Everything you need to know about Microsoft SharePoint Premium
By 2025, there will be 130 billion terabytes of content, ranging from contracts and invoices to designs and videos.
However, large amounts of content and manual processing lead to decreased productivity, missed opportunities, and higher operating costs.
To organize and manage this volume of content, it is essential to automate classification and processing. At the Microsoft Ignite 2023 conference, Microsoft introduced Microsoft SharePoint Premium, an artificial intelligence platform to transform your content experiences in the cloud. SharePoint Premium is the evolution of Microsoft Syntex.
In our article, discover how AI enables content intelligence, optimizes critical business processes, enhances governance, and prepares your content for Copilot.
What is SharePoint?
SharePoint Until Today
Before unveiling the advanced features of SharePoint Premium, let's explore the fundamentals of this platform.
SharePoint is a collaboration and content management platform developed by Microsoft. Available since 2001, it is primarily used by businesses. It provides a set of services that enable organizations to efficiently share and manage documents, information, and ideas within the organization.
SharePoint allows the creation of intranet websites to facilitate collaboration within teams, document storage and management, as well as version tracking. The platform also offers advanced features such as forums, forms, workflows, and business analytics.
There are two types of products:
- SharePoint Online: the SaaS version of the product, hosted in Microsoft data centers and maintained by Microsoft.
- SharePoint Server: the classic server version to be installed on server farms.
In summary, SharePoint empowers you to collaborate, inform, and distribute with dynamic sites, personalized news, and secure file sharing.
Collaborate: Empower teams with dynamic sites in Microsoft Teams. Sync and securely share files, data, and resources.
Inform: Publish information and resources on your intranet. Tell your story with attractive custom sites and targeted, personalized news.
Distribute: Access, manage, and store collaborative and transactional content on the flexible, large-scale cloud platform integrated with Microsoft 365.
SharePoint Premium introduces innovative approaches to interact with your high-value content, managing and securing it throughout its lifecycle. It also contributes to optimizing content value by ensuring its security and providing a proper structure, preparing it for Copilot for Microsoft 365, the revolutionary AI assistant redefining productivity.
Content Experiences and Solutions:
Enhance employee productivity, improve business processes by keeping content up-to-date, encourage discovery, and collaborate on various file types. Optimize critical business document processes such as contracts and invoices through AI, security, and workflows.
Organize your content to maximize its value using AI-guided automation for document creation, classification, and labeling, thereby preparing content for Copilot.
Proactively address issues of excessive sharing and content proliferation by managing the content lifecycle and controlling access with simple yet powerful tools.
The Content Experience
Content Management Systems must go beyond merely storing files. They should provide comprehensive solutions that can be utilized for any file throughout the lifecycle of your high-value documents.
Microsoft extends the power of Office collaboration to the integrated file viewer. With support for over 400 file types, you will soon be able to add annotations, comments, mentions, tasks, and much more to any supported file type, just as you do today for Office documents.
In the new Teams Business Documents application, you can collaborate on contracts, statements of work, orders, invoices, and much more. You also have the ability to view the complete list of important documents in a unified view. You will receive actionable insights, such as timely alerts for contracts that are expiring soon or require special attention.
You can create new contracts within Word using standard templates that leverage content assembly to fill in key details of new contracts. You can also compare a contract with related contracts using the new AI-driven rule deviation engine, highlighting changes that may require special attention or present risks. Once approved, contracts can be sent for signature using SharePoint eSignature. Information remains secure (within Microsoft 365): it does not leave your Tenant, and you can involve external parties to sign and approve the document.
You can upload large volumes of high-value documents, and the new AI-driven clause analyzer will automatically analyze and simplify high-risk contracts that require your attention along with identified risks.
You can also extend your content to external suppliers, vendors, and customers with the new Document Portal. The Document Portal allows you to set up an easily accessible external site, customized to your brand, enabling you to collaborate confidently with businesses or consumers on selected documents.
As part of Microsoft Syntex, Microsoft introduces new ways to leverage AI for classifying, tagging, and securing your documents, as well as creating new documents using automated templates for large-scale content creation.
SharePoint eSignature securely digitizes your document approval workflows. It will be generally available and rolled out in the first quarter of 2024, starting with Tenants in the United States. If your organization currently uses other eSignature services, Microsoft has announced that Adobe and DocuSign are launch partners for SharePoint eSignature. Third-party integration with Adobe Acrobat Sign and DocuSign will be generally available in early 2024.
Services such as document processing, content assembly, optical character recognition, image processing, and taxonomic tagging are all available under the Syntex brand and, from now on, will be part of SharePoint Premium.
The following new (pay-as-you-go) services for SharePoint Premium will be available by the end of December 2023:
Translation of files and Stream videos: Convert files and Stream video transcriptions into dozens of supported languages automatically and at scale. Microsoft has announced new translation services for Stream videos in SharePoint and a new AI-powered video enhancement feature that automatically removes pauses in recordings.
But there is even more to come in the first half of 2024:
- Auto-fill columns: Dynamically add a new column to a document library and use AI to automatically populate discovered values.
- PII (Personally Identifiable Information) detection: Flag files containing personally identifiable information such as addresses, phone numbers, credit card details, and more.
- Multilabel classifier: Run a single AI model to automatically define content type and determine the right model to apply for comprehensive data extraction and analysis.
- Find and remove visibility of certain sensitive information: Such as names, addresses, social security numbers, while viewing content.
Finally, Microsoft Graph APIs for SharePoint Premium are now available, allowing you to integrate document processing, content assembly, and related services into your custom applications.
All these services are accessible to all Microsoft 365 users without requiring an additional license, operating on a usage-based pricing model.
With more content coming from different services/departments, it is crucial to ensure that the right information is shared, and sensitive information is not inadvertently over-shared or exposed in search results or in Copilot.
Over-shared sites and content can lead to unauthorized access and operational risks for organizations. Information present in Data Access Governance can be valuable. Its reports provide an overview of potentially over-shared sites (filtering is done through sharing policy, sites connected to Teams, privacy, etc.). Sites with high-value business content can also be highlighted, as they often require stricter policies and reviews.
Reports are just part of the process. With SharePoint Premium, the IT team can trigger access reviews for potentially risky content, asking the owners of this content to review access, make necessary changes, and confirm that sites are shared appropriately.
For over-shared sites, you can enable the new Restricted Access Control policy by specifying security groups allowed to access them.
AI can transform not only productivity but also governance and administration. AI-driven policy recommendations can compare a set of site samples with well-managed access policies to other sites in the Tenant, semantically matching, and then recommend optimal access policies.
On the other hand, Content Event Insights allow you to find "interesting" moments in the content lifecycle, such as high-volume sharing or large download volumes.
In conclusion, the arrival of SharePoint Premium marks a significant step in the evolution of content management solutions within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Content processing services, such as document processing, eSignature, and PII detection, are already available under the Syntex brand, with a transition to SharePoint Premium planned in 2024, based on usage-based pricing for most Microsoft 365 plans.
New features such as the Business Documents application, Documents Hub, and the enhanced file viewer, as well as "SAM," will be available as licensed services you can add to Microsoft 365 plans, with pricing to be announced upon general availability in 2024.