Microsoft SharePoint Syntex is an AI tool available as an add-on for Microsoft 365 that construction organizations can use to manage project data more efficiently.
Information management is one of the biggest challenges for any organization. But in construction, it is not just about internal project information management. Compounding the problem's complexity for construction managers and owners is the additional burden of managing the flood of data that their vendors and contractors submit daily (e.g., submittals, RFIs, change orders, and invoices).
Shortcomings of typical project data management methods
Construction organizations have typically processed and managed external project information in one of two ways:
Option 1 – Ask contractors to use the construction manager or owner's project management information system (PMIS)
This approach centralizes data, ensuring that project information resides in a single system of record for processing.
However, using this method adds significant costs and raises the risk of errors. For example, it entails considerable effort in training and hand-holding for every contractor using the PMIS. It also often requires additional document control staff to review and correct technical and data input issues. Finally, contractors typically increase their bids to account for the redundant data entry required to support two systems.
Option 2 – Have contractors email project correspondence (usually as PDFs) to the construction manager or owner for manual entry into their PMIS
This second approach has document control specialists entering data into the system-of-record PMIS, providing a clean and centralized repository for project information.
Unfortunately, this method only shifts the burden of processing project records from the contractors to the owner or construction manager. Thus, while it improves data accuracy, there are still issues of increased cost and significant manual effort.
Using Microsoft SharePoint Syntex to automate project data management
If your organization is on Microsoft 365 and uses SharePoint for construction project management, the good news is that there is a better way to manage your data. Microsoft has recently released SharePoint Syntex, an AI tool for automating content processing.
With SharePoint Syntex, once you train your AI model to classify and extract data from PDFs, the tool will be able to take over and run on a specific document library in SharePoint. The AI model will extract metadata from a PDF document and add it to SharePoint columns once you upload new files.
What does Microsoft SharePoint Syntex mean for construction?
With SharePoint Syntex, there is now a third way to manage and process your construction project information. Using SharePoint Syntex, contractors do not have to learn a new system, nor would the owner or construction managers have to process project correspondence from the contractor manually. Instead, contractors could email project correspondence to the owner or construction manager. A trained Syntex AI model could then review the documents and automatically classify them based on a predefined set of rules. While this may sound like science fiction, it's not, and it's available right now for SharePoint in Microsoft 365.
What does Microsoft SharePoint Syntex cost?
Syntex for SharePoint is available as a cost-per-user add-on in Microsoft 365. The pricing posted on the SharePoint Syntex pricing page at the time of this article is $5/user per month or $60/year.
How to get started using Microsoft SharePoint Syntex?
Once you pay for a SharePoint Syntex user license and create a content center in SharePoint, you can start building AI models.
We'll get into the details in future posts on this subject and possibly some online training sessions.
Get Help Using Microsoft SharePoint Syntex to Manage Your Construction Projects
Lydon Solutions always embraces leading-edge Microsoft technology to improve construction projects' efficiency. We have already built AI models that extract invoice data from PDF invoices emailed into a Microsoft 365 group mailbox. As soon as the file is uploaded, the AI tool automatically extracts data for reporting and analysis. It's exciting stuff!
If you have any questions about setting up SharePoint Syntex for your Microsoft 365 or need a turnkey enterprise PMIS integrated with SharePoint like Construction Viz, don't hesitate to reach out to us for a no-obligation consultation and demo. We're here to help!