“With the Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint it is not only about surfacing data in SharePoint, it’s about much deeper integration. The BDLC connects external data to native SharePoint lists, e.g. contacts, tasks, events or custom lists to synchronize data changes in background. This straightforward concept makes all of the powerful SharePoint list features available for external data - without any restrictions”, Frank Daske, Product Manager at Layer2, explains the benefits of the app.
No programming, tools or data source modifications are required to connect. The app can easily be configured in the SharePoint general list settings dialog with just a few simple settings, such as a connection provider, connection string and a common data query. Version 7 now supports 100+ common corporate data sources, e.g. databases like Microsoft SQL Server and SQL Azure, MySQL, Oracle, Informix, IBM 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. It also comes with support for cloud-based services like Salesforce, RSS/Atom feeds, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Amazon. Generic provider like ODBC, OLEDB, OData, SOAP or custom .NET-based providers are also supported.
The pre-selected 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, and calculated fields. Lookup relationships, managed meta data or attachments can be assigned 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 processes. In addition, it highly simplifies the SharePoint platform architecture, increases performance and can save license costs: SharePoint users work with native SharePoint lists as some kind of “data cache” of the original external data and do not need to access the data sources and applications directly.