By Nick Swan
As organizations grow and new needs arise for the storage of electronic data, systems are often implemented to store this information in an "as-needed" manner. When investigating how an organization's IT is structured, you will often find a different system for each business department. This makes it very difficult to manage data across applications, reuse the data in business activities, or present the data in a dashboard manner for easy decision making.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) Enterprise Edition came with a component called the Business Data Catalog (BDC). This allowed you to define business data that was available from databases and web services, and then reuse it or display it in SharePoint. This feature was a big hit, because, while the integration required a definition file, no custom development or coding was required. Once users experienced how SharePoint could become the central portal for collaboration and integration with other systems, these users requested many features that were not available in the Business Data Catalog.
In SharePoint 2010, the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) has replaced the Business Data Catalog found in MOSS 2007. Not only has the technology undergone a name change, but the features have also been improved. The availability of the BCS within SharePoint has been increased so that the integration functionality is now available to more people through SharePoint Foundation, ...