The Power of Data and Analytics with Microsoft Azure

When Microsoft asked the world in its 1994 advertising campaign, “Where do you want to go today?” – anything felt possible. The question feels every bit as valid in the modern era, when we look at the opportunity of the Microsoft Azure platform and its data and analytics capabilities. Wherever your organisation wants to go, Azure has the potential to make it happen. For my recent JuiceIT session, I explored how just one business, Brewery3, could very easily use the Azure data and analytics functionality to improve its performance.1

Customer Service 

We’ll start with the customer service manager, who just received an alert that a customer posted an unfavourable tweet about the coffee in the Toowong store. Upon checking the Power BI dashboard on his mobile device, he finds that this is an ongoing issue in that location. Customers love the rich Brewery3 flavour in other stores, so what’s going on?

Staff suspect that a quality issue is affecting shipments to the store, but they have no evidence. Fortunately, the logistics team recently implemented IoT temperature sensors in the delivery trucks, and this can be monitored in real time on the Power BI dashboard. A quick look at the shipment currently in transit shows a temperature spike, and by using a date filter, Power BI confirms this was the case when previous complaints were made. Armed with this information, the customer service manager can explore different packaging and delivery options that preserve the quality of the coffee shop’s precious beans.

This was enabled by Power BI automating searching all tweets to the Brewery3 account, then using a telemetry device that is managed by the Azure IoT Hub, and feeds data in real time to Power BI. It is relatively simple and inexpensive to set up, and helps put a lid on those bad reviews.

Marketing Merit 

Imagine if the marketing team could turn low quality data into insights that allow them to target the best prospects. In the case of Brewery3, the marketing team has conducted a customer survey, and collected the results on a spreadsheet. The data quality is low, with multiple formats used in fields like date of birth and date of visit. The marketing team wants a more usable format, where they can gain some insight that will help them to improve results. No problem!

A data analyst cleans up the data, using data flows in Azure Synapse to create a more usable and consistent format, and to translate answers in other fields to simple yes, no, or maybe responses. The data is then ready within  Brewery3’s data warehouse. Once this is set up, subsequent survey data can be treated in an automated and standardised way, without the data analyst needing to repeat the exercise. Data analysts can now view and search the data, and create Power BI reports.

Now that the data is in Azure, it is effectively catalogued by Azure Purview, a unified data governance service. With a few clicks, it is possible to set up a machine learning model, going beyond demographics and preferences of customers surveyed to reveal deeper insights. In the case of Brewery3, the marketing team can learn the top indicators of why customers choose them over other coffee shops, and predict future outcomes, targeting their campaigns accordingly.

Innovation with Azure 

In our example, Brewery3 has an innovation group that is responsible for building the best possible customer experience. For the coffee afficionado, it is about far more than the physical product. When Brewery3 enrols customers into its loyalty program, it uses a webcam to capture an image of their face, and notes their coffee preference. Using this picture, it trains the Brewery3 model to recognise the customer when they enter any branch of the business. The information is displayed on a screen for the staff to read, so that on arrival, the customer is greeted by name and asked if they would like to order the lactose-free latte they chose on their previous visit. This is a way to apply off-the-shelf AI to make customers feel welcomed and understood, adding to the superior Brewery3 customer experience.

These are just a few examples of some quickly implemented uses of Azure data and analytics capabilities. With imagination and a little know-how, the possibilities for improved service, efficiency and customer experience are endless. 

Want to know where to get started, or how to get more from Azure? As Microsoft’s largest Australian business partner with the highest level of competency and an Azure Expert MSP certification, we’re happy to help you identify the potential for your unique situation. Contact our Azure data and analytics experts today.


  1. Brewery3 is a fictitious company to demonstrate real life scenarios.

Tags: Azure, JuiceIT, JuiceIT 2021, Microsoft Azure



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