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Plan business data actions

Office 2007

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-02-26

In this article:

Business data actions provide a way to enable users who view business data in reports, dashboards, or other reports-enabled pages to act immediately on the data that they are viewing. By using InfoPath Forms Services and configuring permissions to the relevant databases, users who have the correct permissions can make direct changes to the underlying business data.

As part of planning for your initial deployment of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you should understand how to create business actions, how to plan for the pages that perform the action, how to plan the properties used in business data actions, how to determine who has access to an action, and how the action is displayed in search results, SharePoint lists, and sites containing the Business Data Action Web Part. Then, you can use these plans during your initial deployment of Office SharePoint Server 2007.

About business data actions

Business data actions are actions configured by administrators. The actions open a Web page that provides meaningful information about business data so that users can meaningfully collaborate based on the data displayed in your organization. Business data actions enable you to provide ways for users in your organization to directly interact with business data from within the sites in your site collections.

For every application registered in the Business Data Catalog, each business data type has a business data profile. You create actions for common tasks by using business data from within the profile.

The business action has two simple properties: an action name and a URL for a Web page that is used to process the action and to provide results of some kind. The Web page is typically one of the following:

  • A static Web page that has a fixed result.

  • A SharePoint list.

  • A Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 forms-enabled page that can interact with business data on the database or business application server.

  • A customized page for more complex data interaction or presentation, such as a dynamic .aspx page.

After actions are created, they appear within a specialized Business Data Action Web Part for items in:

  • Search results

  • SharePoint lists

  • Reports and dashboards

Examples of search results that might include actions are employees, customers, sales reports, and regional offices. Any business data type in the Business Data Catalog can be associated with one or more actions in a Business Data Action Web Part, and those actions appear as part of those items when they appear in search results. Similarly, any business data type in a list includes the associated actions that have been created for that business data type. Actions also show up in the business data profiles in the Business Data Catalog for the relevant applications and business data types. The Business Data Action Web Part can be used in other pages, such as the Report Center site and personalization sites.

For example, you can implement a Resolve action for a customer database application. After searching for a particular incident in the database, a customer service representative sees the Resolve action next to the customer's incident report in the search results. The representative clicks the link for the action, which opens a page that has form fields for type of resolution, date of resolution, and the name of the representative who is resolving the issue. The customer service representative might also see this action in his or her personal site, in a personalization site designed for tracking and resolving customer issues, or in a personalized Web Part displayed on another page, such as the Report Center site.

Plan the scope of business actions

When planning for business actions, consider the common actions that people use for each business application. Every action that you make available from Office SharePoint Server 2007 is likely to increase the number of users who perform that action, which can affect planning in several areas:

  • Security   Security is handled by the destination page associated with each action. That page can be a simple Web page, a Office InfoPath 2007 form, or a more customized page. Whatever the destination page, only users who have access to that page can perform the action. If the destination is not a SharePoint site, users who use the page must log in separately. When you plan for business actions, be sure that the users who perform the action have the appropriate permissions for the destination site. You can do this by comparing the membership and permissions plan for each site and noting the differences. Then, for each action, note where the differences affect the actions you are planning to create during initial deployment. If there are discrepancies, you can either change permissions so that the right users have access to a site, or you can change the planned destination location.

  • Performance   When you enable users in your organization to easily access business applications from business actions in your site collection, you will likely increase the use of those applications. This produces an additional load on the databases and application servers for business applications. In most organizations, this will be a manageable increase. However, in large organizations, server performance might be affected.

  • Site design   Consider the costs in time and resources for site planning when designing more complex actions. You might have limited time to design and develop more complex pages for handling interaction between your SharePoint sites and your business applications. Prioritize the most important actions first. Additional actions can be added as needed as part of normal operations after initial deployment and configuration.

Site administrators should make a note of the business actions they want to develop and the schedule for implementing those actions, and then provide those details to the IT administrators on the planning team. This helps IT administrators plan for any potential impact in capacity planning for both initial deployment and long-term operations.

Plan properties for business actions

Business actions often require users to provide values in forms for certain business properties. Business actions can also open Web pages that use certain properties in performing calculations. You can make the correct properties available by noting the properties you need and including them in a comprehensive list of business data properties to include in business data profiles. The important information to plan for includes:

  • The business applications that have important actions that you want to make available in each site collection.

  • The business data types in the Business Data Catalog associated with each action.

  • The properties associated with the each business data type.

For example, you might want a business action that resolves customer service records to be associated with the business data type for customer service records, and to appear when anyone views a customer service record. During planning, record the customer service database, the customer service record business data type, and the properties tracked for each customer service record, such as service date, issue type, customer name, and location of service. Provide this information to the users who plan shared services, so Shared Services Provider (SSP) administrators can import the properties when registering properties in the Business Data Catalog.

Worksheet action

Use the Business data worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73271&clcid=0x409) to record your business data action plans. List data sources and related business data types and properties, both for databases in data connection libraries and for line-of-business applications registered in the Business Data Catalog. Business data actions that use those properties should also be recorded.

Plan Business Data Action Web Parts

The Business Data Action Web Part adds a link to a page associated with the action. When you create business actions for any business data type in the Business Data Catalog, this Web Part is included in search results and list items for any example of that business data type. If you create a resolve customer service report issue for the customer service report business data type, a Web Part that contains the Resolve action appears in any search results or lists containing any customer service reports.

You can use that same Web Part in additional sites, such as the Report Center site or personalization sites. When the Business Data Action Web Part is added, you can add one or more actions associated with a single business data type. You can use multiple action links on the same site to provide actions that are associated with more than one business data type, bringing business data interactivity wherever it is appropriate. Often, a Business Data Action Web Part is found on the same page as a related Web Part, such as a key performance indicator (KPI) Web Part, Business Data List Web Part, or Excel Web Access Web Part, so users can view information and immediately act on it.

You can choose Web Parts for each page based on the best way of fulfilling the purpose of each page as determined during information architecture and site structure planning. As you plan the key sites in site collections, update your site planning to incorporate opportunities for business data actions.

Plan custom business actions

You can use the developer tools for Office SharePoint Server 2007 to customize business actions so that they do more than forward to a particular URL. Creating a custom action might be worth the development time and resources if the action relates directly to a key business process. For more information about creating custom actions, see the Office SharePoint Server 2007: Software Development Kit (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=72208).

Worksheet

Use the following worksheet to plan business data actions:

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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