Eight Steps to Connect Office 365/SharePoint Online with External Data

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Consider the Limitations

Compared to the on-premises editions of SharePoint, there are still some limitations:

  • No profile pages for external content types
  • No offline availability or rich-client integration
  • No search integration

Beyond these limitations, you can use BCS to connect to different data sources like WCF web services, O-Data sources and SQL Azure databases.

In the last couple of years, a lot of companies have started using BCS (Business Connectivity Services) to integrate data from external data sources into SharePoint. It was initially available with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and was called Business Data Catalog. Since Version 2013, it is not only possible to read information but also to create, delete or update.

According to Mario Spies, senior strategic consultant at AvePoint, a lot of companies are in the process of moving their SharePoint content from on-premise to Office 365 / SharePoint Online, using tools such as DocAve Migrator from SharePoint 2010 or DocAve Content Manager from SharePoint 2013. In most of these projects, the question arises about how to handle SharePoint external lists connected to data using BDC.

The good news is that SharePoint Online also supports Business Connectivity Services.

 

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