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Refine Business Operations with Microsoft Fabric and Copilot

Many studies have shown that it is advantageous to foster a data-driven culture. Microsoft has dedicated years to collaborating with global organizations to unlock these benefits. Unfortunately, many businesses face challenges, such as cultural, organizational, and process impediments, that hinder their progress. Data teams, already under pressure, find it challenging to meet their businesses’ increasing demands. Companies often lack the necessary technical skills to independently extract insights. Therefore, data remains isolated across the organization, making it inaccessible to those who require it. Additionally, disconnected analytics tools contribute to a delay in obtaining insights. Fortunately, there is a shift in this paradigm with Microsoft Fabric.

Microsoft Fabric explained

Microsoft Fabric stands as a unified analytics solution tailored for enterprises. It encompasses a range of functionalities from data movement to data science and real-time analytics to business intelligence. It provides a comprehensive suite of services, consolidating data lakes, data engineering, and data integration into a single, cohesive platform.

With Fabric, there is no need to assemble disparate services from various vendors. Instead, users can benefit from a seamlessly integrated, end-to-end, and user-friendly product designed to streamline analytics requirements.

The platform is constructed on a software as a service (SaaS) foundation, elevating simplicity and integration capabilities to new heights.

How Microsoft Fabric works

There are five key areas that set Fabric apart from the rest of the market, including:

  1. A comprehensive analytics platform

    Every analytics project relies on numerous supporting systems, each with distinct requirements and often necessitating input from multiple vendors. The integration of products from these vendors can pose challenges, quickly becoming a complex, delicate, and costly task.

    Microsoft Fabric addresses this issue by presenting teams with a unified solution. It delivers a consistent user interface, architecture, and a range of essential tools, simplifying the process of extracting and presenting insights from data.
  2. Lake-centric and open

    Data lakes often present challenges due to their messy and intricate nature, making the construction, integration, and management processes highly demanding. The operational phase of a data lake also introduces concerns about data duplication and vendor lock-in, stemming from the use of multiple data products with different proprietary formats within the same data lake.

    Fabric addresses these challenges by introducing a built-in SaaS platform, which is a multi-cloud data lake named “OneLake.” Similar to how Microsoft 365 applications seamlessly connect to OneDrive, Fabric’s entire set of workloads seamlessly integrates with OneLake.

    The inherent integration of OneLake plays a pivotal role in eliminating widespread and disordered data silos, which often emerge when team members set up their isolated storage accounts. OneLake provides the entire team with a unified storage unit, simplifying the process of discovering and sharing data.
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI)

    Azure’s OpenAI service seamlessly integrates into every layer of Microsoft Fabric, empowering users to unlock the full potential of their data. This integration not only facilitates developers in applying the capabilities of generative AI to customer data but also aids business users in their journey to uncover insights within the data.

    With Copilot integrated into every data experience within Microsoft Fabric, users can leverage conversational language to:
    • Construct machine learning models
    • Develop dataflows and data pipelines
    • Generate code and entire functions
    • Visualize results

    Moreover, users have the capability to craft their personalized conversational language experiences by combining their data with Azure OpenAI Service models and subsequently publish them as plug-ins.
  4. Empowerment for all users

    Teams within an organization aim to cultivate a data-driven culture where individuals are empowered to enhance decision-making through data. Microsoft Fabric plays a crucial role in nurturing this culture by ensuring that analytics are accessible to everyone. Notably, Fabric is intricately woven into the common, everyday Microsoft 365 applications. This integration transforms user’s Microsoft 365 applications into a central hub for discovering and applying insights.
  5. Reduction of costs through unified capacities

    Combining various products from multiple vendors into a single project often leads to substantial waste. This occurs because computing capacity is provisioned across multiple systems, including data engineering, data warehousing, and business intelligence. When one of these systems is idle, its capacity cannot be utilized by another system, resulting in inefficient resource usage.

    Fabric addresses this issue by simplifying the procurement and management of resources. With Fabric, it becomes feasible to acquire a unified pool of information to fuel all workloads, such as data integration and data sciences. This comprehensive model significantly cuts costs as unused computing resources in one workload can be efficiently utilized by any other workload.

Utilizing Copilot in Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft has rolled out the public preview of Copilot in Microsoft Fabric, now including the Power BI experience. This feature assists users in quickly initiating their journeys by facilitating report creation in the Power BI web experience. Through a high-level prompt, Copilot for Power BI in Fabric generates an entire report page, identifying tables, fields, measures, and charts to kickstart reporting. Users can further personalize the page using existing editing tools. Copilot goes beyond report creation, aiding in understanding user’s semantic model and suggesting topics for report pages. It is a quick and user-friendly method, especially for those less family with Power BI report creation.

Rolling out Microsoft Copilot software and added features

Expanding Copilot’s capabilities, Microsoft is introducing the Narrative with Copilot visual, formerly known as the Smart Narrative visual. This visual summarizes data and insights across a report or a specific template, enhancing the communication of crucial data insights. The visual is available in the Power BI service and Power BI Desktop.

In Power BI Desktop, Copilot supports model authors in improving models and saving time. The initial capability, which launched in November 2023, allows authors to generate synonyms for their fields, measures, and tables using Copilot. This is just the beginning as future updates will introduce more Copilot experiences, including the report creation and Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) writing experiences.

The rollout of Copilot in Microsoft Fabric’s preview will occur gradually. Microsoft is aiming to provide access to Copilot preview for all customers with Power BI Premium Capacity (P1 or higher) or Fabric Capacity (F64 or higher) by the end of March 2024. No sign-up is required, and it will automatically become available as a new setting in the Fabric admin portal when rolled out. Copilot usage can be counted against your existing Fabric or Power BI Premium Capacity when charging begins for Copilot in Fabric experiences.

How Citrin Cooperman can help

Citrin Cooperman’s Digital Services Practice is experienced in helping businesses navigate changes in Microsoft solutions in order to maximize the benefits of their technology investment. To learn more about the capabilities of Microsoft Fabric’s Copilot and how your business can upgrade to enhance its operations and unlock the transformative power of data analytics, reach out to your Citrin Cooperman advisor or Derek Nachimow at sales@citrincooperman.com.

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