Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint - Why we made it? 

 

The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint can solve many issues that still exist with SharePoint external data integration. It makes it as easy as possible to connect native SharePoint lists to 100+ external data sources, codeless and bi-directional. All native SharePoint list features are available for the connected lists, including search, change notifications and workflows. Please read more about why we made it.

 

 

The fast, easy and seamless integration of external corporate data and processes is a common requirement in the use of Microsoft SharePoint technology. Existing solutions, such as the Business Data Catalogue (BDC) for SharePoint 2007 or Sharepoint Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint 2010/2013/2016, are often too complex at the facility, don't support "native" SharePoint lists, bring with them limitations or are available for certain SharePoint editions only.

 

The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint can help to close these gaps. Connections can easily be configured with a few settings directly in the web browser based list settings dialogue - without any coding or additional tools required.


Full list features

 

The desired data can be presented without any restrictions, with the full read-only (or optionally write back / Create, Update, Delete - CRUD) functionality of native SharePoint lists made available:

 

  • Views
  • sorting and grouping
  • filters can be created as usual
  • lookups are supported
  • search
  • calculated columns
  • notification of changes as RSS or email
  • workflows on external data change
  • managed metadata (e.g. for auto-categorization)
  • mobile and offline access

 

Process Integration

 

Business actions can be implemented using the default SharePoint list-based workflow and notification system. Changed data is updated only, very fast with batch update in background. So, if an external data record is changed, you can have notifications and workflow in SharePoint. Or, other way around, if workflows change some item properties, this can be automatically saved to a connected external database. SharePoint workflows are supported as well as 3rd party workflows (e.g. NINTEX-based).

 

List type features are supported



There is full support for certain list type features, e.g. contacts, tasks, events etc. That makes your connected external data available in Microsoft Outlook or other Microsoft Office programs.


Business Data Catalog (BDC) availability

 

Business Data Catalog BDC features are available for SharePoint 2007 Enterprise version only. The BDLC is available for any SharePoint 2007 version, even for the free Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS).



Business Connectivity Services (BCS) availabilty



Business Connectivity Services BCS features are available for SharePoint 2010/2013/2016 (all editions) and SharePoint Foundation. While the BCS external list is a great step forward in external data integration with SharePoint, it still has many limitations, that could be very important - depending on requirements.

 

Performance

 

Attaching external data directly to SharePoint web parts can have performance impacts on the external system if data is often requested on every page call. The BDLC-connected SharePoint list, on the other hand, acts as a "data cache" for better performance and lower system resources - if data is updated not too often. BDLC can update several 1000 items in just seconds - depending on number and type of columns, data source and amount of update/insert/delete operations. Modified items are updated using the very fast batch update API of SharePoint.

 

Large Scale Data Integration

 

You can manage 200.000 items and even more, connected to an external data source, depending on configuration.

 

Security

 

Users do not access the external data source directly. They are working with cached data in native SharePoint lists only. That gives maximal security, with all SharePoint security features fully supported. You can hide connection strings in the SharePoint Secure Store. Integrated Authentication can be used to connect to data sources (if supported by the data provider).

 

Architecture, Availability

 

The BDLC highly simplifies your SharePoint configuration architecture. Data sources are connected for updates only - not for usage. The data remains available if the external data source is not available for any reason.

 

100+ External Data Sources supported

 

The Layer2 Business Data List Connector works with almost any corporate data source and 3rd party provider. Additional providers are part of the package, e.g. for external SharePoint, OData and XML/RSS. See more details on the product page.

 

Hybrid environments

 

You can connect your local SharePoint with local systems, but also with cloud-based systems like Office 365, SharePoint Online, CRM Online, Salesforce and many more.

 

No licenses for the connected systems required

 

Users do not access the external data source directly. That means they do not need a license (User CAL) for this. You can save a lot, especially by connecting expansive LOB application data like SAP or other ERP/CRM systems.

 

BDLC licensing

 

BDLC licensing is per SharePoint Server (WFE/App-Servers). No end-user licenses (CALs) required.

 

Migration

 

While BDC/BCS-based solutions are often difficult to migrate to higher SharePoint versions, BDLC works in the same way cross all SharePoint versions. It's very simple to migrate, all connections and settings are kept working. There is a free upgrade available for all customers with Software Assurance.

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