What’s next after Azure DataMarket?

Microsoft are retiring Azure DataMarket due to a lack of sustained customer interest in DataMarket. Why is that, and where do we go from here?

High Hopes

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Credit: Stocksnap.io

I hoped the Azure DataMarket might become a cloud-based Master Data Solution for people building data warehouses. So, for example, people would download a Geography dimension, or a Date Dimension, which was pretty robust and clean. Users could then change it to meet their needs, and it would form a ‘Master’ within their organisation. Your single version of the truth.

 

 

If your data is in silos, so is your analytics

Organisations don’t seem to consider Master Data Management very much. What is Master Data Management, anyway? Master data management (MDM) provides a trusted view of critical business entities, in data, which are stored, probably duplicated, in siloed applications – customers, suppliers, partners, products, materials, accounts, etc.
Master Data Management (MDM) solutions provide a simple and trusted view of your data to allow you to think horizontally about your data, across your business. This is in contrast with thinking vertically about your data, in data silos which usually match LOBs. Horizontal and vertical thinking helps achieve customer centric objectives and business results.

Wrong Problem, Wrong Audience

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Credit: Stocksnap.io

Why did Azure DataMarket fail? It seemed to be aimed primarily at IT people, not business people. Now, IT folks are usually pretty good at searching. A contact of mine bemoaned a Kibana implementation I’d done for his organisation, stating that I’d taken grep away from him and he’d worked so hard to teach everyone grep for the last two years and now it was all visual fluffy stuff. (Suck it up, princess. Kibana rocks and everyone is using it.).

Business people don’t rock grep, regex or any other greppy like tool. They want easy-to-use, easy-to-find solutions.

A Solution Looking for a Problem

Let’s hope Microsoft will do a DataMarket again, which aimed at the right business people to find things quickly. I don’t want something that is a solution looking for a problem.

The right problem: make search easy for the folks who need it most. Not for the IT folks, but the less well defined Information Worker who actually struggles with data. Let them access it very simply, and soon you’ll have Azure data being mashed with other data sources and it’s a step in the journey of getting users familiar with Azure.

And if we can get folks to think about proper Master Data Management based in the cloud, that’s easy to navigate, then that’s got to be a good thing.