SharePoint Syntex delivers AI-powered content management for Microsoft 365. We’re continuing to work with our customers and partners to make updates and improvements. Earlier this month, at Microsoft Inspire we shared news about how we’re helping partners deliver solutions for Microsoft 365, and how our customers are succeeding with our partners.
Knowledge is vital for employee experience – but water itself is essential to life. Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) provides water and sewage services to over 4.4 million people in the UK and aims to be the most innovative water company in the country.
Previously, NWL had some systems that were mobile, but obsolete.
“We had an experienced team member working in a rural area who used a very old van for transportation. The van was due for replacement, but he wouldn’t let us replace it. Eventually, the equipment team learned why. As he drove to different areas, he was drawing on the ceiling where mains and certain assets were.” - Craig Stanley, Productivity and Collaboration Consultant, Northumbrian Water Group
Using the power of AI, Northumbrian Water is teaching Syntex how to recognize specific drawings – including maps of infrastructure – so they can capture key information from the drawings, record it, and make it easier for experts across the organization to find. They’re projecting a return on their investment of £50 million over the next 3 years.
And with Microsoft Viva Topics, employees at NWL can now identify assets, construction projects, and even processes for the work they do, without leaving the applications they’re in or running a massive search query.
ClearPeople, a Preferred Partner in our Microsoft Content Services Partner Program has been with NWL and Microsoft on every step of their journey, helping NWL envision, pilot, and rollout SharePoint Syntex and Viva Topics to thousands of staff across the UK. ClearPeople builds their Atlas solution on top of Microsoft 365 to accelerate the transformation of NWL’s digital workplaces and employee experiences.
Syntex puts a spotlight on metadata. We are making it easier to use metadata in a new search box experience. Users licensed for Syntex will soon be able to select an icon in the search box that will unlock a metadata-based search experience in Syntex & SharePoint document libraries. In the first release, this search experience will have 5 fixed fields – keyword, people, name, type, and modified. We will continue to add functionality for even more advanced queries in the future.
Metadata search for Syntex libraries
This feature will start targeted release in August 2021.
Model publish & discovery
Trained models are only valuable if they’re used. To bring visibility to trained document understanding models and enable content owners to self-select and evaluate the model most useful for classifying their files or extracting specific information from them, we’re now empowering you to publish models more broadly – to a site or whole tenant. This makes them available for viewing and selection directly from the document library. You’ll also be able to evaluate several models against your content to aid in selecting the most appropriate one. This feature is being tracked on the Microsoft 365 public roadmap as roadmap ID 82065 and will start targeted release in August 2021.
Browse suggested and recommended Syntex models
Note: This feature includes a UX update to the current model details panel.
Upcoming changes to content type publishing
Content types organize related documents with common templates, metadata and handling rules, including SharePoint Syntex models. Organizations can create custom schemas for specific types of content, define templates, and then add them to lists and libraries, allowing users to consistently provide the desired metadata. This metadata consistency can then aid content discovery, content management, business processes, and more. Legacy SharePoint users are limited to legacy functionality for content types – i.e., they don’t get the AI modeling capabilities.
If you need specific content types across all sites, SharePoint also supports content type publishing, via the content type hub site, and the recently released content type gallery experience in the SharePoint admin center, to manage and publish those content types.
Currently, when you publish a content type from the content type gallery or content type hub site, to all sites across the organization by adding a copy of it to each site. There are also similar syncs running periodically to ensure that all desired changes to published content types propagate to each site in the organization.
As the numbers of content types and sites grow, this can slow down the legacy sync infrastructure, which sometimes leads to long wait times for changes to propagate and delays when many sites are created.
Further, because different content types are used in every site, there’s room for optimization. So, we’re planning to introduce changes to content type publishing that will improve sync performance and reliability and make content types available where they’re needed in a shorter amount of time.
Upcoming changes to legacy content type publishing
To address these issues and help optimize the syncing of published content types to sites and libraries, we’re switching to a usage-based ‘subscription’ model, effectively moving from a “push everywhere” to “pull as needed” approach. Users can select or pull content types directly from the hub while adding them to lists and libraries, and updates in the content type hub would be propagated just to where the content types are used.
To support this, we’re updating the recently released experience to add content types to lists and libraries (MC224244) to show all published content types directly from the content type hub, in addition to those already available on the site. When you select a published content type from the hub and add it to their library, the content type is synchronized to the site and added to the library. Unused content types will no longer consume synchronization resources. And changes and updates to content types are only synchronized to content types that are in use.
How are existing SharePoint content types affected?
The content type is an enterprise content type, published before this change, and is added to at least one list or library in the site – These content types will be considered in use, and published changes will continue to be synchronized periodically.
The content type is an enterprise content type, published before this change, but is not added to any list or library in the site – Because it was published before the change, an older version of the content type would be available at the site. However, any further changes published in the content type hub will not sync to the content type in the site unless it’s used in a library.
The content type is an enterprise content type, published after this change – Because this content type would be published after this change, no version of it would exist in the site, but it would be listed as an option to add to the list or library via the new experience to add content types.
The content type is a site content type created directly on the site – These content types will be unaffected by this change.
These changes will start to rollout to Targeted Release users in late July, and can be tracked on the Microsoft 365 Public Roadmap ID 70795.
Note: these changes are also being rolled out to SharePoint users.
Microsoft Graph & PnP
Additionally, there will be a new method (addCopyFromContentTypeHub) made available shortly on the Microsoft Graph API to allow for programmatic copying of published content types. You'll also be able to optionally copy the content type to a specified list. We’ll publish full details on the Graph API documentation closer to release.
Also, there is now a new PnP cmdlet (Add-PnPContentTypesFromContentTypeHub) that allows for programmatic addition of content types directly from the content type hub to the desired site. This method, available now, takes a list of content type IDs as its parameters. If the content type already exists, this cmdlet updates the site with the available updates from the content type hub.
We’re updating Syntex continuously, and we’ll share new features with you as they become available. To stay current on Knowledge and Content Services, and product updates, subscribe to the Microsoft Viva newsletter.