Over the years, Microsoft has had a front-row seat to digital transformation occurring across all industries and regions around the world. And in 2020, they have seen that digitally transformed organizations have successfully adapted to sudden disruptions.

Data is what enables both analytical power, which involves analyzing the past and gaining new insights, and predictive power, which is about predicting the future and planning ahead.

To harness the power of data, first we need to break down data silos. 

The truth is, too many businesses also have silos of skills and silos of technologies, not just silos of data. And, this must be addressed holistically.

For decades, specialized technologies like data warehouses and data lakes have helped businesses like Chameleon collect and analyze data of all sizes and formats. But in doing so, they often created niches of expertise and specialized technology in the process. This is the paradox of analytics: the more we apply new technology to integrate and analyze data, the more silos we can create.

To break this cycle, Microsoft recommends a new approach.

Organizations must break down all silos to achieve analytical power and predictive power, in a unified, secure, and compliant manner. 

Your organizational success over the next decade will increasingly depend on your ability to accomplish this goal.

This is why Microsoft stepped back and took a new approach to analytics in Azure. They rearchitected our operational and analytics data stores to take full advantage of a new, cloud-native architecture. This fundamental shift, while maintaining consistent tools and languages, is what enables the long-held silos to be eliminated across skills, technology, and data. 

At the core of this is Azure Synapse Analytics – a limitless analytics service that brings together data integration, enterprise data warehousing, and Big Data analytics into a single service offering unmatched time to insights. 

With Azure Synapse, organizations can run the full gamut of analytics projects and put data to work much more quickly, productively, and securely, generating insights from all data sources. And, importantly, Azure Synapse combines capabilities spanning the needs of data engineering, machine learning, and BI without creating silos in processes and tools.

But, just breaking down silos is not sufficient. A comprehensive data governance solution is needed to know where all data resides across an organization. An organization that does not know where its data is or how to generate insights from the data, does not know what its future will be. 

To empower this solution, Microsoft created Azure Purview, which is a unified data governance service that helps organizations achieve a complete understanding of their data. Azure Purview helps discover all data across your organization, track lineage of data, and create a business glossary wherever it is stored: on-premises, across clouds, in SaaS applications, and in Microsoft Power BI. It also helps you understand your data exposures by using over 100 AI classifiers that automatically look for personally identifiable information (PII), sensitive data, and pinpoint out-of-compliance data. 

The combination of Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Purview empowers organizations to invent with purpose by developing the capabilities to achieve both analytical power and predictive power.

Credit for this article goes to Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure, Julia White from Microsoft.