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    Introduction to Microsoft SharePoint Syntex

    By Shiva Swarnakari
    Senior SharePoint Consultant

    According to Microsoft, SharePoint Syntex is a Microsoft 365 service that helps organizations to:

    • Use advanced AI and machine teaching to amplify human experiences.
    • Automate content processing.
    • Transform content into knowledge.

    SharePoint Syntex is an add-on service and powerful solution to take SharePoint to next level. To understand the advantages, we must first acknowledge the challenges of SharePoint.

    Let's start with a few of the issues that can arise while utilizing SharePoint as a content management system. For example, Smart IS as an organization that uses SharePoint as an enterprise content management system. Content classification is one of the most crucial aspects of enterprise content management. There are numerous forms of business documents that must be classified in an organization.

    Scenario 1: This document classification can be done using metadata and/or content types. However, when a document is being uploaded to a document library in SharePoint, user must select proper metadata or content type. As this type of classification requires human interaction, it is error prone. For example, when uploading a document related to a contract the metadata may be selected by default as an invoice. This leads to wrong classification of the content.

    Scenario 2: A document library contains all invoices for a particular month. If a sales manager wants to make plans for an upcoming month to improve sales, they want to taking inputs such as which state has maximum and minimum number of sales, or which week of a month’s revenue was the highest. SharePoint itself does not have out of the box functionality to consolidate those details from the uploaded documents for better visualizations.

    Scenario 3: If a document library exists, it should store all purchase orders, and any purchase order that exceeds a specified limit should be approved by the depart manager. In the past, we would create a metadata column for the total order value and provide the amount. While the purchase order was uploading a workflow would be triggered if the amount was greater than or equal to the specified amount. However, there was a human interaction required to achieve the functionality.

    Scenario 4: In an organization, certain documents need to be available for management only. In such scenarios, users may not give access to a proper group, which leads to security issues.

    In cases like the ones described above, users must devote time to content extraction, tagging, updating, among other things, rather than concentrating on their daily tasks. To keep employees more productive Microsoft introduced a new service called SharePoint Syntex.

    Why SharePoint Syntex instead of AI models?

    To automate this process, we could use a traditional AI learning model, which would need to contain a large set or fewer giga bites of content (i.e., documents, forms etc.). This model would understand the data provided. To do a single iteration it would take a couple of days to months. At the end of the AI model training if an error or issue is found again it would take more time to fix it and retrain. In contrast, SharePoint Syntex requires few documents forms to train model. This method would provide a more efficient process and allow for issues with the model to be quickly addressed.

    How SharePoint Syntex works

    SharePoint Syntex can be implemented within an organization to automatically classify document types, as well as get the required data from documents for a business process or store data for future uses. This can be implemented by creating content understanding models, which automatically classify documents. These models utilize AI builder and machine learning techniques in the backend to process forms and documents. To achieve these, we could use two types of models.

    • Form Processing Models
    • Document Understanding Models.

    SharePoint Syntex overview:

    This intelligent and new service is capable of:
    • Content Understanding
    • Content Processing
    • Content Compliance

    A function expert can easily teach the model how to extract required values from a document. For example, to extract details from a contract document, the expert can configure key terms like Client, Contractor, Contract Service etc. and some other conditions. Syntex will use this model to process documents and the data can be used as metadata of the document in a document library or this data can be saved to a list for further use.

    The extracted data can be used for a business process like contract renewal or some sort of approval. Also, the data can be used to apply security and be in line with compliance.


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