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The shape file would not be the background map, rather it would be placed on top of the map.
This post by Richard Leeke might also give you some things to think about:
The "trick" to layering shapefiles is to ingest them into your WMS server as a layer on top of your basemap. This allows you to concentrate on foreground analysis.
Here's an example:
What you are seeing here is the OpenFlights.org shapefile (the routes) layered on top of OSM, while the airports are symbols from an ESRI point shapefile (i.e. X,Y).
However, you can see that the projection is important: The Arctic routes can be shown here because it's set up as pseudo mercator, rather than the Urban Mapping/default Tableau background map - which "clips" these off.
Compare that to this:
Same file, but the shapefile is being rendered as the foreground analysis with the default Urban Mapping backgrond map - you can see the routes being "clipped" because of the datum.
So if you ask your friendly GIS department to layer your SHP file over the background map and connect to the WMS, you'll have one less thing to render - otherwise you are into merging all the SHPs in the foreground!
This is really in response to your email off - line: I tested out the Polk Country GIS WMS. It's working great. I will have a poke around a bit more next week. However, can you send me your latest dashboard, and I will see if I can use it as a guest post on my blog?