SharePoint Syntex, a missed opportunity?

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Microsoft recently announced SharePoint Syntex, the first commercial product that results from project Cortex of Microsoft. “SharePoint Syntex uses advanced AI and machine teaching to amplify human expertise, automate content processing, and transform content into knowledge.“. Sounds impressive. But is not the first time we here this from Microsoft. Almost every year Microsoft announces a similar promise related to Search: “This time we are going to do it right.”. Until now however they haven’t delivered. Will they succeeed this time? We see a number of missed opportunities.

First of all: SharePoint Syntex will be an additional paying option available to Microsoft 365 customers with E3 or E5 licenses. It doesn’t come for free.

Secondly it is said that “SharePoint Syntex delivers some of the foundational artificial intelligence and machine-learning (ML) services that will help information managers understand, process, and tag content automatically.” This means that SharePoint Syntex is not a product that you can use ‘out of the box’. It will take some (substantial?) efforts to make it work for your organization. This is also confirmed by the fact that Microsoft has set up a separate set of services to be delivered by selected partners. Microsoft is proud of the fact that for each dollar of licencing they sell, the partners can earn multiple dollars. And who is paying the partners? Right: you. Again: it doesn’t come for free.

But we also see a missed opportunity in what SharePoint Syntex is offering and how it works. SharePoint Syntex is anounced to handle¬†automated content tagging. To us, that sounds like automating something you don’t need at all. A we argues in earlier posts, tagging documents is expensive, error prone and not future-proof. Tagging has been used for years by all major search engines to improve the search results from underperforming search engines. It is strange to see that so much effort goes to something that can be avoided.

In stead of adding a tagging mechanism to improve search results, why not putting all that effort in improving the search engine itself in the first place?

Alexandria.Works offers an alternative to this. Alexandria.Works is that alternative Enterprise Search Engine that works fundamentally different from other search engines, inluding SharePoint Syntex. Alexandria.Works reads texts, builds an index, and lets you search. As simple as that. No taxonomies, no tagging. You don’t have to do the work, Alexandria.Works does all the work for you.

If you want to understand how it works, download our White Paper on Enterprise Search.

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