Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Monday 24 July 2023

Panel discussion - Microsoft Fabric and Azure Synapse

Data Toboggan - Slide Preparation has a Panel discussion on Microsoft Fabric and Azure Synapse

Thursday 27 July 2023 at 13:00 - 14:00  BST

Register for the user group event: https://bit.ly/3rG5PJD 

It's been a busy few weeks since the announcement of the new Microsoft Fabric at Build 2023. There's been a whole slew of blog posts, how-tos, videos and information generated - and it's a lot to go through !

Now that the dust is settling a bit on Fabric, it's time to step back and appraise the landscape - Is Fabric right for your Enterprise ? Is Azure Synapse still a thing ? What should we be looking towards in the short to medium term ?

The panel members are:

Dr Victoria Holt (Microsoft MVP)

Andy Cutler (Microsoft MVP)

Heini Ilmarinen (Microsoft MVP)

Mathias Halkjaer (Microsoft MVP)

Mark Pryce-Maher (Senior Program Manager - Azure Synapse)

Have a question ? Just let us know in the comments or chat and we'll see about getting an answer for you. You can even post questions during the meeting.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Microsoft Inspire 2023 keynote

We are in the middle of a massive platform shift with AI . Two areas Natural Language the developer interface and the Reasoning Engine give more power together with Information Management as we digitise the world. Generative AI together with Microsoft Fabric will be transformative.

Five of the key announcements Satya highlighted 

  • Bing Chat Enterprise will probably be the biggest generative AI launch this year. I like the ability to  do SWAT analysis by just asking. The private AI powered chat enables confidential data, user data, conversations and chat activity to stay private an not used to train AI models
  • Sales Copilot
  • Power Automate Process Mining  is Generally Available
  • Microsoft loves OpenAI. The Azure OpenAI Service has regional expansion
  • Meta's Llama 2 on Azure and Windows
  • Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program new incentives

There were discussion on how the model effectiveness is the currency of content safety and how prompt engineering with its phrases and symbols was important. All generative AI services are going to change everything. 

The Inspire keynote 18 July used an analogy of rooms in the house to describe the various layers of the Microsoft stack services.  The Copilot stack was discussed with a way to enable AI transformation. 

With this amazing era of AI we need to understanding how to provide that duty of care and ethical advisory. It is more paramount than ever think about data provenance, bias amplification, regulatory compliance and explainability. 


Tuesday 18 July 2023

Government Data Maturity Assessment

The Data Maturity Assessment for Government  helps public sector organisations to measure, improve and maintain the health and strength of their data ecosystems.

The themes


• How you get value out of data. 

• Making decisions, evidencing impact, improving services. 


• Technical aspects of data management. 

• Assets, collection, quality, interoperability. 


• Engagement with data from senior, strategic and business leadership. 

• Strategy, responsibility, oversight, investment. 


• Attitudes to data across the organisation. 

• Awareness, openness, security, responsibility. 


• Systems and tools for storing, sharing, and using data. 


• Data and analytical literacy across the organisation. 

• Providing development opportunities.

The topics covered for each themes above

The maturity levels in the framework are

Level 1: Beginning
Level 2: Emerging
Level 3: Learning
Level 4: Developing
Level 5: Mastering


Saturday 15 July 2023

Microsoft Purview metadata annotations

Describing metadata in Microsoft Purview  Microsoft learn article discusses there is no one right way to add context to managed attributes, business terms, and business assets.


Tags are simple keywords or phrases applied to data assets to provide informal understanding to the metadata. Use tags when you want to quickly label your data assets without the need for consistency or control.

Managed attributes

Managed attributes are key-value pairs that add structured metadata into your data catalog. Use managed attributes to extend the fields available for an asset in Purview.

Business terms

Glossaries of terms help bridge the communication gap between teams. They help with taxonomies, understanding the synonyms, acronyms and related terms.  Use business terms to define a shared vocabulary for your organization. 

Business assets

Extend Purview's metamodel by creating additional asset types for describing real-world things in your organization such as departments, projects, products, and lines of business. Use business assets whenever you want to associate data assets to specific organizational structures, business processes, or other anything else that could be convincingly modelled as an entity.

Thursday 13 July 2023

Reimagine secure access with Microsoft Entra

Microsoft have made changes to the future of secure access to enable trust in real time, for any resource from anywhere. A part of this change is is the renaming of Azure AD to become Microsoft Entra ID. More details at aka.ms/rename

There a 2 new products in public preview, Internet Access and Private Access.

Microsoft Entra Private Access is used to enhance security through granular app segmentation and the path looks like this. 

There are 3 tool categories identity & access management, new identity categories and network access categories.

The product naming change looks like this

Microsoft Entra ID has the same pricing, licensing and same capabilities.

A summary of the digital event news

Friday 7 July 2023

Microsoft Data Platform Most Valuable Professional 2023

Really excited, honoured and humbled to have received the Microsoft Data Platform Most Valuable Professional (MVP)  award for a 6th year.  

This year there are Credly badges. It says 'The Microsoft MVP Program recognizes outstanding members of technical communities for their community participation and willingness to help others. Above all else, it is a people-powered program, made up of individuals whose passionate commitment to innovation has made its dynamic growth possible. Skills: Community. Leadership . Technology'

Being a part of a technical community is an amazing thing and being able to help the community grow is what  makes my day. Thank you Microsoft for the recognition.

Saturday 1 July 2023

DARA Data & AI Readiness App

I came across this really useful app looking at whether your organisation is AI ready, built on generative AI techniques.  DARA is a unique, free-to-consume consulting solution designed to help enterprises accurately baseline their data and AI readiness, visually compare their position against an industry index, and lay the path to further nurture their digital transformation journey.

The key features are

  • In-Depth Self-Assessment
  • Baseline Your Organisation's Readiness based on Culture, Ideation, Delivery, Impact and Trust using a Likert scale measure
  • Cross Analysis of Teams
  • Peer Analysis Within Your Industry

The  5 point readiness scale measures are foundational, active, operational, embedded and transformational.