Microsoft has announced a forthcoming closure of a longstanding service that has been vital to its Microsoft 365 business users. The technology giant stated that it will put an end to its Business Connectivity Services (BCS) features, largely known for enabling firms to utilize data from external sources. The BCS feature is penciled in for retirement from SharePoint in Microsoft 365 just shy of a year from the current date.
Transitioning to Power Apps
The shuttering of BCS will kick in starting September 30, 2024. Consequently, users will no longer have the capacity to access external lists, columns, and content types using BCS. Furthermore, the retirement implies the inability to employ BCS hybrid solutions. However, Microsoft has suggested that firms wishing to maintain access to the services provided by BCS could consider adopting the Power Apps platform.
While no direct migration pathway from BCS to Power Apps exists, the latter supports a modern, cloud-first external data connectivity experience. Power Apps allows for scalable integration with a variety of Microsoft 365 services and external data sources through its extensible connector technology, covering the likes of SharePoint, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and several others. For firms leveraging on-premises data sources, integration is facilitated via the on-premises data gateway.
Maintaining Compatibility with SharePoint Server
The impending retirement of BCS, Microsoft stated, will have no effect on the former's compatibility with SharePoint Server. It will persist in its operability with both SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint Server 2019 up until their respective end-of-life dates—set for July 14, 2026. Currently, the tech giant has no plans to retire BCS feature in SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.
Moreover, Microsoft has expressed its intent to start limiting access to BCS features “based on the tenant property set by the customer” in just under a year, on October 30, 2023. From January 8, 2024, Microsoft will commence blocking BCS features for incoming Microsoft 365 tenants by default, alongside any tenants who have opted not to use those features since the aforementioned October date.