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My client has a simple business requirement but I got confused on how to achieve it by SharePoint. They want to build several forms which allow users to manually input data and save them to separated SQL Server. Some workflows (OODB Workflow or Nintex) will be created for notification and automatic processes on the forms.

Initially, the client just thinks about On-Premises deployment but O365 should be considered when designing the solution.

At first, I plan to create forms by Application Pages which allow me to interact with SQL Server freely. But don't know how to implement workflow as data is not kept in SharePoint lists. Also, with this approach, I will get stuck with the application pages if client request to move to O365.

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    Have you looked into BCS (Business Connectivity Services) and making a BCS model in order to import into o365? – Mike May 26 '16 at 16:25
  • Thanks friends, I understand that I can use BCS to access SQL server data from sharepoint, But my concern is that when the data are saved in SQL tables I won't be able to apply List Workflow or ContentType workflow to that data as I can do with SP Lists Is there any way that I can apply Workflow on data in SQL Server? – Tu Nguyen May 29 '16 at 7:38
  • You can use workflow with external content types which are the essence of your BCS connection. – Mike Jun 1 '16 at 13:19
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You can create a WCF service layer which basically talks CRUD to your SQL database tables.

Once this is in place you can use service calls from SharePoint.

Later once you move to SP online expose the on premise WCF to internet. Make sure you have proper authentication in place. Alternatively you can make use of Azure.

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you could use the Business Connectivity Services - BCS. It allows you to create CRUD operations based on and connected to external databases. msdn Link

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