Quickly Display ERP Data in SharePoint

Products:  SharePoint 2007, 2010

I worked with a client this past week that needed critical data from their ERP System (Oracle) displayed within the context of their intranet site for broader visibility, consumption and analysis.

Solution Options

  • BCS (Business Connectivity ServicesMy first thought was to use BSC to connect to the data source, create an external context type, etc.  But, this was not possible as the SharePoint Administrator was working on a critical priority #1 project and the key Developer on the team was not in the office.
  • Excel Data ConnectionMy second thought was to create a data connection on my local machine that pointed to the local copy of the ERP data on our SQL Servers and use Excel to display the data within a SharePoint Site Page.

    I chose this option as it took just a few minutes to configure.  I shared my desktop with the business user to demonstrate the configuration steps as they wanted to be able to configure multiple pages for the multiple target audiences using their collaboration site.  The detailed steps follow.

Making It Real With Excel

  1. create a connection to the data source (local copy of the ERP data) on the local machine
  2. after the data source is connected, Excel automatically opens and shows the data
  3. configure the data connection to refresh every XX seconds/minutes automatically
  4. save the Excel file
  5. upload the Excel file to your SharePoint Document Library
    * save a copy of the path to the Excel file
  6. create a new web part page on the site
  7. insert the Excel Web Access web part to the new page
  8. configure the web part
    * paste the path to the Excel file
  9. adjust the width and height of the web part as needed
  10. publish the page

Business User Reaction
She stated, “You have no idea how many users you have impacted (with that solution)”.

What solutions have you implemented to provide a quick win and provide ease of use for your business users?

How has SharePoint affected you?


This entry was posted in Business Intelligence, Excel, User Adoption. Bookmark the permalink.

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