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Importing data into SharePoint from other software apps.

Posted on 2013-02-02
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I have been speaking to someone who's very interested in using SharePoint for his field service business because he likes the collaboration aspects of it, and since it would be an external facing portal, he can finally get real time participation, and data, which his current software does not offer. However, the big problem is that he wants his old data from his current software to be imported into SharePoint. I know that theoretically, this can be done with two different software apps that both use sql, as long as one matches the schemas correctly (big task). But it seems to me that SharePoint would be an entirely different story because it creates it's own sql content database in a very specific manner, so even if I knew the schema of the other software and extracted it's data, I have no idea how this could possibly be bolted into SharePoint as it doesn't seem to me to merely be a matter of adding the tables and data into the content database and then expecting SharePoint to be able to reference that.

I know most would probably not even attempt this, but is it even remotely or theoretically possible to do this or are their some very good and specific reasons why this can't be done? Thanks.
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Question by:BobHavertyComh
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Jamie McAllister MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 38848166
The thing is you would never port the data directly into the SharePoint databases. That doesn't mean that there is no integration possibilities of course, there are many.

In SharePoint 2010 and 2013 we have external content types that allow us to have real time links to external data in SQL databases but also in many other formats.

If the user is talking about porting the information into SharePoint, then we're talking migration and there are heaps of tools to do that by vendors such as Avepoint, Share-Gate, Idera and more.

 Migration can also be done by hand of course, but it's helpful to structure the data properly to get best effect from SharePoint.

What I always say with Migration is that there are Migration specialists who do that full time. If there's any budget for it, its worth getting them involved. Migration is never some casual work to be completed in an afternoon.

If the other system will persist and it's just a case of bringing the data into SharePoint in real time then look into Business Connectivity Services and External Content Types in SharePoint, there's much that can be done with them.
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by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 38848435
OK, so it's worth me exploring further and speaking with a migration specialist. I just wanted to make sure that any exploration wasn't a waste of time from the beginning. Thanks
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