Introducing Microsoft Fabric: The future of data analytics
By Zia Marais, Engagement Lead at Decision Inc.
Data is the new oil. And in the digital age, businesses that can harness the power of data will have a competitive advantage, says Zia Marais, Engagement Lead at Decision Inc.
That’s where Microsoft Fabric comes in.
Microsoft Fabric is a unified SaaS (software as a service) platform bridging the data and intelligence gap. It provides data integration, data engineering, data warehousing, data science, real-time analytics and business intelligence all within a single architecture. It brings together all the data and analytics tools that organisations need, including Power BI, Azure Data Factory and Azure Synapse Analytics.
What Power BI did for business intelligence, Fabric has done for data science. No longer will enterprises find it hard to manage, analyse and visualise their data because there is one platform for everything.
What does that mean for businesses today?
Imagine a place where data engineers, data warehousing professionals, data scientists, data analysts and business users can all access their company’s data in the way that they need to.
For example, data engineers can connect and curate data from different sources, while at the same time, data scientists can develop models without having to move the data elsewhere. While this is happening, data analysts can create rich visualisations within Power BI Online or Desktop.(1) And then to benefit the normal business user, this same data can be explored in standard Microsoft 365 apps using natural language queries or pre-built templates.
Looking at those breakdowns in a bit more detail:
In the data warehousing function, Fabric can help organisations to:
- Consolidate data from multiple sources into a single repository.
- Improve data quality and consistency.
- Automate data lineage and governance.
- Scale up or down to meet changing business needs.
In the data engineering function, Fabric can help organisations to:
- Build and deploy data pipelines.
- Automate data processing tasks.
- Monitor data quality and performance.
- Scale up or down to meet changing business needs.
In the data analytics function, Fabric can help organisations to:
- Analyse data using a variety of tools and techniques.
- Visualise data in a way that is easy to understand.
- Share insights with stakeholders across the organisation.
In the data science function, Fabric can help organisations to:
- Build and train machine learning models.
- Deploy machine learning models into production.
- Monitor machine learning models for performance and accuracy.
In short, by housing all their data and data processes in one platform, organisations can significantly reduce costs, improve collaboration and simplify purchasing. Fabric provides deeply integrated, consistent, role-specific experiences that work.
What other ways will businesses benefit?
Microsoft has put together the whole package and the benefits Fabric has to offer are impressive. Here are a few benefits enterprises should expect:
- Automated data lineage and governance – Fabric can automate data lineage and governance, which can equip businesses to track the movement of data and ensure that it is compliant with regulations. This enables businesses to reduce the risk of data breaches and other compliance violations.
- Scalability and performance – Fabric is a scalable platform that can handle large volumes of data. This means that businesses can use Fabric to analyse data from a variety of sources, without having to worry about performance issues.
- Security and compliance – Fabric is a secure platform that meets industry compliance standards. This means that businesses can use Fabric to store and analyse sensitive data without having to worry about security breaches.
- Cost-effectiveness – Fabric is a cost-effective platform that can help businesses to save money on their data analytics costs. This is because businesses can pay for the resources they need, when they need them, with the pay-as-you-use function without getting into the data integration processes.
- Democratisation of data – Fabric makes it easier for non-technical users to access and analyse data. This can help to improve decision-making across the organisation.
- Increased collaboration – Fabric facilitates collaboration between data scientists, analysts and other stakeholders. This can help to accelerate the time to insights.
- Improved agility – Fabric makes it easier for organisations to adapt to changing business needs. This can help to improve the organisation's competitive advantage.
Because different data users are all using the same data in a single platform, it creates a culture of empowerment around a business’s data.
And because Fabric is held entirely in the cloud, it scales as your business scales – meaning you aren’t hindered by the performance of your servers. In fact, the platform’s infrastructure ensures high performance and reliability, allowing businesses to process and analyse large datasets easily.
As businesses continue to generate more data, they will need a platform that can help them to manage, analyse and visualise their data. Fabric is a platform that will not just meet these needs but exceed them.
I believe it will become an essential tool for businesses in the years to come.
(1) Unlike with other systems, Power BI Desktop doesn’t need to import the data – it references and uses the data within Fabric.