Industrial tech group unites data from five global divisions with Azure Data Lake Storage

UK-based Smiths Group is an industrial technology business with around 22,000 employees worldwide and customers across approximately 200 countries and territories. Following over a century of organic and acquisitive growth (including buying companies with their own applications and data storage), Smiths Group sought a solution to unify its business data.

Ultimately, the group opted for a solution utilising Azure Data Lake Storage and Azure Databricks, along with Power BI. This centralised visibility has enabled the group to become a data-driven business with strategic decisions powered by data insights.

Smiths Group engineers many of the products people use in daily modern life. The company operates across 50 countries, with five business divisions. Pre-migration, these divisions each utilised different data storage and applications, bringing the total number of applications across the group to 800. This often meant that data had to be manually extracted from numerous sources in order to, for example, produce reports.

In 2018, the group met with Microsoft to plan out its migration, opting to consolidate its data using Microsoft Azure Data Lake Storage, using Velocity and Azure Data Factory to ingest the data. The company then used Azure Databricks to process, transform and structure data into a usable format.

The data then went into Microsoft Power BI, which is utilised for reporting and analytics. Power BI significantly cuts the time taken to produce reports, whilst simultaneously erasing the kind of errors that can arise from manual reporting. This enables employees to quickly view data, while refocusing the bulk of their time on strategic tasks.

Smiths Group Senior Enterprise and Security Architect Minesh Bhudia commented: “By moving to Azure and Power BI, we’re getting better accuracy in our data. Becoming more data driven doesn’t just mean creating reports—it means doing it more consistently every time.”

Ultimately, this approach gives different divisions and Smiths Group leaders better access to insights, enabling the company to make informed, strategic decisions which will help to increase revenue and minimise risks, whilst also reducing costs.

(Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/0jTZTMyGym8)

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