The Zeaware Team
March 11, 2024

Navigating the Data Platform Maze: Making the Right Choice for Your D365 Data

Working in data platform consulting, we often help customers plan their modern data platforms which includes helping to select the most suitable technology for their short and long term objectives. The challenge of selecting the right data platform for your needs is important, even when it seems there are also de-facto options, such as with Microsoft Dynamics D365.

However, whether it's the intricate operations data from Finance & Operations (F&O) or the dynamic customer interactions within Customer Engagement (CE), the platform you choose to house your data can significantly impact your reporting capabilities, business intelligence (BI) insights, and the journey towards harnessing the full potential of advanced analytics, ML, and AI. And there is an array of technologies which have the capability to provide a good outcome, including Microsoft SQL Server, Azure Synapse, Azure Databricks, and Microsoft Fabric. While each may present a compelling proposition on first look, it is important that do you navigate this maze to make an informed decision on selecting a platform that not only meets your current needs but also aligns with your future goals.

Understanding Your Data and Needs

Key considerations when selecting a data platform include:

  • Volume of Data: How much data are you dealing with? The scale of your data can significantly influence your platform choice, as some are better equipped to handle vast lakes of information than others.
  • Structured vs. Unstructured Data Sources: Is your data neatly organized in tables, or does it sprawl across various formats and sources? Recognizing the nature of your data is crucial, as certain platforms shine when dealing with the complexity of unstructured data.
  • Focus on Reporting and BI vs. Advanced Analytics Roadmap: Are you looking to illuminate your business with insightful reports and dashboards today, or are you setting the stage for predictive models and AI-driven strategies tomorrow? Understanding your focus can guide you towards a platform that aligns with your aspirations.

Considering Azure Synapse, Azure Databricks, SQL and Microsoft Fabric

Considering Azure Synapse, Azure Databricks, Microsoft Fabric, and Microsoft SQL Server, each platform brings unique strengths to the table in the realm of data management and analytics.

  • Azure Synapse is known for its powerful analytics service that merges big data processing with data warehousing, offering limitless analytics capabilities.
  • Azure Databricks stands out for its excellence in machine learning and big data analytics, providing a unified platform that streamlines complex analytics projects.
  • Microsoft Fabric represents a revolutionary approach by serving as a comprehensive, AI-infused analytics platform that not only simplifies the data landscape by unifying data management across clouds and Microsoft 365 applications but also empowers users with AI Copilot.
  • Microsoft SQL Server, a stalwart in the database management sphere, offers a reliable and secure environment for data storage, processing, and management, catering to a wide range of data types and applications.

Each of these platforms is tailored to meet different needs and objectives, from handling vast amounts of data and integrating various data sources to offering advanced analytics and AI capabilities.

However, the devil, as they say, is in the details—or in this case, the considerations.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Integration and Compatibility: How well will the platform play with your existing systems and data sources? A seamless integration can be the difference between a smooth sail and a turbulent voyage.
  • Data Ingestion: D365 exports data in a way that has its own peculiarities that need to be handled by the data platform. Data Lake Writer (deprecated), Synapse Link, CSV or Parquet, Fabric Link, incremental feed or full copy with updates. The method and frequency that data needs to be ingested is key.
  • Scalability: Can the platform grow as your data does? The digital universe is expanding, and so should your platform's capacity to handle it.
  • Cost: What are the implications of your choice on your budget, both now and in the future? A cost-effective solution today might not be so economical as your data and needs evolve.
  • Ease of Use: Is the platform user-friendly, or does it require a steep learning curve? The availability of skilled professionals to manage and leverage the platform is also a critical consideration.
  • Security and Compliance: In an age where data breaches are all too common, ensuring the security of your data and compliance with regulatory requirements cannot be overstated.

The Importance of Getting Advice and Making an Informed Decision

The data platform you choose today will lay the groundwork for your business intelligence and analytics strategy for years to come. It's a decision that merits careful consideration, thorough research, and consultation with experts. Understanding the full capabilities, limitations, and fit of each platform for your specific needs is paramount.


The right platform for your D365 data isn't just about meeting today's needs; it's about unlocking tomorrow's potential.

We invite you to delve deeper into your data platform journey, armed with the insights and considerations shared here. And when in doubt, seek out the advice of those who've navigated this maze before. Your data's future home awaits.

© 2024, Zeaware Pty Ltd or its affiliates. All rights reserved.