In this blog post, we will explore Microsoft SharePoint Syntex. We focus on the following questions: What is Microsoft SharePoint Syntex? What can it do? Is Microsoft SharePoint Syntex already available? What are the benefits of Microsoft SharePoint Syntex? And what are the benefits for lawyers?
In the last year, generative AI has been making headlines. (See, e.g., our articles on ChatGPT for lawyers, on Generative AI, and on the dangers of AI). Many software companies have started integrating generative AI into their products and services. Microsoft is no exception. Two of their new generative AI services stand out: CoPilot and SharePoint Syntex. This article is about SharePoint Syntex. Our next article will be about CoPilot.
What is Microsoft SharePoint Syntex?
So, what is Microsoft’s SharePoint Syntex? It is a new product that uses advanced AI and machine teaching to help you capture, manage, and reuse your content more effectively. As the name suggests, it is in essence an add-on feature for SharePoint. (Our blog also has an article on using SharePoint in law firms). Once it is installed, it can be used in some other programs as well. (See below).
Microsoft describes SharePoint Syntex as a content understanding, processing, and compliance service. It uses intelligent document processing, content artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced machine learning. This allows it to automatically and thoughtfully find, organize, and classify documents in your SharePoint libraries, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive for Business, and Exchange. With Syntex, you can automate your content-based processes—capturing the information in your law firm’s documents and transforming that information into working knowledge.
Syntex is the first product from Project Cortex. That is a Microsoft 365 initiative that aims to empower people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day.
What can it do?
Microsoft Syntex offers several services and features to help you enhance the value of your content, build content-centric apps, and manage content at scale. Some of the main services and features are:
Content assembly: You can automatically generate standard repetitive business documents, such as contracts, statements of work, service agreements, letters of consent, and correspondence. You can do all these tasks quicker, more consistently, and with fewer errors in Syntex. You create modern templates based on the documents you use most. You then use those templates to automatically generate new documents using SharePoint lists or user entries as a data source.
Prebuilt document processing: You can use a prebuilt model to save time processing and extracting information from contracts, invoices, or receipts. Prebuilt models are pretrained to recognize common documents and the structured information in the documents. Instead of having to create a new document processing model from scratch, you can use a prebuilt model to jumpstart your document project.
Structured and freeform document processing: You can use a structured model to automatically identify field and table values. It works best for structured or semi-structured documents, such as forms and invoices. You can use a freeform model to automatically extract information from unstructured and freeform documents, such as letters and contracts where the information can appear anywhere in the document. Both structured and freeform models use Microsoft Power Apps AI Builder to create and train models within Syntex.
Content AI: You can understand and gather content with AI-powered summarization, translation, auto-assembly, and annotations incorporated into Microsoft 365 and Teams.
Content apps: You can extend and develop content apps with high-volume containers, data, and rich APIs.
Content management: You can analyse and protect content through its lifecycle with AI powered security and compliance, backup/restore and advanced content management.
Is Microsoft SharePoint Syntex already available?
SharePoint Syntex was released on 1 October 2023, and is available in all countries where Microsoft 365 is offered. So, if you are a CICERO LawPack user, you can start using it already. But note that there are some differences in the availability of languages and pricing for SharePoint Syntex in Europe.
SharePoint Syntex supports 21 languages for document understanding models and 63 languages for form processing models. (The article in the Microsoft Tech Community on the availability, which is listed in the sources below, has the full list of supported languages). All languages in which Microsoft 365 is available in Europe are available for Syntex within Europe. This does not mean, however, that all languages are available in all regions. For example, some languages are only available in the US region, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Thai, and Vietnamese.
The pricing of SharePoint Syntex depends on the type of licensing and the number of transactions, as well as on the region and currency. There are two options for licensing: per-user and pay-as-you-go. Per-user licensing costs $5 per user per month in the US and allows unlimited usage of Syntex services. The price in EUR may differ depending on the exchange rate and local taxes. Pay-as-you-go licensing charges based on the total number of pages processed by Syntex, with different rates for unstructured, structured, and prebuilt document processing.
According to the Microsoft website, the price of SharePoint Syntex in Belgium is €7,90 per user per month for per-user licensing, and €0,04 per transaction for unstructured document processing, €0,01 per transaction for prebuilt document processing, and €0,04 per transaction for structured and freeform document processing for pay-as-you-go licensing. These prices do not include VAT and may vary depending on the currency exchange rate and the Azure subscription plan. You can find the exact price of SharePoint Syntex in your region and currency on the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Licensing page (listed below in the sources).
What are the benefits of Microsoft SharePoint Syntex?
Microsoft Syntex can help your law firm automate business processes, improve search accuracy, and manage compliance risk. With content AI services and capabilities, you can build content understanding and classification directly into the content management flow. Some of the benefits of using Microsoft Syntex are:
Increased productivity: Your law firm can save time and resources by automating repetitive tasks such as document generation, extraction, classification, tagging, indexing, summarization, translation, etc. You can also access your content faster and easier by using intelligent search capabilities that leverage metadata and AI insights.
Improved quality: You can reduce errors and inconsistencies by using standardized templates, prebuilt models, or custom models that suit your specific needs. You can also ensure that your content is accurate, relevant, and up to date by using AI-powered analytics and feedback mechanisms.
Enhanced security: You can protect your sensitive data by using AI-powered security and compliance features that help you identify risks, apply policies, enforce retention rules, monitor activity, audit changes, etc. You can also backup and restore your content in case of accidental deletion or corruption.
What are the benefits for lawyers?
For lawyers in particular, Microsoft Syntex can offer some additional benefits that can help them streamline their legal workflows, improve their client service, and reduce their liability exposure.
Faster contract review: Lawyers can use prebuilt or custom models to automatically extract key information from contracts such as parties, clauses, terms, dates, amounts, etc. They can also use content assembly to automatically generate contracts based on templates and data sources. This can help them speed up their contract review process, avoid missing important details or deadlines, and ensure consistency across their contracts.
Easier knowledge management: Your law firm can use content AI to automatically summarize, translate, annotate, tag, index their legal documents such as cases, opinions, briefs, memos etc. They can also use intelligent search to quickly find relevant information across their SharePoint libraries or Teams channels. This can help them manage their legal knowledge more effectively, access the information they need when they need it, and share it with their colleagues or clients.
Better compliance and risk management: It is possible to use content management to automatically apply security and compliance policies to their legal documents based on their sensitivity, confidentiality, or retention requirements. Lawyers can also use AI-powered analytics and monitoring to identify potential issues, conflicts, or breaches in their documents and take appropriate actions. This can help them comply with their ethical and legal obligations, protect their client’s interests, and reduce their liability exposure.