The BDC is a shared service of SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise Edition that bridges the gap between the various applications (from Siebel, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and SAP to SharePoint sites, lists, search functions, and user profiles) that an organization uses for key business data. The Information Bridge Framework (IBF) provided a standard way to integrate business application data with Microsoft Office desktop programs, using the smart tag and smart document functionality. IBF is targeted at users of Microsoft Office desktop applications and requires developers to define both the method of displaying the business data, as well as its format. Therefore it is complex to implement. The BDC is the next evolution of IBF and provides an alternative method of exposing business data using SharePoint Server 2007 through the BDC application program interfaces (APIs). SharePoint Server 2007 provides a browser interface and a number of related Business Data Web Parts and therefore is not as complex to implement or deploy. The BDC is Microsoft's strategic integration technology, and it plans to expand BDC further. .More information on IBF can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/tool/ibf/default.aspx and information on Line of Business Interoperability (LOBi) for Office SharePoint Server 2007 can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/tool/OBA/default.aspx.
By using BDC, an organization can accomplish the following objectives:
Reduce or eliminate the code required to access Line-of-Business (LOB) systems.
Achieve deeper integration of data into places where a user works.
Centralize deployment of data source definitions. An organization typically will not define all the data it uses, only the most important data in the BDC.
Reduce latency to data, because once a data source is defined in the BDC it will be immediately available on the Web farm.
Centralize data security auditing and connections.
Perform structured data searches.