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Implement The Open Data Protocol to Encourage Collaboration Over SharePoint between Lines of Business Groups

Rehmani Consulting Inc sells products that help enterprise users hasten adoption for Microsoft® SharePoint®. Our products include VisualSP, which is a help system that can be used to deliver custom technical training content directly to SharePoint 2010 users, within the SharePoint 2010 working environment. We also sell video training content optimized to provide SharePoint users with just the technical training content they require to successfully execute their tasks within SharePoint. All of our video training content is offered to subscribers to our web site, SharePoint-Videos.com. We offer a variety of different subscriptions. Please contact us to learn more.

One can argue that SharePoint is designed to support collaboration between line of business (LOB) units. Naturally, the promise of successful collaboration between LOB silos through SharePoint can be used, by stakeholders championing this software, as a reason for users to adopt the SharePoint computing environment. Shared document libraries, lists, team sites, and My Sites are all features of SharePoint designed to enhance collaboration between users. Certainly SharePoint users are usually members of LOB organizations within an enterprise. Therefore, there is an opportunity for these LOB units, themselves to collaborate through their respective sets of SharePoint users.

The Open Data Protocol can be implemented within a SharePoint implementation to ” . . . unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today.” (quoted from an introduction to the Open Data Protocol). In our opinion, SharePoint stakeholders should take a serious look at the Open Data Protocol as a feature that may be worth implementing, in the interests of hastening user adoption. SharePoint 2010 is listed on the Open Data Protocol web site as the first of a list of producers. The web site defines producers as ” . . . services that expose their data using the OData protocol.” (ibid). The web site makes the case that “[a]ny data you’ve got on SharePoint as of version 2010 can be manipulated via the OData protocol, which makes the SharePoint developer API considerably simpler.” (ibid).

In the previous post to this blog we made the case that a real opportunity for users to lower the cost of SharePoint 2010 (where an organization supports a substantial collection of data specific to LOBs stored in a variety of non Microsoft repositories like MySQL, Drupal, etc) while, at the same time, extending its utility, lies precisely in this process of simplifying development methods.

Simpler methods require lower levels of technical sophistication, and are generally less expensive. From what we’ve read of SharePoint 2013, with its out of the box OData Connector, we think the likelihood of enterprise organizations that qualify as candidates for this protocol, to successfully capture a high return on their investment in SharePoint, will be much more probable.

With a simpler development method, and the promise of successful exposure of a rich set of heterogenous information through an implementation of this protocol, the collaborative features of SharePoint should become that much more compelling. Of course, users, in turn, will likely be more willing to standardize on SharePoint as a preferred computing environment. All of this will be good news, of course, for SharePoint stakeholders.

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