Introduction to Microsoft Azure Synapse

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics combines data integration, warehousing, ETL pipelines, big data analytics, visualizations, and more.

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    Across all industries, organizations are bumping up against some big challenges when it comes to dealing with big data and for many, Microsoft Azure Synapse may hold they key.

    Many struggle to mature their strategy – not just capturing that data, but implementing the analytics against it – aka: turning their data into actionable insights.

    Often, data ends up in data lakes or spread across all of these different silos and apps. There’s no standardization between different formats, making it difficult to combine and analyze data from different sources in the same report – let alone take advantage of AI/ML tools.

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    Which means, within a single organization, you get different users working with different versions of the truth.

    Azure Synapse Analytics aims to solve some of big data’s biggest challenges. It’s a “limitless analytics service” that combines data integration, warehousing, ETL pipelines, big data analytics, visualizations, and more – into a single platform. Rather than managing different types of data or workloads with different tools, Synapse provides an all-in-one platform for working with data.  

    What’s more, Synapse offers industry-specific templates that make it easy to standardize how data is formatted, organized, and stored.

    In this installment of our Velosio Viewpoints series, our experts provide a short introduction to the Azure Synapse platform. In it, they explain:

    • What Azure Synapse is
    • How the platform works
    • Key features and components
    • The benefits of a unified data management service
    • Potential use cases and users

    We’ve also put together a follow up video that digs deeper into the Synapse architecture and its technical capabilities – you can watch it here. Or – keep reading to find out more about using Synapse to get more value from your data.

    What is Azure Synapse for?

    Again, Azure Synapse is designed to help users manage all data workloads – from data warehousing and engineering to data streaming and code-free machine learning – in one place.

    But – it’s that “all-in-one” approach to data management that delivers benefits to the entire business. Here, we’ll quickly go over some key use cases to help you get a better sense of what this platform is all about.

    Azure’s accessible real-time insights can also help professional services firms deliver better service to their clients. Take for example, PwC’s Deals, Insights, and Analytics (DIA) team, which used Azure Synapse to build an end-to-end reporting and analytics solution they can customize to fit the needs of each client – now known as Value Insights.

    The DIA team used the Azure Synapse-Power BI integration to make it easy for analysts and clients to work with data to help ID and minimize risks throughout the M&A process, while streamlined ETL pipelines and integrated CI/CD reinforced compliance requirements.

    Azure’s end-to-end analytics also help teams detect and respond to emerging threats and automate threat detection. So, with PwC, you have an accounting firm using these capabilities to help its Private Equity clients avoid risky deals. But – those capabilities can also help IT teams get ahead of cyberthreats or help C-level execs make smarter decisions about where th e business is headed next.

    On the manufacturing front, Synapse unlocks a wealth of possibilities for leveraging IoT and OT data, digital twins, and process automation.

    For example, Azure Synapse-Power BI integration enabled GE Aviation to build predictive ML models faster than they could with their previous set-up, which involved multiple systems, data sources, and complex steps. Now, the team is able to use Power BI reports to quickly ID maintenance issues, determine a root cause, and take corrective action as needed.

    There’s also Azure Synapse Link for Cosmos DB for Hybrid Transactional/Analytical Processing (HTAP) – which enables near real-time operational analytics you can use to prevent downtime, optimize production processes, or unlock predictive maintenance capabilities.

    A different type of professional services firm, Neogrid, uses Azure Synapse to automate and synchronize its complex supply chain operations. Azure’s real-time analytics allowed the company to help its clients (which includes companies like Heinz and Walgreens) keep up with rapid shifts in customer demand and deliver the right products to the right places, at the exact, right time.

    Final thoughts

    A quick glance at the official website will reveal that these examples barely scratch the surface for what you can do with Azure Synapse. The bottom line is, Synapse changes the big data game in a serious way.

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    End-to-end integration means fewer silos between departments and data sources, productivity gains, and big potential for cost-savings – as you’re only paying for one service. And then there are the countless ways that Synapse helps users achieve critical objectives – whether that’s smarter marketing campaigns, greater business agility, operational improvements, or something else.

    Check out our YouTube channel to  Microsoft Synapse in action. There, Velosio experts give bite-sized presentations on topics like Power BI, the D365 Teams integration, and more.

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