Organizations in need of proven methods to surface external data in SharePoint 2013, and to work with it via no-code process development approaches, should consider a new set of video tutorials on BCS, External Data, and Workflows, led by Fabian Williams, SharePoint Server MVP. The set has just been published by SharePoint-Videos.
A review of the syllabus for this training set demonstrates the importance of Business Connectivity Services, BCS, to the successful application of the methods included in the set. BCS is not a new feature to SharePoint 2013. In fact, BCS has been a component of SharePoint since SharePoint Server 2007. What is different now, in 2014, is how the application-to-application data communications capabilities, which are included with BCS, have been applied to non Microsoft data sources (even MYSQL, not to mention Oracle, IBM, etc) via the Open Data Protocol project (OData). Three of the tutorials in this set of 15 videos are devoted to demonstrations including OData. The last of the three, a video tutorial of approximately 22 minutes in length, provides an introduction to the “OData functionalities and applications in regards to working with BCS External Data and List Item Versioning”>
Another core concept discussed in this course, and, once again, one with impact beyond the Microsoft platform of systems development, is web services. The title of this tutorial, the 12th of the set, “The necessity of Web Services in working with External Data”, speaks to the “mission-critical” nature of the role web services plays for the whole concept of implementing SharePoint 2013’s BCS to surface External Data in SharePoint, where no-code methods (workflows) can be built to provide users with the solutions they require.
For readers otherwise unfamiliar with the importance of External Data to any effort to deliver substantial Return on Investment (ROI) from a decision to implement SharePoint 2013, on premises, it may help to consider the recent “consumerization of IT” trend, and the procedures enterprise IT organizations have built into efforts to support a policy of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for their constituents as the data production engines the methods in this course are designed to harness, for the benefit of the overall organization.
The next post or two to this blog will report on a sampling of this course.
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