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Set Up BCS Profile Pages to Present Item Specific Information from External Data Sources in SharePoint 2010

As noted in a post to the Microsoft Business Connectivity Team Blog back on the 19th of October, 2009 Overview of Business Connectivity Services, Business Connectivity Services (BCS) “is all about connecting end users with enterprise data that they need to do their job – without having to leave the applications that they use today: Office and SharePoint.” We think that this observation is very important as it defines one of the most attractive values, from a business perspective, that BCS delivers to users. Namely, by enabling BCS within a SharePoint 2010 environment, organizations looking to standardize upon a single computing platform for any and all operations for a single computing platform have taken a big step forward in the right direction, a step that can substantially reduce typical costs for systems development and support.

We think a compelling example of the value that BCS can deliver is to be found through enterprise implementation of BCS Profile Pages, which are web part pages with unique URLs that can be crawled by SharePoint Search to present users with an enterprise search capability that can encompass relevant external data from Line of Business (LOB) groups. We offer a tutorial on the subject, “BCS Profile Pages and Search”, which is included in our SharePoint 2010 Business Connectivity Services Training DVD. The intended audience for this tutorial are SharePoint Administrators who likely possess the permissions required to configure these pages via Central Administration.

As this tutorial presents, utilizing BCS Profile Pages, an organization can equip users with an ability to search external data resources for specific information. Once SharePoint Search successfully locates the desired information, the user will be served with an informative web page presentation of all of the information related to the item. Without SharePoint 2010 and BCS, the costs of developing this type of capability for a user community that has opted for browser access to information from an Intranet would be, we are confident, geometrically more expensive than is the case with a method built on SharePoint and BCS. We think this type of cost saving, achieved without any degradation of the quality of the user computing experience is the type of value contribution that can result in SharePoint playing a mission critical role within an organization’s computing paradigm.

If you see the value of features like BCS Profile Pages and would like to discuss implementation planning and user training, then we welcome your contact. Please contact us at (630) 786-7026, or Contact Us to further a discussion about our video training content.

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