Business Case for Microsoft Fabric

MS Fabric Logo

Microsoft have made a significant investment in the creation of Microsoft Fabric as their new flagship generation data and AI tool. It is important that we as businesses look at what it means for us, and if it is truly worth our own investment. Here’s a look at the business case for Microsoft Fabric, and your investment in it.

Your IT spend

Many IT departments are now so committed to keeping the existing complex infrastructure running that there’s precious time for innovation and improvement.  Either innovation and improvement takes a loing time to deliver, or you’re expected to raise your budgets even higher.  By simplifying the management and integration of data, Microsoft have taken massive strides towards freeing up IT departments to innovate. The consequence should be the ability to innovate faster and better, without having to raise your IT budget yet again.

Data Security

Improving Data Security to cope with the modern Big Data World is a core aim of Microsoft Fabric.

We’ve all seen the high-profile data breaches leading to problems for businesses, loss of credibility, loss of important IP, teh safety of customers and employees, and sometimes some very significant fines.  Its always tempting to think “it won’t happen to us”, or “we’re already spending enough on this, now I’ve got the business to think about”, but that is not acceptable for any credible business.

Some of the factors increasing the risk of data loss include:

  • The same data held in lots of places. 
  • When copying the data to one place after another, the increased risk of loss increases. 
  • The fact that you have the data in 4 places means there are 4 places to secure. Some will be good, and some less so. 
  • The action of transmitting all your data those extra times is a risk in itself.  

Fabric reduces the need to copy data from one place to another, because all the applications can access a single source of truth in the data lake. This is a deliberate strategy to help reduce the amount of data duplication, bring all your data within a strong “Active Directory” security environment, and help you to mitigate and reduce this ever-present business risk.

Fabric also brings all your data within the realm of Microsoft Entra (Access controls), Microsoft Purview, and the full stack of security processes that are necessary to prevent data breaches, whether minor or catastrophic.

Infrastructure Spending

With the average piece of data replicated 4.5 times across an average business, the implication is that we’re typically spending multiples of what we need on data storage infrastructure.  If this was simple storage-only infrastructure such as Amazon S3 then the costs would be relatively low, but because data is often stored with the applications that use it, you can be using 4.5 times as much storage on expensive processing servers.

Bringing down the amount of data duplication not only saves money, but it removes ambiguity as to which is the correct source of data. Both quality and quantity of data benefit when the right versions of your data are stored and well managed.

Democratization of Data”

Democratization of Data is an important concept in the current generation of data products. [Democritization of Data in the HBR] Traditionally it seems that few in an organization have been able to get their hands on the right data. A small number of programmers and technicians may be creating standard reports for the board, but everyone else is likely to be doing without, using intuition, guesswork, rather than good data.

When you Democratize your data, it becomes more accessible to the people that use it in your organization, and a great deal about the design of Fabric has been created to achieve this.

The trouble with democratization of data is that you need to keep some kind of controls on which data is used, by whom. The “wrong” data can’t get out, or into the wrong hands, so Fabric’s comprehensive set of access controls are essential so that with democratization, you don’t get leaks.

And there’s the ability to mark and publish only the “good” data for use, so that your end users start with data that is known to be reliable.

The real benefit of democratization is that people throughout your organization should have their hands on the right data, to generate the right insights, make better decisions and do their jobs better.

Making Business decisions

Probably the biggest potential cost to business – often “business ending”, is the ability to make the right, or the wrong decisions.  And while many of us know our data-based decision making isn’t working optimally, there is at least something in place, and we are in touch with our main monthly financial KPis, if nothing more. 

The opportunity with functional BI is to manage more than just the main financials, but to start to accurately track your leading indicators, stock levels, supply chain, sales pipeline, customer attitudes, and so on.

And the further opportunity with Machine learning is to start to report into the future, with meaningful M/L models giving you predictions in a future range with a measurable confidence factor.   It all rests on gathering and maintaining just the right data for your business, and then knowing how to use it in both BI and AI models.   But Fabric exists to make this a reality

The cost of being left behind

Starting as a talking point, AI is rapidly becoming a competitive advantage for businesses.  For some it’s a game changer which will permanently re-shape a market in favor of the early adopters, or the “early-succeeders”. 

  • Example 1: Abnormal Security
    This company was founded in 2018 using AI to detect email attacks and insecure user behaviour. In 2023 it reached a $4 billion valuation and recurring revenues of $100 billion.
  • Example 2: Unlearn
    Unlearn was founded in 2020, using AI to speed up drug trials and bring medicines to market more efficiently. By March 2023 it already reached a $256 million valuation.

And for each winning early-succeeder, there’s a corresponding group of late-comers, and some of those may not make it through.   You may consider that something about your business exempts you from the race to adopt new technologies.  But then so famously did Blockbuster video, Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry, and so many others who thought they did not need to keep up. 

We all hope to be among the business executives that are not proved wrong on that, with each successive technology wave?

The Business case for Microsoft Fabric

The business case for fabric is formidable but inevitably the details will vary from one organization to another. At Comset we are happy to engage with you and work through the Business Case, Strategy, and the planning process for your own journey into Fabric.