful information about benefits that enterprise organizations will likely obtain from an implementation of BCS. We highly recommend a read of this case study as it illustrates the substantial amount of time that users can save processing daily work by using BCS to pull external data into a SharePoint 2010 environment.

The company portrayed in this case study is Calpine which is an electric power producer headquartered in Texas in the U.S. The objective of implementing BCS for this business was to reduce the amount of time required to publish information on the corporate Intranet. An additional objective was to free up support staff from the burden of processing work for SharePoint 2010 users, by providing these users with the tools they require to produce their own solutions as needs arise.

Per the case study, Calpine successfully attained both of these objectives. While details are not provided in this case study, we can’t help but conclude that implementing BCS removed an otherwise unnecessary step in an information publishing process where changes effected in applications external to SharePoint 2010 and the corporate Intranet, for example, Microsoft Excel or SQL Server 2008 R2, would have to be published, once again, on static web pages displayed on the Intranet.

As we will see shortly in subsequent posts to this blog, web parts can be implemented that will publish Excel charts directly to web apps (web pages) displayed on an Intranet served by SharePoint 2010, Enterprise Edition. Though not quantified in the case study, we think that the aggregate time saved through the elimination of a manual processing step to simply take Excel charts and publish them to web apps on SharePoint was considerable. These savings likely became even more compelling when users, themselves, could simultaneously complete work with Microsoft Office tools like Work, Excel and PowerPoint and publish them, simultaneously to the Intranet.

From this case study, and other information to be found on Microsoft web sites (we particularly like a presentation we found on MSDN that broadly touches some of the value for enterprise organizations that implement BCS, Business Connectivity Services Overview, a sufficient amount of information should be at hand on the value of BCS as a core component of an efficient SharePoint 2010 computing environment. In the next post to this blog we will start to look at a webinar presented by Asif Rehmani, Microsoft MVP, and Raymond Mitchell, a subject matter expert on BCS, on the topic of this application.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.