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MS Syntex: bringing dark data into the light

Posted by Chris McQueen on Dec 14, 2023 12:00:00 AM
MS Syntex: bringing dark data into the light - Business IT Sheffield

Please note: This post was written by Highlander prior to their rebrand to FluidOne Business IT - Sheffield.

With data volumes growing exponentially, organisations are struggling to manage ‘dark data’ – data assets that are unknown, untapped, and underutilised. Dark data is generated by users’ daily interactions with devices and systems. Previously, businesses considered this data either too incomplete, redundant, or limited by a format to be valuable. Many didn’t even know it existed. 

Identifying and illuminating dark data is becoming critical for getting the most value from information such as: 

  • Files stored on employee desktops, shared drives, and email attachments. 
  • Data in legacy systems and databases. 
  • Log data, sensor data, and other operational data. 
  • Backups and archives. 
  • Information in external drives, shared folders, etc.

Over the last few years, dark data has increased exponentially with the arrival of Microsoft Teams and the prevalence of home working. Increased flexibility, ease and independence of processes has led to the often indiscriminate setup of new channels, file repositories and SharePoint sites which spread data far and wide. And as a result, it’s become more challenging for businesses to access, protect and get value from all their data. 

One solution is Microsoft Syntex, a cloud-based service that leverages AI and machine learning to automate content processing and data classification – including dark data. It aims to improve how data is gathered, stored and organised as part of everyday processes, helping businesses to manage their growing content repositories, ensure compliance and make better use of data while removing the burden of repetitive tasks.  

Key capabilities of Microsoft Syntex include: 

Document Understanding

Syntex uses advanced optical character recognition and natural language processing to extract text, tables, and structure from documents. This data can then be indexed and searched. It understands document types including receipts, contracts and forms, and it can classify documents based on their content as well as extracting metadata. This automates manual data entry and tagging. 

Data Categorisation

Syntex analyses documents and classifies them into categories. It can identify categories specific to an industry or business function based on labeled examples. This improves the discoverability of information. Syntex can also extract entities like product names, addresses, and contact details from documents and classify them for downstream processes. 

Document Processing Automation

Once documents are understood and classified, rules and workflows in Syntex can automate content-centric processes. For example, invoice processing can be automated by extracting supplier details, purchase order IDs, line items, taxes and totals. Approval workflows reduce manual processing. 

Machine Teaching

Syntex allows subject matter experts to teach the service to recognise patterns using an easy point-and-click interface. No coding is required. This improves Syntex’s categorisation accuracy over time. Users can also validate results to continuously improve the AI. 


Syntex provides over 200 connectors to integrate with popular data sources and services. This allows action to be taken on classified content – like automatically adding documents to databases or triggering flows. APIs also allow Syntex to integrate with custom applications. 

What else?

Ultimately, Microsoft Syntex’s biggest appeal lies in the way it removes user overhead and completes BAU tasks in the background. Combining the power of AI with productivity tools such as Microsoft 365 and SharePoint, it automates content processing and classification, helping businesses gain more value from their data while optimising processes. 

Syntex represents a new class of AI-driven document and data management solutions that seek to augment human productivity. Systematically revealing business data, dark or otherwise, enables better data management, and unlocks more value from existing information assets. By combining automation with crowdsourced curation from those closest to the information, businesses are better able to shine a light on the data they possess.  

If you’d like to know more about MS Syntex and how it can help uncover insights from your data, our team of Microsoft experts is ready to advise. Get in touch today.

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