Exposing OData Sources in SharePoint 2013 has become an Easier Task

In a video presentation and article published on the MSDN Library web site in July, 2012, titled Using OData sources with Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013, Scot Hillier, Microsoft SharePoint Most Valuable Professional contends that “The new OData connector enables SharePoint [2013] to communicate with OData providers.” Further, he notes that “[i]n SharePoint 2013, Business Connectivity Services (BCS) can communicate with OData sources, or producers, without having to code directly to the OData source.” In other words, line of business (LOB) users that need to expose structured data in SharePoint 2013 that may actually reside in repositories like MySQL will likely no longer require the kind of highly specialized development resources that was the case in the past to successfully accomplish their objective. With SharePoint 2013, the bulk of the cross platform work has already been completed and delivered to users through the above mentioned OData connector.

If LOBs can reduce the level of development expertise required to build their systems by availing of this new feature for BCS, then the operating cost for SharePoint 2013, as a method of exposing a truly diverse set of data to an enterprise, should also be proportionately lower. All of these cost reductions, in turn, should contribute substantially to the value of the application for the LOB user. In a post to Mary Jo Foley’s All About Microsoft blog, Why Microsoft’s Open Data Protocol matters, a guest author, Chris Woodruff makes what we think is an important point: “[b]y having data that is easy to consume and understand organizations can allow their customers and partners (via the developers that build the solutions using one or more of the available OData libraries) to leverage the value of curated data that the organization owns. Business customers can either host the data they own and control the consumer experience and subsequent revenue collection, or they can set up your OData feed inside Microsoft’s Windows Azure Marketplace and have Microsoft do the heavy lifting for them, in terms of offering subscriptions to their data and collection of subscription fees.” (this quote appears in the article authored by Chris Woodruff, for which a link has been provided)

Certainly the type of added value that Chris Woodruff describes, which not only amounts to a substantial cost savings, but, further, a means of actually generating revenue from LOB data should go far to deliver the type of incentive that users require to hasten their adoption of any platform that can be used, successfully, to support this activity, regardless of whether the platform is Microsoft Azure, or SharePoint 2013.

Expanding the range of this view, which presents not only a method of saving cost, but, further, a method of generating revenue from a successful effort to expose data from non Microsoft repositories to enterprise users, the acquisition cost for any training content that may be required to support users as they work to successfully attain their objectives should be more than justified based upon the return on investment that may be realized through data subscription revenue.

In the next post to this blog we will look at the rationale for taking a position that the Open Data Protocol can play an important role for enterprises looking to implement a computing solution like SharePoint 2013 as a means of supporting collaboration.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.

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