Friday, June 20, 2014

Synchronizing SharePoint Managed Metadata with External Business Data

The primary gap in SharePoint 2010 and 2013 Managed Metadata Service Application is the lack of ability to synchronize the Term values in a Term Set with an external business data source (No, you can't do this with the out-of-the-box Business Connectivity Services feature).

For example, if you could automatically on a schedule, synchronize a Vendors Term Set with the Vendor names that exist in your Purchasing system's database, this would allow you to:

  1. Assign the appropriate Vendor name to a SharePoint document, such as a contract, that relates to that vendorAs I noted in my article earlier this week, assigning metadata values to documents in SharePoint can really improve findability of documents.  (If Vendor names is not the best example for your organization, how about Customer names, or Product names, or Facility names, etc?)
  2. Rely on the existing business process to keep the Term values up-to-date because the external system (Purchasing system in this case) is maintained by the appropriate individuals that handle that part of the business.

To cut to the chase, we have developed a SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 add-on that makes it super easy to do this.  The add-on is "Managed Metadata Term Store Sync for SharePoint".  We released Version 1 last March and just last week released Version 2.  The biggest new feature in Version 2 is the ability to support synchronizing hierarchical Term Sets (think Product Category > Product Subcategory > Product Name, for example), but we have also made numerous additional smaller improvements.

I conducted a 45 minute webinar this past Wednesday on this subject area and a demo of Term Sync 2.0 and have published the recording to YouTube:

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