Study after study has shown that it’s advantageous to foster a data-driven-culture. Microsoft has dedicated years to collaborating with global organization to unlock these benefits. Unfortunately, many organizations 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. Data remains isolated across companies, 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. Allow us to introduce Microsoft Fabric.

What is Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric stands as a unified analytics solution tailored for enterprises, encompassing a range of functionalities from data movement to data science, real-time analytics, and 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’s no need to assemble disparate services from various vendors. Instead, you can benefit from a seamlessly integrated, end-to-end, and user-friendly product designed to streamline your analytics requirements.

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

How Does Microsoft Fabric Work?

There are five key areas that set Fabric apart from the rest of the market. Let’s take a look!

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.

Enter Microsoft Fabric.

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 diver proprietary formats within the same data lake.

Fabric addresses these challenges by introducing a built-in software-as-a-service platform that’s a multi-cloud data lake named “OneLake.” Similar to how Microsoft 365 applications seamlessly connect to OneDrive, Fabric’s entire set of workloads is seamlessly integrated 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 integrated 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 your 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 cots, as unused compute resources in one workload can be efficiently utilized by any other workload.

How Microsoft Copilot Talks to 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 your reporting. You can further personalize the page using existing editing tools. Copilot goes beyond report creation, aiding in understanding your semantic model and suggesting topics for your report pages. It’s a swift and user-friendly method, especially for those less family with Power BI report creation.

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 your report or a specific template, enhancing how you communicate 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’s Fabric’s preview will occur gradually. The company’s aim is 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 sigh-up is required; 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.

Curious How MIBAR Can Help Lay the Foundation for Your Fabric?

As Microsoft Fabric’s Copilot enters public preview, we invite you to explore its capabilities. If you have Power BI Premium capacity or Fabric capacity, you’ll have access to Copilot in the coming months. If you need help navigating this scene, or if you’re interested in upgrading to see how Fabric can enhance your business operations, contact our team at MIBAR. We are ready to support you in unlocking the transformative power of data analytics.

Additional Resources

How to Get Started with Microsoft 365 Copilot

The AI Co-Pilot of Your Dreams: Microsoft Copilot’s Impact on Everyday Work

Unleashing Business Potential with Power BI: 9 Real-World Use Cases