Discovering Data with Microsoft Azure AS - iCorps

Everyday, your employees generate, access, and exchange data in the course of their work. But are they really seeing its potential? Do they recognize opportunities to inform key business decisions, identify new revenue streams, and help your company stay ahead of the competition?

Data is an integral feature of our digital world. Its value, however, remains elusive for users who don't have the expertise, or familiarity, required to interpret this information in an insightful manner. Often, data's potential remains beyond reach, trapped in disparate databases, applications, and devices.

Microsoft Azure Analysis Services (AS) is the solution to these data woes - proving that finding the value in your segregated information doesn't have to be difficult. 

Tip: Looking to increase employee productivity? Here are a few ways a cloud-based workspace can improve employee collaboration and efficiency

A Matter of Semantics

In 2016, Microsoft extended its online Analysis Services to the cloud as Azure AS, a fully managed Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). A PaaS is a computing model in which soft and hardware tools are provided by a third party.

Azure AS is a semantic layer - essentially a tool that maps complex data into more familiar, palatable terms. This layer is built between the user's data sources and Business Intelligence (BI) reporting, analysis, and/or data visualization tools. These semantic models are then built on top of the organization's relevant on-premise and cloud-based "raw" data sources.

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Semantic data modeling uses common business terms to represent corporate data, translating vague naming conventions into relatable terminology. The following is an example of this translating:

[ex: %OrdDt] is turned into [ex: Order Date]

In this way, Azure AS insulates users from the technical details of the data, allowing them to create queries in familiar and meaningful terms. The data is then sent to a preferred interface such as Excel, Power BI, or SQL Server Reporting Services. At this point, users can select, manipulate, and evaluate business data in custom reports - processed at the "speed of thought" - to glean valuable insights.

The Silver Lining

As a fully managed PaaS, Azure AS offers several advantages. Azure AS virtually eliminates the investment in expensive on-premises solutions, and automatically delivers the latest in available features. Users have convenient access anytime, anywhere, and from any device. The cloud-based data redundancy can also be incorporated into an extant disaster recovery or business continuity strategy.

Azure AS offers a tiered fixed-price structure for its enterprise-level BI capabilities, allowing for scalable query processing and model caches from 3GB to 100GB.

Microsoft's cloud-based Azure Active Directory (AD) can also be leveraged to conveniently manage user identities, enabling proactive protection and detection of compromised accounts, role-cased access, and row-level security.

Related content: 7 Reasons Why Businesses are Choosing Microsoft Cloud Services

Implementing Azure AS

In today's fast-paced digital world, your business can't afford to underutilize the information at its disposal. Azure AS optimizes data processing through effective self-service solutions for your business. Need help with an Azure AS implementation? A technology partner such as iCorps can provide the critical expertise and support you need to deliver on the Azure AS promise - putting data directly into the hands of your users.

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