Cloud solutions and in particular Software as a Service (SaaS) bring several advantages such as how easy it is to get started, and all the features available enabling us to be more agile and cope with business changes. In this article, we’re going to focus on the SaaS solution for implementing a full Azure BI solution. Azure SaaS solution would mean your users would access all their work on the internet through a provided website or app instead of installing them on local machines as we’re going to see.
So how would that work? Everything begins in the same place as always – data sources and databases.
1. Storing data with Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS)
After you define where your data comes from, you’ll see that some of it come from databases that you may have already, files or other data sources. For that, you have Azure Data Lake Storage, which is like a cloud file system where you can store any object you want. It is very easy to integrate with platforms and programming languages, giving it the capability of storing data coming from anywhere and establishing security.
In short, Azure Data Lake Storage lets you have all your data sources integrated into one place, storing them together and building your data lake.
2. Processing data with Synapse
Synapse is an all-in-one data & analytics platform that combines data ingestion, big data, data warehousing and ETL processes in the cloud. With it, you can fetch your data from ADLS, clean it, treat it and store it in your databases or lakes which allow all your separate processes. This is because Synapse integrates a lot of applications from Microsoft like Azure Data Lake, Azure Data Factory, etc. making it a really powerful tool when it comes to working models. Why? Because Synapse makes your work much more comfortable since you don’t need to work separately on your database application (SQL Server), ETL tool (SSIS) and visualization tool (Power BI). Even for versioning and DevOps of your projects, Synapse can stack really well because it is fully integrated with Azure DevOps allowing you to seamlessly manage all artefacts. Besides this, you can have a place where you can monitor everything that happens with your data from the beginning to the end. On top of this, you can evolve your process to use machine learning algorithms because Azure Machine Learning can be integrated too.
Without a doubt, there are many benefits of a tool like Synapse, and the empowerment it can bring to companies that want to raise the bar on their data journey is immeasurable.
3. Visualization with Power BI
Being able to analyze data is crucial, and nowadays, you have tools to build fine charts and tables with everything you need to know. But what is Power BI? It’s the place where you can build reports or dashboards with all the data that has been talked about in the previous points, so you can make your decisions based on facts and not only guesses. In an Azure solution, you still have to create content on Power BI Desktop, but everything else will be made on the cloud so, all the maintenance and editing can be done in the Power BI service workspace, which you can easily integrate into the Synapse studio.
Basically, by having that integration, in one place, you can fetch and store data, and process and present it through interactive and dynamic dashboards.
4. Cataloging data with Purview
Purview is a data governance tool that helps companies govern and manage data. You can use Purview to catalogue all data from your data sources and manage sensitive information or tag it allowing you to streamline the process and make it automatic.
Another feature you gain is to see the lineage of your data and know where it comes from and where it goes so you can track how your processes are going. These are valuable advantages you can obtain by using Purview but there is more – by having everything catalogued, all users in your company can access that catalogue to explore and find insights or check for sensitive data.
Guess what? Purview can be integrated with Synapse and from there call all the features to work with everything in the same place.
Things are changing, the cloud is becoming the new king, and although the market is really vast, betting on cloud analytics with Azure Synapse came to change the game. With it, companies can be more agile by centralizing analytics work in one place. For those who need to open their database manager, their ETL tool and their visualization tool, Azure Synapse understands that having all three in one place leverages their work tremendously because having everything together leads to a better-managed project with fewer errors, version problems, compatibility issues, and many other situations that are mitigated with Synapse. All that, plus having the capability to catalogue and lineage data, makes this tool even more complete, ensuring proper governance.
The improvement of competitiveness for companies using Synapse is a game-changer. You may have a BI cloud solution with different types of tools and all of them scale very well but you can clearly see the benefits of having a tool that can potentiate the management of all BI processes in the same place with everything integrated. This makes the whole process easier and agile which, in the end, brings more value from data that’s easily handled with new business drivers.