Office365 Update: Business Connectivity Services

SharePoint Online has suffered from a major flaw since BPOS; no Business Data Catalog in the old SharePoint online and “only” Sandbox solutions in Office365. In other words very limited connectivity options.

I’m delighted that the addition of Business Connectivity Services (BCS) announced at the SharePoint conference in October is really coming very soon – I just received this nice piece of news by email:

“Your SharePoint upgrade will begin within the next 24-48 hours and will be completed within ten days.“

The new functionality is listed in the table below:

Table 1: New features coming to SharePoint Online with this service update:



Business Connectivity Services (BCS) <WCF Connector> *Enterprise plans only

Enables connection to external systems via web service based endpoints

External Sharing: Windows LiveID support

Allows Office 365 tenant administrators to invite external users to a site collection. They sign in with a Windows Live ID-based user name and password.

Windows Phone 7 "Mango" (official support and http:// connectivity)

Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango”, now enables both small business and enterprise Office 365 customers to access SharePoint Online lists and document libraries from their Windows Phone.

Recycle Bin: deleted site self-recovery

Self-service ability to recover sites from a site collection’s recycle bin

Browser support: Internet Explorer 9

Adds official support for the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) browser

Browser support: Chrome

Adds official support for the Chrome browser

I wonder what kind of sessions would have been at #SPC11 had BCS been opened up already… Andrew Connell’s Office365 and Azure session was legendary (so much demand he repeated it!) however I can’t help thinking that many would opt for the BCS option rather than jump through some of the hoops, impressive though they were!

I’m also pretty sure that LiveID support already existed as I have been collaborating with a few people on my Office365 account already.. so not sure what has changed there.

BCS is the big story though, once integration with CRM Online is complete I think we will be able to move all our own core business systems to the cloud!

What are YOU going to build first?

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