Office 365: How to integrate enterprise data with the Microsoft cloud?

A data-integration strategy needs to be within the foundation of every cloud computing plan. This integration needs to be innate to the architecture; it can’t be something you’re reminded of at the rollout meeting ;-)


But integration of external data sources with the Office 365 cloud is difficult using out-of-the-box features. Business Connectivity Services are provided, but they require programming and access to the remote enterprise data from outside, e.g. by web services.




3rd party tools could help in this case. The Layer2 Cloud Connector for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 takes local line-of-business data to the cloud-based or any other hosted SharePoint. Content hosted in almost any corporate data source, e.g. databases, files, ERP/CRM/ECMS or other legacy platforms and on-premise applications like Exchange, Active Directory or even SharePoint itself is replicated to native SharePoint lists in the cloud via secure web services. All features of native SharePoint lists are completely available for the external data.


For example you can start notifications or workflows in SharePoint when external data is changed in the data source.

SharePoint Online External Data Integration - How does it work? Easy...

Layer2 Cloud Conenctor for Office 365 & SharePoint - Features & Benefits

While the SharePoint Business Data Catalog (BDC), the SharePoint Business Data Connectivity Services (BCS) or the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) out-of-the-box are not made for cloud-based scenarios, the SharePoint Cloud Connector was especially developed to solve the specific challenges of disconnected systems in the cloud without any direct access to corporate business data and very restricted feature customization capabilities.

  • No programming or tools required. Setup in a few minutes guided by a wizard.
  • No installation or customizing in the SharePoint Office 365 cloud required.
  • No customizing on the external data source side.
  • Compatible to all SharePoint offerings, including on-premise, sandboxed, e.g. Microsoft SharePoint Online / Microsoft Office 365.
  • 100% Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and 2013 compatible – Uses new CSOM API model for the cloud.
  • Secure data connection and transfer: Connection via Web Services (SSL). Disconnected systems: A connection is only required for data exchange – not for list usage. No direct access to external company data required. The application runs where your data resides today – on any server or client inside your corporate network.
  • Virtually any data sources supported: ODBC, OLEDB, .NET-based providers, OData, Files (Excel, XML, CSV), RSS, SQL databases like Oracle, MySQL, IBM DB2, IBM AS/400, IBM Informix, Notes, SharePoint ;-) , Exchange, Active Directory, Navision, SAP and many more. More complex data sources, e.g. web services, custom COM or .NET objects, can be connected using Enterprise Enabler or other 3rd party tools.
  • Start workflows in the cloud – on external data change: All features of native SharePoint lists are supported, e.g. RSS, change notifications per email or workflows on external data change.
  • Additional “SharePoint-only” columns can be created, e.g. for ranking, rating, comments or file attachments.
  • Data aggregation: Multiple connections can rollup several different data sources to one list.
  • High performance: Can manage large databases and lists.


Just try it out. My personal fav is the SharePoint to SharePoint connection, e.g. for content deployment or aggregation. The Shareware Edition is FREE to use (with limited features). You can download after registration today.


Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    SharePointLover (Monday, 10 March 2014 14:11)

    Can I make use of the connector by aggregating RSS feeds into SharePoint Online lists?

  • #2

    Frank Daske (Monday, 10 March 2014 14:14)

    Yes, you can. Please follow these steps to Aggregate RSS Feeds into native SharePoint Online lists.

    You will have all SharePoint list features fully available, e.g. search in the feeds, notifications or workflows on data change. Just try it out.