While Microsoft SharePoint technology is increasingly used as a business collaboration platform to connect and empower people, often companies not yet utilizing the potential benefits of SharePoint external data integration. The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint (BDLC) since years is well known to solve many issues and overcomes limitations that still exist with integration in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007, 2010 and 2013. Now version 5 comes with a completely redesigned architecture, great performance improvements and other new features.
Quickly connect almost any business data and applications to native SharePoint lists codeless
“With the Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint it is not only about surfacing data in SharePoint (as default BCS do), it’s about much deeper integration. The BDLC connects external data sources to native SharePoint lists, e.g. contacts, tasks, events or custom lists to synchronize data changes in background. This straightforward concept makes all the powerful SharePoint list features available for external data as well – without any restrictions”, Frank Daske, Product Manager at Layer2, explains the benefits of the app.
No programming or tools are required to connect. The app can easily be configured in the default SharePoint list settings dialog with a few simple settings, such as a connection provider, connection string and a common data query. Version 5 now supports almost any corporate data sources, e.g. databases like Microsoft SQL Server and SQL Azure, MySQL, Oracle, Informix, DB2, AS/400, Files like Excel, Access or CSV/XML, Applications like Active Directory, Exchange or SharePoint (on-premise or cloud-based), ERP/CRM systems like SAP, Navision, Dynamics ERP/CRM or Salesforce, cloud-based services like RSS News Feeds, Twitter, Facebook, Google and also generic provider like OLEDB, ODBC, OData or other custom .NET-based provider. The desired data can be populated to the list and presented with the familiar UI and navigation features of native SharePoint lists: Views, sorting and grouping, filters, calculated fields. Lookup relationships and metadata or attachments can be created as usual for SharePoint lists. The BDLC extends the SharePoint collaboration, search and knowledge management capabilities as well as the Office user experience to completely include external line of business data and associated processes. In addition, it simplifies the SharePoint platform architecture, increases performance and can also save license costs: SharePoint users do access native SharePoint lists only, as some kind of “cache” of the external data.
Start workflows in SharePoint to take business actions on external data change
The connected SharePoint lists can be updated manually on demand using the SharePoint ribbon or automatically scheduled in background, using a common SharePoint timer job. List item change notifications per RSS or email and even workflows can be established as usual to take business actions in SharePoint when external data items are changed. For example the Layer2 Business Data List Connector can be used to implement a sales dashboard application, which empowers end users to gain insight into the underlying ERP or CRM data in a reusable way, e.g. with aggregations and transformations and quickly being notified in case of changes. A write-back to data source feature can be additionally enabled for bi-directional synchronization or data acquisition, if required. While out-of-the-box data integration is very limited in terms of data amount, the BDLC is designed to manage 100.000 items and more with high performance.
Free shareware version to download after registration
The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint comes with a robust installer to be easily deployed within any SharePoint environment, including farms. It is available for SharePoint starting with WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007 and also for SharePoint 2010 / 2013 Foundation or Server. You can register and download a completely free Shareware Edition directly at the vendor’s product pages.
Cost-free partner program for resellers and implementation partners
Layer2 SharePoint apps are successfully used by small, mid-sized, and larger companies and organizations around the world like The Coca-Cola Company, Bauer Inc, IBM, Deloite, the US Defense Department, NATO, United Nations, leading banking groups and insurance agencies. A cost-free partner program was launched to better support resellers and local implementation partners. Registered partners receive up to 30% commission for each sale. Additionally partners can receive qualified leads, a free NFR Edition and priority support to accelerate their own SharePoint projects by implementing BDLC or other Layer2 solutions.