Posted Thu, 20 May 2010
What makes Microsoft SharePoint unique among the leading Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platforms is its ability to also act competently as a platform for the rapid development of composite applications.
Also known as “mashups,” composite applications can be created by advanced end users to support tactical business requirements. Composites in SharePoint have a short time to launch and leverage the platform’s many rich user interface and integration features.
An example of a composite application might be connecting to the database of an existing line of business application using Business Connectivity Services (SharePoint 2010), creating a customized SharePoint form using SharePoint Designer, and drawing and posting a human workflow using Microsoft Visio Designer.
Similar to creating the right conditions for deploying SharePoint in the EIM space, making effective use of it as a sandbox for composite applications requires careful governance planning. While SharePoint 2010 helps IT departments manage end user created applications using the sandbox concept (a dedicated amount of computing resources within which the application is allowed to run), a careful analysis should be undertaken of the conditions and parameters according to which composite applications will be allowed in the enterprise SharePoint farm.
This governance analysis may include answering questions such as:
- which databases/views into line-of-business applications to make available using Business Connectivity Services in order to support interactive composite and business intelligence applications;
- whether to allow certain standard databases to be accessed bi-directionally through Business Connectivity Services;
- the types of customization that should be allowed using the various tools, such as SharePoint Designer, Visio Designer, etc.; and
- whether to enable Excel Services and Access Services.
Properly planning the resources and building blocks available to creators of composite applications up front goes a long way towards ensuring that the full business value of SharePoint as a sandbox application development platform is realized in the enterprise.