What is Azure Synapse Analytics and how it differs from Data Factory

Challenges and innovations in the IT world on Advanced Technology Days

Advanced Technology Days was held in Zagreb for the 17th time! The conference has become a traditional gathering of IT enthusiasts in the SEE region with an emphasis on new technologies and innovations in the field. This year Unitfly had two presenters: our COO talked about Azure Synapse Analytics, an Azure platform that combines enterprise data warehouse and big data analytics to ensure centralized management of data lakes and warehouses. Seemingly opposite, our Software Engineer Dino Grgic presented the challenges of OCR, which you can read here.

COO Alan Debijadi / Unitfly

We will now get in-depth into Azure Synapse Analytics.

Bulking up with Azure Synapse Analytics

Azure Synapse Analytics is an enterprise analytics service that offers a more efficient way to gain insights across data warehouses and big data systems. It offers the key features of multiple solutions: ETL from data warehouses, big data analytics, and reporting, as well as visualization (achieved by accessing Power BI within the service).

Difference between Synapse Analytics and Data Factory

Azure Synapse Analytics can help you turn big, unstructured data into actionable insights, while Data Factory ensures numerous integrations without the use of code. The main difference between the two services is that Synapse Analytics is an analytics service, and Data Factory is a hybrid data integration service that simplifies the ETL at scale. Data Factory offers the integration of different data sources, but Synapse Analytics serves as a platform from which you can manage, prepare and serve data for BI and Machine Learning purposes with reporting capabilities.

Azure Data Factory offers features such as:

  • real-time integration
  • parallel processing
  • data chunker

On the other hand, Azure Synapse provides:

  • Complete T-SQL-based analytics
  • deeply integrated Apache Spark
  • hybrid data integration

What does Azure Synapse Analytics do?

Ingest – all functionalities of Data Factory and more

Synapse Analytics offers all the possibilities of Data Factory such as the integration of different data sources, but with added functionalities of monitoring, management, alerting, and security in one place.

Explore and analyze – using Synapse SQL

Synapse SQL combines distributed query processing capabilities with Azure Storage to achieve high performance and scalability, offering serverless and dedicated resource models.

Serverless SQL pool

Serverless SQL pool is a query service over the data in your data lake. It enables you to access your data through these functionalities:

  • a familiar T-SQL syntax to query data in place without the need to copy or load data into a specialized store
  • integrated connectivity via the T-SQL interface that offers a wide range of business intelligence and ad-hoc querying tools, including the most popular drivers

Dedicated SQL pool (formerly SQL DW)

Dedicated SQL pool (formerly SQL DW) is a collection of analytic resources that are provisioned when using Synapse SQL. The size of a dedicated SQL pool is determined by Data Warehousing Units (DWU).

The analysis results can go to worldwide reporting databases or applications. Business analysts can then gain insights to make well-informed business decisions.

The other available services are Apache Spark and Data Explorer (still in preview).


The main appeal of Synapse Analytics lies in the ability to do everything in one place. Thanks to the native integration with Power BI, data can be instantly visualized in the platform.


Azure Synapse Analytics offers a way to have the whole end-to-end process in one place, from managing, preparing, and serving data for BI and machine learning purposes. Without the need to include additional platforms to import data from different sources, it positions itself as a must-have solution for data engineers.

M-Files Recognized as Visionary in 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms

M-Files has been named a visionary platform in 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for content services platforms. In comparison with 18 vendors, M-Files was positioned furthest for completeness of vision.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services
Source: Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, gartner.com

This is a validation of the company’s unique approach to managing content, connecting knowledge workers with the content they need, when they need it, regardless of where it is stored, to drive more informed decision making.

“M-Files continues to set the standard for a smarter way to work through our innovative information management solutions. We are proud to be recognized as a Visionary in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms and to be positioned furthest for completeness of vision,” said Antti Nivala, founder and CEO, M-Files. “We feel this year’s placement, including our positioning for ability to execute, reflects our commitment to continuous innovation and highlights the unmatched capabilities we offer to support the digital client experience.”

M-Files provides a modern approach to information management that addresses the problem of disconnected data silos. Its platform increases the productivity of knowledge workers by providing powerful tools for search, content lifecycle management, and automated workflows that enable business continuity and reduce risk with enforced governance.

At the core of M-Files is AI, which is pervasive throughout the entire platform. AI enables the platform to put content into context, improving visibility, security and processing of information. With better insights and control over information across systems and repositories, M-Files helps organizations drive digital transformation and improve customer experience.

The platforms enables optimal collaboration without data duplication and integrates with common applications such as Microsoft 365 application suite, Google Workspace and Salesforce, offering access in the user interface with which they prefer to work. New enhancements to the M-Files platform, along with the company’s April 2021 acquisition of Hubshare, bolstered external content sharing and collaboration. With Hubshare, M-Files delivers a secure information exchange platform with branded and customizable client portals, heightening the digital client experience. User and client engagement is enhanced through collaborative working, secure file sharing and project management.

In addition, 90 percent of respondents would recommend M-Files as a Content Services Platform, as of October 19, 2021, based on 71 reviews on Gartner Peer Insights over the past twelve months.

  • “M-Files Is The Best. What an application it is, the power of this application belongs to its features and support services, M-Files allows us to access the data from anywhere, handles metadata. It’s really awesome application to have.” – Senior Software Engineer, Services [read full review]
  • “Excellent Tool For File Management. Simple And Easy To Use. Best product for managing Files. Provides good security to our system. Data will be classified and managed easily. User interface is simple and easy to navigate.” – CIO, Services [read full review]
  • “M-Files Is Very Powerful And Easy To Use Tool For Content Management. Working with company experts has been exceptionally efficient and smooth. We have enjoyed the modern classification methods. Metadata based application seems to be only possible way to provide good user experience for several thousand users around the globe with very different roles and needs.” – IT Platform Manager, Manufacturing [read full review]
  • “Records Management Done Right! From the first time I saw a demonstration of M‑Files, I was blown away. M‑Files makes Content / Records Management look easy. From the decision to implement M‑Files within our business to going live with our first project was an enjoyable & successful journey. The roll out and transition from our historical EDRMS to M‑Files was seamless and our feedback of M‑Files is extremely positive.” – National Records & System Manager, Construction [read full review]

Click here to download a complimentary copy of the report: Gartner 2021 Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s Research & Advisory organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

– Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences, and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

GARTNER and MAGIC QUADRANT are registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

About M-Files Corporation

M-Files’ AI-powered intelligent information management solution connects all documents and information, across every platform and repository, then analyzes them to place them in context. This makes it possible to serve up the right information to the right people right when they need it—and automate information-driven business processes—while maintaining complete control and compliance. Thousands of organizations in more than 100 countries (including NBC Universal, OMV, SAS Institute, and ThyssenKrupp) use M-Files to manage their business information and processes—and give their employees A Smarter Way to Work. For more information, visit, www.m-files.com.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/press-release-en/m-files-named-a-visionary-in-2021-gartner-magic-quadrant-for-content-services-platforms

M-Files leads Nucleus Research Content report for the eighth year in a row

M-Files has been recognized as a leader in Nucleus Research Content Services and Collaboration Value Matrix for the eight consecutive year!

Today’s work from anywhere world needs a platform that will offer easy access to data from anywhere, anytime and any device, while keeping the information secure and centralized. All of that can be found in the intelligent information management platform M-Files. And here’s the proof.

nucleus value matrix CSC 2021
Nucleus Research Content Management and Collaboration (document number: V 111 July 2021)

The shift to remote and hybrid work structures emphasized the need for organizations to digitalize, as well as modernize their collaboration and content management to maximize the productivity and efficiency of their business. Because of the shift that happened during the past year, customers now expect a wide range of functionalities and a platform that can integrate with their existing business systems.

In order to meet the demands of the customers during the pandemic, content management vendors are investing in:

  • collaboration
  • workflow automation
  • security

Out of 15 vendors Nucleus considered, M-Files has established as a leader in terms of usability and functionality for the eight year in a row. This is a proof of the company’s visionary approach that gives organizations the opportunity to leverage their resources in a smarter way and enables their workers to access and use content more easily and productively.

How to Make a Great Solution with an Agile Approach

Choose the Right Content Management System (CMS)

M-Files recognized for its modern approach to information management

The platform increases the productivity of knowledge workers by providing powerful tools for search, content lifecycle management, and automated workflows that enable business continuity and reduce risk with enforced governance.

“The company’s diverse, flexible set of world-class AI technologies, metadata-driven approach, and ability to provide meaningful context sets the standard for content services and collaboration solutions moving forward. M-Files’ strategic product advancements over the past year reaffirm the platform’s unique attributes and distinction in the marketplace.”

Barbara Peck, chief research analyst, Nucleus Research

As official M-Files reseller and certified application partner, we are proud to offer the best technology out there to our customers.

New features in 2021

With the new M-Files Web, a redesigned user interface, M-Files aims to help the end-users adapt to the solution more quickly. The platform has introduced a new cloud infrastructure based on Microsoft Azure Service Fabric architecture. As a result, customers are able to gain fuller control of their solution. In addition, M-Files expands electronic signature options with integration with Adobe Sign.

All of that suggests a continuous development of the platform to meet the demands and need of the customers in the post-pandemic information management.

Download the full report here: https://resources.m-files.com/industry-reports/nucleus-research-content-services-collaboration-technology-value-matrix-2021-m-files-leader

[IDEAS TO IMPACT] Fuji Judo Club – Sport Inclusion for People with Disabilities

We’ve started a series of talks, and blog posts – Ideas to Impact. This is our way of reminding ourselves of the different perspectives and paths in life. Having people of diverse backgrounds talk about their life, work and ideas, forces us to let go of our usual mindset and open ourselves to a shift of perspective. The purpose of Ideas to Impact is to share the diverse paths each of us can take. To share ideas that change the way we perceive the world around us. In listening to others’ stories and challenges, we are growing as individuals and as a company. We hope it will do the same for you.

On Friday, our Unitfly office was filled with inspiring thoughts, after a presentation delivered by Marina Drašković, a judo coach and founder of Fuji – the first judo club for people with disabilities in Croatia. She has a black belt in judo, has travelled all over the world and trained with the best of the best. Yet, she considers founding Fuji Judo Club the biggest achievement in her life.

People stand for a picture
Marina from Fuji Judo Club for People with Disabilities with Unitfly team

When you are a child with a dream of going to the Olympics, you put all the efforts into that and practice two times a day. At least that’s how it was for Marina. “You’re setting goals and constantly looking forward, living in the future. But when things don’t work out as expected, you end up disappointed. It took a long time for me to finally stop living in the future, slow down and concentrate on the present.”

After letting go of the dream of being a professional athlete, Marina realized success is a subjective thing. For her, it’s about helping kids with disabilities overcome their obstacles.

Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.

Since an injury and lack of financing prevented her from accomplishing her dream of going to the Olympics, she majored in Economics. After a long search for a job in the field, she turned to what she knew best – judo. She started teaching kids in the local judo club, Pinky. Even though she didn’t have any experience with disabilities, the idea of helping disabled children engage in sports came to her mind. She got into contact with a coach who was organizing aikido classes for kids with disabilities and invited her to participate.

Knowing nothing about disabilities the children had, she started researching different conditions, studying and adapting the techniques for each child. Since then, she has completed a training program for a leader for sports activities for children with disabilities, the same program for judo coaches and a program for physiotherapeutic technician.

Fuji Judo Club for people with disabilities
photo by Igor Kolarec

“After one judo session, I felt like I just gave them a million dollars.”

The first practice was a turning point. “At the end of the class, two girls with cerebral palsy hugged me for 15 minutes straight, thanking me for teaching them. I’ve never felt this kind of gratitude, my whole value system changed instantly”, Marina tells us.

From 2012, when she founded her association, until today, she holds practices for 40 kids, in five groups; kids with cerebral palsy and motor disabilities, Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities, kids from the Centre for Education of Children and Youth, kids with motor and intellectual disabilities, and girls with motor and intellectual disabilities.

All the groups are divided according to the needs and possibilities of each child. “Creativity is the most important skill here”, Marina continues. “You have to adapt each technique reflective of their disabilities and needs. It’s a matter of trial and error.” In her efforts, she has help from coaches, physiotherapists, and experts.

“By creating friendships, we live inclusion.”

The kids with disabilities can count on, not only the help of adults, but also their peers from Judo Club Pinky. Marina has created an encouraging, supportive space where children can train without stereotypes and judgement. That kind of environment results in breaking their psychological barriers. It gives them self-esteem and the opportunity to see themselves as athletes. This kind of integration breaks the societal prejudice, and helps children see beyond their disabilities. They spend time together with kids without difficulties, go to concerts, theatre, even weekend trips – for some, the first time without their parents.

Fuji Judo Club for people with disabilities
photo by Igor Kolarec

Judo teaches them a healthy view of life. It helps them open up, socialize and develop skills needed for a quality life. On the other hand, children without disabilities develop sensibility society desperately needs, and learn to treat children with difficulties as their equals.

Marina’s judo club is completely free, running entirely off donations. “These parents have enough expenses with medical bills”, Marina emphasizes. “It is challenging but working with these kids is rewarding in itself.”

With initiatives like this, encouraging inclusion from the youngest age, we are helping in eliminating stereotypes and prejudice in the society. Marina is an example of a person who listened and recognized the need for society to change. And she took it into her own hands. We see an extraordinary woman fulfilling her vision and making a change. It’s on us to support her, share her story. So that one day, inclusion can become a norm.

More about the club and the positive change they make

If you wish to support their efforts, check out this fundraiser “800 km of Happiness” and raise money for sport inclusion for people with disabilities. They are making the 820 km trip biking and running to ensure all activities remain free for all club members in 2022.