Fabric is a powerful data platform developed by Microsoft that enables organizations to truly harness and orchestrate every piece of data into a single place. It provides a range of features and capabilities to collect, transform, model, visualize, and action data from various sources, empowering users to make data-driven decisions and gain valuable insights.
On May 23, 2023, Microsoft made a groundbreaking announcement: the early preview of their new Data & Analytics platform product, Microsoft Fabric. This all-in-one platform aims to fulfill an organization’s analytics needs and is well-suited for asset-intensive industries. Let’s explore why having a better data platform is crucial for these industries and how Microsoft Fabric and Microsoft Power BI service can address their challenges and unlock their potential.
Asset-intensive industries, such as Manufacturing, Mining, and Oil & Gas, generate massive amounts of data daily. With complex machinery, human resources, data models, and operational systems, these industries are rich with valuable information. However, many organizations in these sectors fail to leverage their data to its full potential, often lacking a data-driven approach to managing operations.
Learn about three key benefits that can be obtained by efficiently utilizing data:
Data is a critical component of effective asset management. Organizations can gain valuable insights into the condition, performance, and utilization of their assets by collecting data from various sources such as Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), IoT devices/sensors, and operational systems. Fabric allows these organizations to consolidate and analyze data from disparate data sources, providing a holistic view of asset operations. With these insights, strategic improvements can be made to reduce downtime, extend asset lifetimes, and optimize resource allocation.
In asset-intensive industries, making data-based decisions can significantly improve efficiency and streamline operations. Fabric empowers organizations to identify bottlenecks, simplify workflows, and optimize processes using data analytics. By examining historical data, organizations can uncover patterns that help refine production schedules or optimize logistics routes, resulting in cost savings and improved overall operational performance. Power BI’s robust analytical capabilities enable users to explore data, create reports, visualize trends, and derive actionable insights.
Industries that heavily rely on assets often operate in high-risk environments, prioritizing safety and adherence to regulations. Data is pivotal in promoting safety for personnel, equipment, and the surrounding environment. By monitoring data in real-time, Microsoft Fabric users can help detect anomalies, potential dangers, or equipment failures early on, allowing for proactive measures to be taken. Additionally, data analytics facilitated by Microsoft Fabric can aid in ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, enabling organizations to maintain safety protocols, monitor compliance metrics, and produce accurate reports for audits and inspections.
Despite the numerous benefits that a robust data platform can bring to asset-intensive industries, several hindrances commonly impede progress.
Let’s explore three common challenges and how Microsoft Fabric will address them:
A significant amount of data is generated within asset-intensive industries but raw data often remains isolated in separate systems, making it challenging to integrate and gain a comprehensive understanding. Microsoft Fabric allows organizations to break down data silos by connecting and using data models and consolidating data from various sources into a unified view. Microsoft Fabric’s visualization component – Power BI, enables users to explore relationships and correlations among disparate datasets by providing a cohesive and integrated data environment, facilitating better decision-making and insights.
Many organizations in asset-intensive industries possess antiquated systems that are ill-equipped to meet modern data requirements. These legacy systems often lack interoperability, data integration, and analytical analysis capabilities. Fabric can create data models that seamlessly integrate with existing systems and infrastructure, enabling organizations to leverage their investments while gaining modern analytics capabilities. With Microsoft Fabric, organizations can bridge the gap between legacy systems and modern data analytics, empowering them to unlock the full potential of their data assets.
Recruiting individuals with data skills can be challenging due to labor shortages and high operational demands in asset-intensive industries. However, Microsoft Fabric addresses this challenge by providing a user-friendly experience and intuitive interface that does not require extensive IT knowledge. Fabric empowers data power users within the organization, individuals with domain knowledge and a grasp of data analysis concepts, to explore and analyze data effectively. With Fabric’s user-friendly features, these top data analysts and power users can uncover insights, create interactive reports and dashboards, and share their findings with others, promoting data literacy and analytical skills throughout the organization.
In my 30-year career in data and analytics, I can confidently say that Microsoft Fabric is the first system that aligns perfectly with my framework for achieving successful business intelligence and analytics within an organization. Its capabilities and features make it the ultimate data platform, specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of asset-intensive industries.
(Note: this is all based on the potential being promised as advertised by Microsoft. Fabric is still in preview and not GA yet.)
Here are five reasons why Microsoft Fabric, including Microsoft Power BI, can provide significant benefits and overcome the hindrances mentioned earlier:
Fabric seamlessly captures data from various sources, including sensors, control systems, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), and stores it in a single repository. This unified data can be queried in real-time, enabling organizations to gain instant insights into asset operations, conditions, and revenue generation.
By integrating this data with other sources of data visualization such as CMMS and ERP systems, a Power BI dashboard can provide a holistic view of asset performance, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic planning. With Fabric, this can be set up and configured cost-effectively.
No need to buy an expensive off-the-shelf monitoring add-ons; you can use the power of Fabric’s data engine and Power BI’s visualization to monitor and stay on top of operational events.
One client of ours is already looking to save 100k on a software purchase such as this.
Microsoft Farbic’s – Data Activator and Real-time Analytics components allow organizations to set up real-time alerts on key metrics, ensuring timely notifications and actions. This is particularly valuable for critical safety metrics, as alerts can be triggered in response to potential risks or anomalies. Moreover, Fabric enables the creation of alerts based on a value driver tree, ensuring that relevant parts of the organization are notified based on specific business drivers. Smart alerts enhance operational efficiency, mitigate risks, and improve safety and compliance.
A simple but effective use case is smart monitoring of Safety Critical Work. Using Data Activator, you can set up a hierarchical alert for outstanding safety critical work, which is tiered based on the number of work orders outstanding. As the number reaches those tiers, it alerts the different seniority levels of the organization. All the way to the Executive level as more outstanding safety-critical work increases the risk of a safety incident.
I’ll go one step further. Based on my early research and the previous point, Data Activator has the potential to achieve capabilities such as Predictive Maintenance (PdM) all within a single platform. This could mean cost savings as there is no need to purchase more expensive Condition Monitoring software. It can plug directly into Fabric.
So watch this space!
Fabric’s OneLakehouse feature provides organizations with a unified data repository that accommodates low-level, architectured, and user-enriched data. This unified repository eliminates data silos and facilitates seamless integration and analysis of diverse datasets. Organizations can leverage Fabric’s capabilities to access and explore data from different sources, empowering them to comprehensively understand their assets and operations.
Today, my team and I often have to deploy many tools to achieve the level of harmony Fabric promises. Among most veterans of the Data & Analytics industry, it’s often joked that there are far too many tools to choose from today which is just confusing organizations and leaving very little achievement or low return on investment.
The most exciting prospect of Fabric is the impact on the Total Cost of Ownership. Instead of paying multiple maintenance bills to separate vendors and having multiple resources to keep your data platform operational, Fabric promises to bring that back under control. We certainly can hope so and I will strive for this for my customer.
Fabric combines real-time analytics, historical analysis, and predictive modeling into a single platform and user experience. This convergence enables organizations to derive actionable insights from their data and make data-driven decisions more effectively. Power BI’s powerful analytical capabilities, including data exploration, visualizations bi reports, and advanced analytics tools, provide users with the tools they need to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations, driving operational excellence and strategic growth.
This is significant as today, these platforms and teams do not play so well together. Fabric makes it possible to reach seamless integration between them. On top of this, Data Activator Alerts could be set up on predictive model outputs as well as leading indicators. This means potentially getting ahead of issues well before they arise.
Fabric’s user-friendly interface and intuitive design make it accessible to data power users within the organization. These individuals, equipped with domain knowledge and expertise, can leverage the power view of Fabric’s capabilities without heavy reliance on IT departments. Fabric’s workspace feature allows for compartmentalization, enabling different teams to collaborate and analyze data within their respective focus areas. This decentralization promotes agility, empowers business users, and fosters a data-driven culture across the organization.
It’s important to highlight the significant advantages that come with having a seamless integration between Microsoft Fabric with Power BI, and to a lesser degree, the Power Platform.
Upon closer examination, it becomes clear how Power BI can greatly benefit an organization.
Power BI, developed by Microsoft, offers a wide range of benefits for organizations seeking effective business intelligence solutions. Let’s explore the key advantages of Power BI and how they can transform the way businesses analyze and visualize their data.
With Microsoft Fabric, organizations can seamlessly integrate sensor data and IoT devices, enabling real-time analysis and holistic visibility into asset operations. Smart alerts ensure proactive monitoring of critical metrics, enhancing safety and mitigating risks. The unified data repository provided by Micrsoft Fabric’s OneLakehouse simplifies data integration, eliminating silos and enabling comprehensive analysis. The convergence of real-time analytics, historical analysis, and predictive modeling in a single platform empowers organizations to derive actionable insights and drive operational excellence.
Moreover, Fabrics’s user-friendly interface and intuitive design foster the decentralization of Fabric data within the organization. Data power users, equipped with domain knowledge, can leverage Fabric’s capabilities without heavy reliance on IT departments. Fabrics’ workspaces enable collaboration and analysis within specific teams, promoting agility and a data-driven culture.
Microsoft Fabric revolutionizes asset-intensive industries by unlocking the power of data. With its seamless integration, robust analytics, and user-friendly interface, Fabric enables organizations to make data-driven decisions, optimize operations, and ensure safety and compliance. By embracing the capabilities of Microsoft Power BI, asset-intensive industries can harness their data assets and drive transformative growth in an increasingly data-centric world.