Since its announcement, Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics has built on Microsoft’s Azure data platform offering to create a versatile tool for end-to-end analytics from loading and transforming data to reporting and data science use cases. Bringing together existing tools with new capabilities that unlock a more comprehensive range of use cases, it’s a strong move by Microsoft to create a more unified experience that will make it quicker than ever to move from data to insights.
We’ve been working with Azure’s Data and Analytics tools for several years now, and we know from working with customers how much of a benefit bringing these different tools into one interface is. Previous technical discussions around whether the data is available in the Data Lake or the Data Warehouse have distracted from the key questions now brought into sharp focus: How can I use the data at my disposal, all of the data, to improve the way we run our business? Based on the evidence I’m seeing, what actions can I take to increase revenue, decrease cost, or mitigate risk?
Responsive business decisions depend on flexible, reliable visibility of the data
More than ever before, businesses operating in the current environment need to make decisions quickly, responding to changes and meeting opportunities as they arise. From faster, more accurate forecasts of demand as it changes, and visibility of the supply chain’s constantly-updating status, to a clearer understanding of customer purchasing and behaviour patterns, businesses that use their data to see and understand their market will be more resilient in a fast-changing world.
Unlock data from across the organization
By unifying a range of data storage options, Synapse Analytics separates the technical decisions on what data should be stored where, from the analyst’s role of analyzing the data. For example, structured, verified financial data that needs to be quickly accessible by a broad group of users could be stored in the powerful SQL Pool relational storage engine, while detailed audit logs that are accessed rarely but provide valuable insight in specific scenarios, can be stored cheaply in the Data Lake Storage. At the same time, analysts can use familiar SQL queries to analyze the data wherever it’s stored, or leverage the power of Synapse Spark Pools to run complex analyses using a combination of Python, SQL, Scala and .NET, whatever allows them to answer the business question fastest. By offering this flexibility, Synapse Analytics will enable organizations to break down silos – the scale to store organization-wide data and the flexibility to store both current and historical data without sacrificing performance for cost.
Support for queries, visualization, and machine learning
Building on a solid foundation of the entire organization’s data in one data platform, Synapse Analytics offers tight integration with Power BI and Azure Machine Learning to unlock deeper insights for the broader community of data consumers. Power BI is Microsoft’s best-of-breed tool for end-user reporting, allowing everyone in your business to harness data to understand the customers they’re working with or the processes they’re running on a day-to-day basis. Azure Machine Learning unlocks deeper insights for a wide range of users, from drag-and-drop data science to highly customized models using Python or R, linked right back to the latest version of the data in Synapse Analytics. With a tightly integrated end-to-end data flow, getting an up-to-the-minute view of your business is more achievable than ever before.
Microsoft Synapse Analytics released to General Availability
General Availability is a significant milestone for any tool. It’s especially exciting for a tool with such wide-ranging capabilities as Synapse Analytics to see the tool becoming available to the broadest set of organizations. We’ve worked with several customers from proof of concept to production use cases on Synapse Analytics. Our experience working on it so far has convinced us that more companies will benefit from bringing the multiple capabilities together into one platform.
Visibility of the data at your fingertips: Azure Purview public preview
Bringing together data from across the organization allows analysts and end users to deliver greater value by combining datasets they’re already using, but today’s other big release unlocks value from data users aren’t even aware of. Azure Purview is Microsoft’s new tool for data cataloging and data governance. Users can easily discover new datasets, find how to connect to data, or even look up who the experts are on a particular dataset so they can get more information on how to use it. On top of data discovery, Azure Purview helps with data governance, automatically scanning and classifying datasets, letting you easily take stock of all your company’s data assets, and understand important factors in how you control it, like sensitivity and lineage.
Our consultants have helped a range of customers explore how they can benefit from Azure Synapse during its public preview phase, and have been testing Azure Purview’s capabilities prior to public launch. If you’re interested in how either of these tools could help you, please reach out to Andrew Kennedy