Microsoft rolls out new cloud tool for analyzing business data

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:) announced on Monday a new service aimed at helping large businesses put to use the huge amounts of data stored in corporate systems.

The Azure Synapse system, to be unveiled at an event in Florida, is part of the company’s fast-growing cloud computing unit, which has driven the company’s shares up over the past five years. The tool is meant to help companies build out systems that analyze large amounts of data to make better business decisions, such as whether a digital marketing campaign is driving more traffic to stores and websites.

The Synapse aims to solve two problems for businesses building those systems, Rohan Kumar, the corporate vice president of Azure Data, told Reuters in an interview.

The first is that businesses need different software tools to analyze data held in systems like customer databases – where names and addresses sit in neat rows and columns and look like a spreadsheet – versus newer systems like website monitoring tools, where clicks are recorded as a long stream of numbers and time stamps. The Synapse tool is designed to handle both kinds of data, he said.

Second, the Synapse system automatically handles some of the tasks for building out a system to analyze data, reducing the amount of work needed from computer programmers. Deutsch Bank and Unilever (LON:) are among the customers testing the system, Microsoft said.

“What we’re seeing with our customers is these projects that would typically take multiple months are now getting completed within a day,” Kumar said.

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