What I am most excited for in 2023 after Ignite 2022Alex Fields
Earlier this month, Microsoft held their annual Ignite conference, and shared several big announcements. There are plenty of blogs and podcasts out there which have summarized some of the highlights, and of course we have Microsoft’s own Book of News, too. I won’t bore you with another re-hash like that.
Instead, I just want to talk about one announcement in particular that has piqued my interest, especially for the SMB space. The product? Microsoft Syntex. What, never heard of it? I don’t blame you. Or, if you have heard of it, did you assume this was just going to be one of those “Enterprise things?” That was my first reaction: “Content A.I.,” they called it. A fancy set of Machine Learning algorithms that will help you to better organize and categorize data, or at least that’s what I thought.
It turns out that Microsoft Syntex is going to be an umbrella that houses all kinds of interesting capabilities, some of which will be of particular interest to the SMB.
I encourage you to check out some of the content from Ignite: go see demos on some of these features for yourself. For example, content assembly, summarization of documents, translation of documents, etc. We also have native eSignature capabilities to look forward to! Yes, I know we have long had the ability to integrate with third-party clouds such as Adobe or Docusign to accomplish these tasks, but having the ability to natively collect signatures right in the Microsoft cloud (so that it never leaves your tenant) has certain benefits, too.
Next, I want to draw your attention to Backup and restore, as well as Archiving (coming 2023). Finally: we will have a native solution for handling backup and restore of data! I assume this will cover single item restores as well as an entire mailbox or document library. I am excited to see if this service can displace the third-party solutions that we service providers have been stapling on to date.
The Archiving piece is especially interesting to me, because this is going to involve a “cold storage” option that is (supposed to be) extremely cheap. This means old content can be preserved and kept available, but access times may be a bit slower (as content needs to “warm-up” or rehydrate before it is fully accessible again). This was sorely needed, as I have blogged before about the expensiveness of SharePoint storage, especially for the SMB, where we lack the volume in terms of seats to obtain decent capacity in the Microsoft cloud (1 TB per tenant plus 10 GB/user).
There are still some question marks around how much Syntex is going to cost, but I have reason to be optimistic: Microsoft announced that this service will be available on a “Pay-as-you-go” basis. In other words, you pay for the features/services you consume or use, but not the ones you don’t. Therefore, if you have no desire to use content assembly, but you still want to turn on the archive features, you could do so, and not worry about getting charged for the features you aren’t using.
As well, since it is a usage-based model, we expect SMBs to pay less in order to process less data. Whereas an Enterprise organization could have thousands of requests per day against Syntex capabilities, in the SMB we should see a fraction of that. So, we could be talking pennies or dollars, vs. hundreds or thousands of dollars.
If you like me, and are similarly interested in learning more about Microsoft Syntex, I encourage you to check out the following from Microsoft:
- Introducing Microsoft Syntex – Content AI for the Microsoft Cloud
P.S. – You have probably noticed it has been quiet around this blog for a bit: yes, that is true. I am working on some big updates to my publications and will have more to share about that soon. Stay tuned!