At yesterday’s Accelerate your insights event in San Francisco, we heard from CEO Satya Nadella, COO Kevin Turner and CVP Quentin Clark about how building a data culture in your company is critical to success. By combining data-driven DNA with the right analytics tools, anyone can transform data into action.

Many companies, and many of our customers, are already experiencing the power of data - taking advantage of the fastest performance for their critical apps, and revealing insights from all their data, big and small.

Since SQL Server 2014 was released to manufacturing in April we’ve seen many stories featuring the new technical innovations in the product.  In-memory transaction processing (In-Memory OLTP), speeds up an already very fast experience by delivering speed improvement of typically up to 30x.  Korean entertainment giant CJ E&M is using In-Memory OLTP to attract more customers for its games by holding online giveaway events for digital accessories like character costumes and decorations soon after each game is released.   When it ran tests in an actual operational environment for one of its most popular games, the results were that SQL Server 2014 delivered 35-times-faster performance over the 2012 version in both batch requests per second and I/O throughput. 

SQL Server 2014 also delivers enhanced performance to data warehouse storage and query performance – NASDAQ OMX is using the In-Memory Columnstore for a particular system which handles billions of transactions per day, multiple petabytes of online data and has single tables with quintillions of records of business transactions.  They have seen storage reduced by 50% and some query times reduced from days to minutes. 

Lufthansa Systems is using the hybrid features of SQL 2014 to anticipate customer needs for high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions.  It has piloted the combined power of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure has led to even faster and fuller data recovery, reduced costs, and the potential for a vastly increased focus on customer service and solutions, compared with the company’s current solutions.

Growth in data volumes provides multiple challenges and opportunities.  For executives and researchers at Oslo University Hospital providing ease of access to data is important.  Using Power BI for Office 365, they can analyze data in hours rather than months, collaborate with colleagues around the country, and avoid traditional BI costs.  For Virginia Tech the data deluge presents challenges for researchers in the life sciences where new types of unstructured data types from gene sequencing machines are generating petabytes of data.  They are using the power of the cloud with Microsoft Azure HDInsight to not only analyzing data faster, but analyzing it more intelligently and which may in the future provide cures for cancer.  For The Royal Bank of Scotland handling multiple terabytes of data and an unprecedented level of query complexity more efficiently led them to use the power of the Analytics Platform System (formerly Parallel Data Warehouse).  As a result, it gained near-real-time insight into customers’ business needs as well as emerging economic trends, cut a typical four-hour query to less than 15 seconds, and simplified deployment. 

Whether you’ve already built a data culture in your organization, or if you’re new to exploring how you can turn insights into action, try the latest enhancements to these various technologies: SQL Server 2014, Power BI for Office 365, Microsoft Azure HDInsight, and the Microsoft Analytics Platform System.