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Adding External Data to SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online Adds Value to Either Platform

Any plan to implement SharePoint as a legitimate solution for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) needs to address how external data, meaning information usually stored in Line of Business (LoB) silos, will be added to SharePoint and published for user consumption. The rationale for this mandate is simple. A legitimate ECM solution must be capable of exposing any content located within the enterprise, regardless of whether the content is reposed in the ECM, or not.

But SharePoint, despite its flexibility, is actually simply one system, of likely many, within any larger organization. If it is to be used as an ECM, then external content (the term is used as a synonym for data in this post) will have to be added to it.

SharePoint 2007, and 2010 provided methods of processing external data. These methods include building external content types to package the data in a SharePoint 2007 or 2010 “digestible” form. They also include reporting services for SharePoint, which supports publishing charts, and even SQL Server grids on SharePoint site pages, so users can consume the data within a consistent SharePoint user interface. The Open Data Protocol exists, in part, to support the efforts of SharePoint stakeholders to add external data from non Microsoft structured data repositories, principally MYSQL, to the same ECM system.

SharePoint-Videos has published quite a bit of content on the topic of external content types for SharePoint, Reporting Services for SharePoint, and external data.

We are pleased to announce an upcoming class on the topic of External Data for SharePoint 2013, and SharePoint Online, which will be led by Fabian G. Williams, a Microsoft Server MVP, published author, and public speaker on related topics. The title of Fabian’s course is Exposing External Data in SharePoint 2013 online and on-premise. This online class will be held on July 1, 2014. Anyone clicking on the link I’ve just provided will have an opportunity to register to attend the class.

Organizations planning on implementing SharePoint as an ECM solution should look carefully into the options for adding external data to the set of content to be published by SharePoint. Registering to attend our course on this topic may provide a method of quickly coming up to speed on this topic.

Ira Michael Blonder

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