Microsoft Syntex drives knowledge creation for NWG
Many of us take the water that comes out of our taps for granted. We realise that the water originates from the environment and has been treated in some way, but we don’t give it more thought than that. The water industry has embraced many changes over the past few years and the industry leaders need to focus on innovation to cope with these changes. Northumbrian Water Group (“NWG”), via its largest subsidiary Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL), is one of the major water and sewerage companies in the UK and provides its services to over 4.2 million people in North and South East England. Over the past year, NWG has, with the assistance of Microsoft, explored the capabilities of Microsoft Syntex in transforming data into valuable knowledge. As a result of this process, NWG identified a series of business cases for using Microsoft Syntex that they wished to implement over the course of the following year.
As a Charter member of the Content Services Partner Program, Intelogy has been recognised by Microsoft for providing industry-leading services in Microsoft Syntex. Our team of experts provided NWG with Syntex delivery expertise and worked closely with the business to determine how they could best utilise the product to drive productivity and simplify and automate manual business processes.
“Many of the new Microsoft technologies can be daunting and difficult to navigate and it’s not always clear where to start. Working with Intelogy has allowed us to navigate this difficulty, kick start our understanding and build out our knowledge within our Product and Business teams. We have built up a way of working that has helped us to innovate and deliver value quickly back into the business”.
– Craig Stanley, Productivity & Collaboration Consultant, Northumbrian Water Limited
After completing a substantial migration, NWG were facing a large amount of unlabelled and unidentified content, which made it hard to locate. In its current state, employees were not getting value from this content.
“When I heard of their challenges, I was immediately excited about this project as it was a dream use case for Microsoft Syntex”.
– Leon Armston, M365 Consultant & Microsoft MVP, Intelogy
Intelogy surveyed NWG’s content and engaged with the organisation to obtain insight about their content. Our experts made recommendations about where Syntex could be beneficial by enabling employees to work more efficiently and quickly locate the content they need. Syntex AI models were designed to identify and extract values from content. With the files now being identified and tagged, everything is easily accessible for employees through customised search experiences.
“We have really enjoyed working with Intelogy, and have really benefited from the experience and knowledge Leon has been able to share. That combined with the opportunity to take part in the Microsoft preview programme has put NWG in a great position when it comes to realising the benefits of Syntex”.
– Kelly Dougherty, IS Product Manager, Northumbrian Water Limited
In the normal course of their operation, NWG maintains large repositories of physical documents, numbering in the millions. As a result, until recently, their business processes and data logging were all manual and paper-based in nature. NWG have since, with the assistance of a professional scanning company, embarked on a programme of digitising these physical records, which include technical drawings (plans), microfiche slides, and even photos of pump plates with serial numbers. Due to the large volume and variety of the records scanned it was not feasible for metadata to be added for each scanned record. The scans were then uploaded “as is” into SharePoint Online. This resulted in millions of files existing in unsorted, unlabelled states, which in turn presented significant difficulties to users in being able to locate the files that they required, both via out-of-the-box search experiences and via manual browsing.
Manually resolving this issue and organising, labelling, and indexing these assets, given the scale of the task, would have proven prohibitively time-consuming and, even if feasible, would not provide any long-term solution for the issue. NWG, therefore, needed a solution that would allow them to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Teaching to identify and classify documents, and then perform entity extraction of metadata values from within the document i.e. drawing code, location, author, date etc. NWG also required that these AI models could be created and maintained by non-developer business users, via an easy-to-use graphical interface instead of using code or a command line interface.
“Working closely with our users and our small Product Team Intelogy have delivered quick wins and capabilities to surface content through to new user experiences and to new types of devices. The building out of quick wins and the building up of our Product Team’s capabilities has been a very successful combination and in Intelogy we have found a partner that aligns well with our current business channels”.
– Craig Stanley
Launched in 2020, Microsoft Syntex is a Microsoft 365 service that uses advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Teaching to amplify human expertise, automate content processing and transform content into knowledge. It uses AI to understand, identify and provide intelligence to content by extracting key information from files in SharePoint and then automatically adding appropriate metadata tags. This works by teaching Syntex AI models to read content and extract key information in exactly the same way your organisation would but doing this reliably, constantly and at a much greater scale. All without any need to write code or leave the SharePoint interface.
Many organisations can benefit from Microsoft Syntex because it not only classifies and extracts information from your content, but also brings your critical organisational content into the flow of work with AI-driven process automation, driving workflows, security and compliance, along with increasing the discoverability and search potential of content for end-users.
Microsoft Syntex – Content Understanding
NWG engaged with Intelogy for our Syntex advisory services and knowledge in this space. As previously mentioned, Northumbrian Water’s files had been migrated from file shares and other legacy systems to SharePoint. The content was now all in one place and NWG could start to build on this content, empower their employees by delivering the content that they need and drive efficiency in the workplace.
Intelogy worked with Northumbrian Water to scan their environment, then create a Syntex strategy and identify types of content in the organisation that could benefit from Syntex. Our experts designed Syntex models to identify content and interpret and label structured and unstructured content. As part of the engagement, it was also important to teach NWG how to identify use cases for Syntex and create models themselves.