Lightning Tools to offer Business Connectivity Services tooling for SAP

Lightning Tools has provided tools and web parts for SharePoint Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and the Business Data Catalog (BDC) since Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) was introduced. BCS Meta Man enables you to connect to many different external data sources such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL, OData, ODBC data sources, and WCF Web Services.

Lightning Tools is now proud to announce that through a new partnership with Theobald Software, we are now able to offer code free Business Connectivity Services connections to SAP using the BCS Connector.

Why connect to your SAP data with SharePoint Business Connectivity Services?

Microsoft SharePoint Business Connectivity Services is a suite of SharePoint and Microsoft Office services that can utilize or present your data in many ways. Users of SharePoint will be able to search for information within the SAP ERP system using the standard SharePoint search site, lookup SAP data within SharePoint lists and libraries using the External Data Column, build business data dashboards using the Business Data web parts, and manipulate the data using External Lists. This functionality saves users valuable time and provides them with in-depth business knowledge through the use of SharePoint.

Why use the BCS Connector?

Using the Microsoft SharePoint Designer tool, you can create an External Content Type which allows you to generate the properties, methods and connections to Microsoft SQL, .NET Assemblies or WCF web services. This doesn’t help you if you want to connect to SAP. The BCS Connector is a code free tool that allows you to create the External Content Type, along with the Filters, Methods, Custom Actions, Field Types and Formatting which is required by BCS. All you will need is an understanding of which Table or Function from SAP you would like to connect to along with the credentials to access the SAP system.


ERPConnect Services

The BCS Connector is part of ERPConnect Services which contains three products:

· BCS Connector

· Web Service Designer

· ERPConnect Services Runtime


The BCS Connector works specifically with Business Connectivity Services enabling you to connect quickly to SAP and generate the External Content Type allowing you to get on with building the dashboards and user functionality within SharePoint.

The Web Service Designer is a similar tool, but enables you to connect to SAP data, and then generate a web service that returns SAP data without the need to write code. The data via the Web Service can then be used throughout SharePoint Web Parts, Apps or externally on devices such as Windows Phone.

The ERPConnect Services Runtime provides .NET developers with the ability to use SharePoint as a SAP data hub. Access to SAP data can be enabled through Visual Web parts, Silverlight and local .NET applications like for example MS Office Add-Ins.

If you would like to find out more about ERPConnect Services, please visit our page whereby your can see the product in action or download a 30 day trial:

Other Lightning Tools products that support Business Connectivity Services:

Lightning Tools also offer the Data Viewer Web Part and SharePoint Chart Web Part which are both web parts that are BCS aware and can be used to better display data from external data sources within SharePoint.

The Data Viewer web part could use the Finder, Specific Finder, Creater, Updater and Deleter methods of your SAP External Content Type so that the data can be formatted and conditionally formatted more easily within SharePoint.


The SharePoint Chart web part can also connect to Business Connectivity Services allowing you to chart your data easily within SharePoint dashboards.


As well as offering Business Connectivity Services tools, Brett Lonsdale and Penny Coventry (SharePoint MVP) of Lightning Tools have specialised in Business Connectivity Services and are frequently presenting on BCS around the world at SharePoint conferences as well as authoring the Microsoft Press Business Connectivity Services book for SharePoint 2010, and Business Data Catalog developers guide for SharePoint 2007.

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Lightning Tools Staff L-R: Sandy Ussia, Brett Lonsdale, Kathryn Kiddie, Nicola Warburton, Carl Greenhalgh, Elaine Short, Obinna Enemuo, Jarrad Carter,…