We are creating a SharePoint based application, client has a data model with about 15 tables with interdependency (reference column). Maximum number of reference columns from a single table may vary from 2-3, one specific table has more than 6-7 reference columns.

Please advice which should be the correct approach, whether to use a SharePoint List with Lookup Columns or use a SQL Database, and use BCS to show it in SharePoint.

I have attached a sample data model image below.

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  • Off the cuff, I'd say SQL and surface the data via a view through BCS. There may be a slew of other factors that influence that though based on other features of the system. Feb 17, 2015 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


SharePoint is not designed to work with sophisticated data models, either using lists or BCS. SharePoint has about the same capabilities as linked Worksheets in Excel.

That is not to say you can't use this data model in your SharePoint pages and web parts, you'll just have to build custom user interfaces to interface with data instead of using the OOB list UI.

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