What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint?

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint is like a charmed tool that helps your business get slanting better with all kinds of data. 

Imagine having a conversation with someone in a different language, and everything you say gets translated instantly, so you understand each other perfectly.

That’s a bit of what BCS does – it lets your SharePoint site “talk” to data from other systems, making it super easy to work with information from various parts of your business, all in one place. What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint? Whether it’s customer details from a CRM system or inventory numbers from a supply chain database, BCS brings it all together in SharePoint, making life a lot calmer for you and your team.

What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint: Core Components 

BCS Runtime: Think of the BCS Runtime as the friendly middle-person between SharePoint and the world of external data. Like a translator who helps two people understand each other, the BCS Runtime makes sure SharePoint can chat smoothly with databases and systems outside its usual circle.

External Content Types (ECTs): External Content Types are like plans for the data you want to carry into SharePoint. They help you tell SharePoint, “Here’s how this data is organized, and here’s what we can do with it.” It’s a bit like telling your friend about a new game and explaining the guidelines before you Twitch play.

External Lists: If ECTs are the game rules, think of External Lists as the board game itself. They use the ECTs to create a space in SharePoint where you can see and interact with the external data. It’s like having a game board where all the pieces move according to the rules (ECTs) you’ve set up.

External Data Columns: These are unique slots in SharePoint lists and libraries designed to hold data from outside systems. Imagine you have a photo album (your SharePoint list) and decide to keep tickets from concerts you’ve attended (external data) in it. External Data Columns are those specific pages in the album made just for keeping your tickets.

Business Data Connectivity (BDC) Service: The BDC Service is like the community center of Business Connectivity Services. It’s where all the essential information about your ECTs and external data connections lives. This central spot helps manage everything, making sure your SharePoint can always reach out and connect with the external data smoothly.

Together, these components team up to make SharePoint not just a place for storing your stuff but a dynamic space where all sorts of information from different parts of your business can come together, talk, and work together seamlessly.

Implementation Strategies for BCS in SharePoint

What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint

Planning and Preparation for BCS Integration

When you are introducing BCS into SharePoint, the approach is simple- organize things correctly from the very beginning. Imagine this process as you would be making a road trip map in which you list all the interesting destinations you want to pass by (you external data) on the way to your destination.

You’ll have to gain an understanding of the course environment – meaning that you get to understand what kind of devices you are going to be dealing with and in what form you would like to bring in data into your SharePoint environment.

Planning also means that your SharePoint environment needs to be BCS-ready as well. You should have the right prerequisites and permissions in place for this and the tools ready to use at any time. It’s just like making sure that a person’s car has the enough fuel it needs and also the right navigation tools before starting out on a journey.

Steps for Creating External Content Types and External Lists

What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to start creating those key components that make BCS work: External Content Types (ECTs) and External Lists. Think of ECTs as custom passports that grant SharePoint permission to access data in external systems. 

They define what this data looks like and how to interact with it. Then, using these ECTs, you create External Lists – essentially windows in SharePoint through which your users can view and interact with this external data. It’s like bringing back souvenirs from your trip for friends to see and experience. 

What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint? The creation process involves using SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio. These tools help map out the connection between SharePoint and the external data neatly and efficiently.

Security Configuration for Safe Data Access

Now, talking about data access is like discussing the safety measures for your road trip. You wouldn’t leave your home without locking the doors, right? Likewise, it would help if you made sure that access to your external data through BCS is secure. 

This involves configuring authentication mechanisms to verify who’s trying to access the data, much like verifying your identity. 

Using SharePoint’s Secure Store Service, you can securely store the credentials needed to access the external data, ensuring that only authorized users can access or modify this data. It’s about creating a safe and controlled environment where data flows seamlessly yet securely between SharePoint and external systems.

By carefully planning your BCS integration, creating those all-important ECTs and External Lists diligently, and ensuring that your data access is as secure as your home, you’ll be on your way to unleashing the full power of Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint. 

It’s about making that seamless connection between your SharePoint environment and external data, enhancing productivity and decision-making in your organization.

Challenges and Considerations

What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint

When integrating Business Connectivity Services (BCS) with SharePoint, several challenges and considerations emerge, particularly around security, performance, and maintenance. It’s like making sure our road trip remains enjoyable, safe, and without any unexpected detours.

Security and Permission Management for External Data Access

Just like how we confirm our home is secure before we go on a trip, managing security and consent for accessing external data is vital. Here’s the turn – it’s not just about locking the door; it’s about knowing who has the keys. 

In the empire of BCS, this involves setting up good confirmation and confirming only official personnel can access or operate the external data. Think of it as giving out keys to trusted family members only. Directing this requires a careful balancing act to maintain security without impeding access to necessary data for daily operations.

Performance Considerations

Now, picture this: your road trip is all planned out, but you’re driving a car that can’t handle the terrain or the long distance. Similarly, when dealing with large volumes of data or complex queries in BCS, performance can become a bottleneck. 

The key here is to optimize your systems so that they can handle the load smoothly, confirming that your data access turns into a manageable crawl. This might involve leveraging caching, adjusting query designs, or sometimes, rethinking how much data needs to be accessed at once. It’s all about making the drive smooth and enjoyable.

Maintenance and Updating of BCS Connections and Models

Just like any long road trip requires occasional stops to refuel, check the map, or even recalibrate directions based on new information, maintaining and updating BCS connections and models is an ongoing process. 

External systems evolve, data structures change, and business needs shift. This means regularly checking that your BCS connections are still accurate, relevant, and performing as expected. 

Perhaps it’s tweaking a connection setting here, updating a data model there, or even re-establishing connections that might have gone awry. Regular maintenance ensures that your BCS integration remains a reliable bridge between SharePoint and your external data, keeping the data flow smooth and effective.

Advantages of of BCS in SharePoint

  • Enhanced Data Integration
  • Improved Efficiency and Productivity
  • Real-Time Access to External Data
  • Increased Flexibility and Scalability
  • Enhanced Security Features
  • Streamlined Business Processes
  • Better Decision-Making Capabilities
  • Simplified User Experience


What is Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint? 

BCS is a SharePoint feature that allows the addition of external data sources into SharePoint, enabling data access, display, and collaboration within SharePoint environments.

How does BCS enhance business process automation? 

By allowing combined connections with external data sources, BCS rationalizes business processes through efficient data management and automation, leading to more informed decision-making processes.


To sum up our talk: What is Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint? Business Connectivity Services (BCS) within SharePoint suggestively improve enterprise data mixing and business process automation. BCS eases all connections with external databases, allowing organizations to access, display, and interact with data from a diversity of external systems within SharePoint. 

This powerful competence bridges the gap between SharePoint and external systems, rationalizing business processes and enabling more informed, data-driven decision-making. Looking ahead, the future of BCS promises even greater integration capabilities and mechanization efficiency. As businesses move toward more classy digital ecosystems, the role of BCS in connecting different systems and automating business processes is set to become increasingly vital.

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