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Lists in SharePoint 2010 Offer Many Database Features including Lookup Columns

The Microsoft® Office help website for Access defines a lookup column as follows:

“A lookup column (or field) is a field in a table whose value is retrieved from another table or from a value list. You can use a lookup column to display a list of choices in a combo box or list box. The choices can come from a table or query, or they can be values that you supply. You can create a lookup column manually by setting a field’s Lookup field properties, or automatically by completing the Lookup Wizard. Whenever possible, you should use the Lookup Wizard to create a lookup column. The Lookup Wizard simplifies the process and automatically populates the appropriate field properties and creates the appropriate table relationships.”

Lookup column capability has been incorporated in SharePoint 2010 lists. In other words, it is possible to create dependencies between lists in SharePoint 2010. The benefits of using lookup column data are the same as noted in the above quote with regard to Access databases; in sum, by incorporating lookup columns in SharePoint lists, designers can rely upon the accuracy of SharePoint, itself, to ensure that changes made to a “parent” list are accurately reflected in any/all child lists, rather than on human intervention. The end result is more reliable data, which, in turn, can be better used to fuel useful and relevant business intelligence gathering. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that column data is also important for the Term Store, Metadata, and taxonomic development in SharePoint 2010.

We offer a training video on this topic, Enforce Column Relationship in Lookup Columns. We think this lookup column feature is an example of the substantial benefits that SharePoint 2010, once correctly implemented, can deliver for organizations. If a uniform design standard is implemented across all types of list development that calls for, where ever possible, the use of lookup columns and related data, then, we think, the data stored in SharePoint will be much more reliable. With reliable data, business intelligence gathering efforts should produce useful results that can be incorporated into business plans as well as past performance analysis.

If you need to identify important features of SharePoint 2010 for business intelligence gathering efforts, then we can help, whether by providing your organization with video training content that your designers, architects and administrators can use to build the processes that you require, or by helping your team frame the architecture of the solutions they are contemplating. Please contact us by telephone at +1 (630) 786-7026. Alternatively, you can contact us by email with any questions you may have about this video, the InfoPath 2010 set, and possible applications for individual as well as organizational-level viewing and use.

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