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Microsoft relaunches Syntex with broad set of AI-based content management tools

AI-based content management tools
AI-based content management tools by Microsoft

In order to rebrand the application as a combination of content apps, low-code tools, and services that employ AI to streamline how businesses deal with information, Microsoft has developed Microsoft Syntex.

Microsoft refers to this new technological area as “content AI.” Microsoft Syntex, which was previously known as SharePoint Syntex and was unveiled at the company’s Ignite conference on Wednesday, uses AI to automatically read, tag, and index large volumes of content. It then connects that content where it is needed in context and integrates services from across the Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365), Azure, Power Platform, and Microsoft Purview.

As processes have become increasingly digitized during the past 10 years or so, a growing number of businesses have moved all their documents into the cloud. Says that for Microsoft 365, that rate has grown tenfold over the last five years alone, with an average of 1.6 billion documents added to Microsoft 365 every day.

Jeff Teper, president of collaborative apps and platforms at Microsoft

While the promise of efficiency in a paperless society seemed attractive, the amount of information now being saved digitally has reached a critical mass, which means individuals are wasting valuable time looking through digital files to obtain the information they need. Additionally, it is estimated that businesses spend $46 billion annually managing and storing content that provides them with little benefit.

“It’s not to say you shouldn’t have lawyers review contracts, but if you can have the AI scan a 200-page contract and say: ‘These are the three clauses that changed from the boilerplate,’ that can dramatically save companies time and money,” 

Jeff Teper, president of collaborative apps and platforms at Microsoft

Syntex offers 11 core capabilities

Microsoft Syntex supports more than 300 different types of content and comprises 11 capabilities. These are:

  • Enhance: No-code AI that enhances your content to help you understand and structure information, simplifying your business workflows.
  • Document processing: Helps you understand, tag, and secure information, integrating AI from Microsoft Azure, AI Builder, and other Microsoft sources.
  • Summarization: Uses AI to generate summaries of content to distill key points, on demand.
  • Content assembly: Helps users automatically generate that document with templates and metadata using content assembly.
  • Images, audio, and video processing: Allows users to process and tag images with nearly 10,000 automatically recognized objects “out of the box” and extract text from images in SharePoint and Exchange using optical character recognition (OCR)
  • Connect: Helps users connect, discover and reuse content with AI-powered search
  • E-signature: One of the fastest growing type of content transactions is e-signature. You can send electronic signature requests using Syntex, Adobe Acrobat Sign, DocuSign or any of Microsoft’s other e-signature partner solutions.
  • Search: Builds on top of Microsoft Search to provide powerful ways to query, shape, and discover the content and data embedded in your files.
  • Annotation: Use annotations—like ink, notes, redactions, stamps, and comments—to any content without modifying the original files.
  • Content rules processor: The Syntex content processor lets you build simple rules to trigger the next action in a sequence of tasks, such as a transaction, alert, or workflow.
  • Accelerators and templates: Microsoft is providing a range of application  accelerators for common patterns and scenarios faced by organizations.

Rebranding SharePoint Syntex as Microsoft Syntex indicates that the new capabilities will play a broader role in Microsoft’s AI portfolio

Larry Cannell, senior director analyst at Gartner

Larry added that he is skeptical of Microsoft’s use of “content AI” to describe Syntex, as its description of this market looks a lot like what the industry has called content management for years.

“Nevertheless, if the value is there, Syntex will give Microsoft customers more choice in meeting their content processing needs,” Larry said.

Employing the use of low code and no code

Teper explained that the technology Microsoft uses for its so-called prebuilt AI models, which include optical character recognition or language translation, have become increasingly refined as part of Azure Cognitive Services. This has allowed Microsoft to take platform capabilities from elsewhere in its technology stack and build them into Syntex.

Microsoft has endeavoured to find patterns that allow consumers to handle their specific demands without developing any bespoke code, even if the corporation still provides APIs for seasoned engineers.

As a result, many of the features that make up Microsoft Syntex use low- and no-code techniques, allowing users with varying degrees of coding expertise to benefit the most from Microsoft Syntex.

Teper claims that because the system is based on Microsoft’s Power Platform, a collection of low-code tools for creating apps, workflows, AI bots, and data analytics, the coding capabilities will make it simple for users to design workflows and automate business processes in a way that is specific to their requirements.

“Success with this integration will be more dependent on Power Automate’s resiliency than Syntex’s ability to call a flow,” Gartner’s Cannell said, adding that although he is intrigued by Syntex’s integration with Power Automate, it’s still unclear if customers will embrace the use of a no-code solution built into their mainstream content processes.

Microsoft Syntex is available now, including document processing, annotation, content assembly, content query, accelerators and more. More services are coming to public preview later this year with the rest to follow in 2023.

Microsoft will also be introducing a consumption business model for Syntex, allowing customers to scale up the family of services to best suit their needs.

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