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Microsoft Fabric: A new Microsoft offering to empower the modern data workforce

The traditional data workforce

When discussing the structure of data related work, the data landscape is often categorized into one of three areas – data engineering, data analytics and data science.

  1. Data engineering – the process of designing, building and maintaining the infrastructure required to manage and process large volumes of data.
  2. Data analytics – the process of analyzing and interpreting large volumes of data to identify trends and insights that can be used to inform business decisions that can help organizations optimize operations, improve products and enhance customer experience.
  3. Data science – the process of using scientific methods, algorithms and systems to extract insights from structured and unstructured data to analyze and interpret complex data sets and solve real-world problems.

Traditionally, each of these categories would have their own set of data workers that play separate and unique roles in the data management landscape of an organization. Having an abundant knowledge of the data landscape allows these professionals to understand how to build out and use the advanced tools necessary to properly collect, manage and analyze the data for their organization.

And while data engineers, analysts and scientists are still the reigning force throughout the data landscape, workers in other functional areas have begun to engage with their organization’s data in a way many have never done before. People working in a variety of nontechnical roles, such as accounting, sales and human resources, have begun to leverage forms of data work in their daily job functions, with some even taking the next step to leverage low code/no code design solutions.

The utilization of data by nontechnical workers empowers your entire organization to make faster, more efficient and more informed decisions. So how can your organization make working with data more accessible to those outside of the traditional data landscape? How can you ensure nontechnical workers know what tools to use to accomplish their variety of tasks while ensuring data is being accessed responsibly in a platform that can be managed and governed?

Introducing Microsoft Fabric: empowering the modern data workforce

Microsoft Fabric aims to enable nontechnical workers by bringing all Microsoft Azure tools into one platform. Microsoft Fabric allows anyone inside your organization access to the appropriate tools needed to efficiently collect, process, analyze and visualize data in a secure and easy-to-use platform. Microsoft Fabric is specifically designed to empower users to leverage the power of data to make informed decisions, and its user-friendly interface allows users to navigate through different features and functionalities in a way that doesn’t require extensive prior technical knowledge.

This scalable, integrated solution combines tools and services for managing and processing large volumes of data, analyzing and interpreting data and building and deploying machine learning (ML) models while providing a seamless and collaborative environment for data engineers, data analysts, data scientists and stakeholders from other areas of the business to work together on data-related projects. With a robust security and governance framework, organizations can ensure that data is secure and compliant with relevant regulations.

Capabilities of Microsoft Fabric

Across the data landscape, Microsoft Fabric provides the following capabilities:

1. Data engineering

Microsoft Fabric contains Synapse Analytics, a cloud-based analytics platform that allows organizations to collect and analyze large amounts of raw data from various sources and transform it into structured data that can be easily analyzed, through the support of batch and real-time data processing. It offers an integrated workspace that combines big data and data warehousing to provide a seamless experience for data engineers, data scientists and business analysts. With Synapse Analytics, users can extract insights from data using powerful tools and technologies such as Azure Machine Learning, Apache Spark and Power BI.

2. Data analytics

Microsoft Fabric contains Power BI, a business analytics platform that allows users to create interactive visualizations and reports with their data. It offers a variety of tools and features that enable users to transform, analyze and visualize data from multiple sources, including cloud-based and on-premises data sources. Users can perform various types of analyses, including descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics. Power BI includes a range of customizable visualization tools, including charts, graphs and maps that provides real-time data insights with its powerful analytics engine.

3. Data science

Microsoft Fabric contains the Azure Data Science Virtual Machine, a comprehensive platform that provides a range of tools and services for building, training and deploying ML models while supporting popular programming languages and machine learning libraries. Specifically, the platform provides a cloud-based Python framework for ad hoc and business users to be able to run Python notebooks and scripts. The platform also includes Azure ML, a cloud-based ML services that allows users to build and deploy predictive models, and Visual Studio Code, an integrated development environment (IDE) for building and testing models.

Benefits, pricing and availability of Microsoft Fabric

As Microsoft Fabric is built directly on top of the current Azure platform, its user interface (UI) provides access to familiar Azure tools with the additional ability to utilize automation to guide users through the creation of necessary assets and even spin up a synapse environment. This provides a better user experience and increased access to data-related tools which can drive ROI through a shorter time to market for assets.

With the automation of asset creation organizations no longer need a large team of data workers as they can now complete the same amount of work with a reduced workforce. This is particularly efficient for smaller organizations that were previously unable to staff a large data team.

Microsoft Fabric is purchased through $5,000 shared blocks of computing power that are individually purchased to fit the necessary needs of your organization. This flexibility provides organizations the opportunity to scale up when budget or needs allow.

Currently, licensing access to Microsoft Fabric is only available through a Power BI Premium subscription. If your organization already has Power BI Premium, this new offering will be available within the week following this announcement.

How we can help

Enabling your workforce with the right tools and processes to perform their jobs efficiently is critical to your organization’s success today and in the future, but it can be daunting at times. Baker Tilly's digital team provides expertise and support for organizations across all three categories of the data landscape, no matter your level of data maturity. Baker Tilly's Pathfinder process can help you identify, prioritize and activate your digital transformation regardless of where you are in your journey. In collaboration with Microsoft, we help organizations build a strategy for how your organization can successfully leverage Microsoft Fabric to address issues through data driven capabilities, all the way through the implementation and utilization of the Microsoft Fabric platform.

Interested in learning more about Microsoft Fabric or not yet a current Power BI Premium user? Contact one of our professionals to get started today.

Chris Wagner
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