Critical to the discovery of performance-enhancing insights, common datasets with an organisation now have a tremendous influence over the decision-making processes within many businesses, as significant time and resources are actively invested into analysis and reporting.

Now, as we move into an era defined by AI, the way in which data is consolidated and digested has started to change. Every day, a growing number of businesses are exploring the possibilities of AI, using services like Azure OpenAI to create experiences that will deliver a range of exciting benefits.

However, many of these AI experiences require a consistent supply of clean and trusted data, which can be challenging to deliver given the breadth and depth of data captured on a day-to-day basis. Not only this, but the variety of products and services now available in the data and reporting market can make it confusing for customers to find the right solution.

Microsoft’s recent unveiling of Microsoft Fabric promises to change this – offering an end-to-end, unified analytics platform that brings together an entire suite of data and analytics tools. So, what does Fabric consist of and how can it help businesses lay the foundations for a data-driven future?

The complete analytics package

Integrating technologies like Azure Data Factory, Synapse Data Warehouse and Power BI into a single product, Microsoft Fabric empowers both data and business professionals, whilst addressing every aspect of an organisation’s analytical needs.

As a complete analytics platform, the service offers a unified experience and architecture that enables developers to extract insights from their data and present it to business users. To ensure users see immediate value, the experience is delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, ensuring everything is automatically integrated and optimised, ready to go.

Fabric incorporates seven core workloads, including Data Factory, Synapse Data Engineering, Synapse Data Warehouse, Synapse Data Science, Synapse Real-Time Analytics, Power BI, and Data Activator.

Delivering drag-and-drop experiences for data transformation and pipeline orchestration, these workloads combine to deliver an intuitive, user-friendly experience that simplifies key data processes and enables users to uncover important insights with increased efficiency.

As such, every team involved in the analytics process is given role-specific experiences, empowering them to continue working in a way they are already comfortable with.

An organised data lake

Whilst most data lakes are disorganised, making it difficult for customers to create, integrate and manage, Fabric comes with a multi-cloud, built-in data lake known as ‘OneLake’, where all Fabric workloads are automatically wired in.

Eliminating chaotic data silos created by various developers configuring their own isolated storage accounts, OneLake provides a single storage system for all users, allowing accurate information to be accessed and shared with ease.

A key benefit of OneLake is its ‘ShortCuts’, which allow data to be shared between users and applications without having to move and duplicate information. These ShortCuts allow OneLake to virtualise data storage, so that it can be analysed cross clouds.

As part of Fabric’s commitment to open data formats across all workloads and tiers, customers only need to load their data into the lake once – this allows workloads to operate using the same data without the need to separately ingest it. OneLake’s support of structured and unstructured data of any format also provides users with total flexibility.

Of course, data security is of paramount importance for all businesses, and as such, Fabric provides a universal security model that is managed in OneLake, with all engines enforcing it when queries are processed.

Uncover insights using AI

According to Microsoft’s official blog, Fabric’s infusion with Azure OpenAI Service will allow businesses to ‘unlock the full potential’ of their data. With Copilot integrated into every data experience, the service allows businesses to use natural language to bring their data to life.

From integrating data and writing code, to finding insights and creating reports, new transformative experiences help users extract maximum value from their data, with Copilot turning words into data flows and pipelines, allowing data to be integrated from any source.

By combining Azure OpenAI service models and their data, customers can create their own conversational language experiences that can then be published as plug-ins. In fact, just by chatting with Copilot, users can explore their data to create visually appealing reports, summarising information into understandable narratives.

Through the power of AI, businesses can transform insights into actions, empowering users to harness the data at their fingertips, so they can help drive the business forward.

As always, Copilot in Fabric builds on Microsoft’s existing commitments to data security and privacy, as the service inherits an organisation’s security, compliance, and privacy policies, ensuring your data remains yours.

Just the beginning

This powerful combination of data and AI marks the start of an exciting new chapter for those businesses that actively use data to inform decision-making, identify key trends and uncover insights.

As always, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing the user experience through the delivery of sophisticated yet intuitive technology, that will undoubtedly pave the way for more AI-inspired services.

From a business perspective, the unveiling of Microsoft Fabric will not only empower users, but will reduce costs through unified capabilities, as organisations now have access to an all-inclusive service instead of one that combines products from multiple vendors.

If you would like to understand more about how Microsoft Fabric could benefit your organisation, then contact our in-house team of data consultants.