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Using Business Connectivity Services with SharePoint Server 2010 to Produce Web Page Content can Produce Substantial Cost Savings

In 2012 enterprise businesses and other large groups of users in the public, the non profit and the the not-for-profit sectors are emphasizing the importance of collecting meaningful metrics on business activity, performing related analysis, and publishing information on web pages in the form of charts, scorecards, and dashboards. Acquiring and maintaining web browsers constitutes a zero to, at most, a very low cost activity; therefore, these computing tools are ubiquitous. Further, they provide an excellent method for publishing business performance data. Finally, these web pages also provide an attractive basis for users to collaborate on projects arising from the publication of information about organizational performance.

Of course, SharePoint Server 2010 is a system worthy of serious consideration for a web publishing and collaboration objective around business performance metrics. The case for SharePoint becomes more compelling when one considers the savings that can be realized by utilizing Business Connectivity Services (BCS) with SharePoint to incorporate data from external systems into web page content published with SharePoint. Simply consider that, in the past, specialized technologies (and even expertise with specific programming languages) were required to capture information from databases, as well as systems built upon databases, for publishing on web pages. In some cases middleware was also required to support data communication between remote, dissimilar computing systems. In contrast, BCS provides the platform for data communication between disparate SQL compliant systems. The same understanding that users call upon to work with lists, tables, and, perhaps, web site branding upon an Intranet built on SharePoint Server 2010 can be leveraged to produce user friendly reports. In sum, therefore, organizations can reduce the cost of this endeavor by working within a SharePoint and BCS framework.

We have produced a set of video tutorial content on this topic, SharePoint 2010 Business Connectivity Services Training DVD. This content is authored by Raymond Mitchell one of six contributors to the popular book, SharePoint Six-in-One. Raymond covers essential points that are required to effectively implement BCS, including:

  • External Lists
  • External Data Columns
  • External Content Types
  • Creating External Systems
  • Creating External Content Types
  • Advanced Options for External Content Types
  • BCS Associations
  • Business Data Web Parts
  • Creating BCS Actions
  • BCS Profile Pages and Search
  • BCS Administration and Security

If you are looking to publish web page content with business performance information gathered from external sources within a SharePoint Server 2010 operating environment, then you ought to seriously consider utilizing BCS for the task. We welcome an opportunity to speak with businesses looking to achieve this type of objective. Please contact us at (630) 786-7026, or Contact Us to further a discussion about our video training content.

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