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Working with BCS in SharePoint Server 2013

Since SharePoint Server 2010, Business Connectivity Services (BCS) have assumed the role of Business Data Connector (BDC) for SharePoint Server. BDC and BCS are SharePoint Services likely to be of substantial importance to any ambitious plan to extract substantial value from the SharePoint computing platform. BCS is critically important to any effort to include data from Line of Business (LoB) units within a comprehensive view of a company’s computing output.

Any plans to expose data from SQL Server, or even non Microsoft data repositories within a SharePoint computing environment must be built on BCS, so including BCS in any implementation plan for SharePoint Server 2013, enterprise edition, makes complete sense.

BCS can also be used to create “external content types”, for use within SharePoint 2013, from external data. Implementing a robust content typing program is a high value activity, once SharePoint has been implemented. Content types and “external content types” are highly useful to provide a structure for Search, metadata tagging and even a plan to organize SharePoint data into a taxonomic structure. Of course, a robust content type feature is critically important to any successful effort to gather business intelligence from corporate data collected within SharePoint.

Note my mention of “SharePoint Server 2013 enterprise edition”. The enterprise edition of SharePoint server is required to implement BCS. So implementation plans need to be framed around the enterprise edition SharePoint product.

Once SharePoint stakeholders have grasped the strategic importance — and value — of BCS, SharePoint administrators, developers, designers and architects should be brought up to speed with any platform differences between BCS for SharePoint Server 2010 and the same service for SharePoint 2013.

We’ve included a video tutorial on this topic in a set on SharePoint 2013 Development Options authored by Steve Fox, a Director of Services for Microsoft. This video tutorial, USING BUSINESS CONNECTIVITY SERVICES IN SHAREPOINT 2013 TO CONNECT TO YOUR EXTERNAL SYSTEMS.

This video is available for unlimited viewing by anyone with a valid subscription to SharePoint-Videos.com/.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved