Why would Microsoft Fabric matter to you?

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Fabric is Microsoft’s new data and reporting platform, and the place they intend us all to get to grips with big data, reporting and AI.  But what does this mean for your business?

Here we look at some very common shared problems in the world of data, and how Fabric is set up to resolve them.

  1. We’ve got pieces of data everywhere and we can’t keep track.
    Yes enterprise data typically sites in multiple silos, and its very hard to keep a control of, or to integrate.  Until this is done however its hard to use that data for organization-wide high quality reports, so it needs to be integrated or copies made.  The amount of work and pluming in maintaining these integrations often takes all of Its resources, so IT has no time left to add new value to the business, and to innovate.  Fabric solves these universal issues with its “One Lake” data lake,  which draws content in from all those data silos though hundreds of easy to use connectors.  This makes it available for cleaning, reporting, and further use, and the mass of other integrations can gradually be unravelled, and time spent more productively.

  2. The cost of managing and integrating our data is already too high.
    Fabric meets this head-on, with multiple efforts to simplify process, make technical jobs easier, and provide simple data connectors and processes.  Most of Fabric is a Low-code and No-code environment so less technical users can complete jobs that were previously time consuming for highly paid technicians.  In Fabric you can spin up a new Data Science environment in a couple of minutes, while in the past this was several hours work.  Microsoft’s AI assistant “CoPilot” has made developers measurable 55% more time-efficient.   Literally everyone handling data has been struggling with the same kind of issues for the last few years, and one of Fabric’s key aims

  3. We require programmers to do anything – and the programmers are too busy.
    IT is usually under resourced and getting behind, yet everyone wants another report, or a piece of data to add to their reports. There’s a broad skills gap for modern technical skills meaning most IT departments are under resourced and under skills.
    Fabric helps this by making

  4. We’re nowhere near ready to start working on AI.
    There are major competitive advantages arising out of our ability to harness AI, and your competitors starting to use it.  But you are still trying to deal with basic integration issues, or updating legacy systems.  How can we innovate to remain competitive at this rate of change?

  5. We have copies of the same data everywhere, and ensuring the right version, and its accuracy is impossible.
    OneLake deals with this issue well.  The original source of data is connected to the OneLake using Microsoft’s standard connectors, and then further processing goes on there.  You don’t need to make multiple copies of the data because the processing and reporting goes on in the same place that the data resides – in Fabric.  The source data still exists in the source system, but the connectors pull it into fabric invisibly.  Within Fabric there is a system to certify or promote a particular Data Set, so the whole business can understand which data is reliable, and work from the same sources.

  6. We’re worried about data breaches and security, but there’s so much data flying around that its hard to know what is where.
    There have been a large number of high-profile data breaches in the news, and companies are rightly increasing the measures they take to keep their IP and customer data safe.  A lot of work gone on in Fabric to keep your Organizational data safe and secure.
    At the OneLake level there’s the control of each Data Set and setting access permissions there.  All access to OneLake is controlled via your Azure Active Directory. Once Data has been marked for a certain access level here, the same controls cascade through all the other products using the data.  And at a report level groups of data can be marked for access by different user groups and departments.   Microsoft Purview is a product set which works with Fabric to find and label all your sensitive data, and highlight and prevent incorrect access.   Microsoft is aiming to be THE most trusted partner for cloud data and the level of effort that has gone into Fabric is impressive.

  7. If you make data more freely available to the organization for reporting and decision making, don’t we risk data breaches even more?
    This is a legitimate concern – a key aim of Fabric is to “Democratize Data”, to get everyone using it more.  Doesn’t this increase the risk of accidental exposure? 
    The access controls built into Fabric cascade through all other Microsoft products, so for example some customer data has been marked by Admins, or by Microsoft Purview as “Sensitive”, this information is also displayed against the same data if it makes its way into Outlook, PowerPoint slides, or Excel.
    At the same time as making data easier to access and use, Microsoft have also improved the controls over its access and mis-use.

  8. We have to copy our data from one tool to the next to do different jobs, and end up with even more versions.  Who knows which is the right version of our data?
    Fabric reduces the need to copy data between different systems, so there should be less copies to manage, to pay for the storage of, and to lose. It also has a way of marking the best data.  Users can either “Promote” a good data set for other users, or apply for an Administrator to “Certify” a data set – the ultimate mark of quality.