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Implement Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint to Help Hasten User Adoption

Microsoft has counseled that “[f]ailure to sufficiently integrate external systems with SharePoint solutions can slow the adoption of SharePoint within an organization.” (quoted from MSDN Chapter 11, Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint 2010. The key to avoiding this failure is to use Business Connectivity Services (BCS), “a set of technologies that brings data from external systems into SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010” (ibid) to “integrate external data” into SharePoint.

We got the message and built a suite of 11 video classes on this collection of tools. Our classes were each conceived and authored in entirety by Raymond Mitchell a widely recognized expert on BCS. Please review the SharePoint-Videos.com BCS course list. You will note that we discuss BCS Administration and Security, Profile Pages and Search, Associations, Advanced Options for External Content Types, External Data Columns, Business Data Web Parts and External Lists. Further, we show you how to create BCS Actions, External Content Types, and External Systems. Finally, we introduce you to External Content Types, which we are convinced you need to conceptually understand in order to make maximum use of BCS for your SharePoint project.

We are fully convinced that skillful applications of BCS will certainly hasten end user adoption of SharePoint within enterprise businesses. This value add is that much more attractive when you consider that our presentation is tailored for Citizen Developers who are quite interested in developing applications, but opt for a code less approach via SharePoint 2010. Accordingly, all of the techniques presented in Raymond Mitchell’s collection work sans code.

Once external systems like SQL Server, MS Dynamics, Lync Server, etc are brought into the “realm of accessibility” for SharePoint users with BCS technologies, then business processes can be streamlined for greater efficiency. An example of this process at work is the reduction in duplication of effort that enterprise business can realize by re-engineering processes like Sales, Customer Service, Human Resources, Finance, etc upon a common SharePoint foundation. Reducing duplication of effort will result in cost savings, meaning material ROI within the mandated business plan for the enterprise.

Of course, theory must be effectively translated into practice if the objectives are to be realized. BCS is one set of technologies that must coexist along with many others for SharePoint to magnetize and maintain high levels of user adoption. It is precisely with an eye towards accomplishing a translation of theory into practice that we strongly recommend corporate wide training. Stay tuned to learn more.

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