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Understanding SharePoint Premium and the 3 Ways It Will Impact Document Management in 2024 - Evolvous

Understanding SharePoint Premium and the 3 Ways It Will Impact Document Management in 2024 

In November 2023, Microsoft announced the launch of the enhanced version of the SharePoint content management system, dubbed ‘SharePoint Premium’. With SharePoint Premium, Microsoft aims to improve content experience, enhance content security and governance, and optimize overall business processes with the power of AI and smarter automation. 

What’s New in SharePoint Premium? 

SharePoint brings some of the services already released as part of Microsoft Syntex, including SharePoint Advanced Management. Along with that, it will also include the growing number of SharePoint services that are already available in online and server deployments. 

Here are some of the key features that SharePoint Premium offers: 

  • Document eSignatures 
  • Business Documents App 
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Support 
  • Integrated file viewer with support over 400 new formats 

These are only some of the key features. There are a host of features that are already launched or planned to be launched soon as part of SharePoint Premium. 

What is the Current Status of SharePoint Premium? 

SharePoint Premium is currently under development, but some of the features are already available on ‘Pay-as-you-go’ basis. SharePoint Premium will be made ‘broadly available’ in the first half of 2024. 

Ways SharePoint Premium Will Enhance Document Management in 2024 

SharePoint Premium is aimed to enhance specific areas of document management that would be critical for business success in 2024 and beyond. Here are some of the ways in which it can transform the way you manage your business documents. 

  • Work on Contracts and Other High Value Business Documents More Effectively

SharePoint Premium brings a whole new way of working with high value business documents. It comes with the Business Documents app in Teams which will allow you to review high value documents like contracts, orders, invoices and more at one single place. 

With SharePoint Premium, you can also create new contracts inside MS Word, using standard templates that leverage content assembly to automatically fill in the vital details for new contracts. It will also alert you about contracts that are expiring soon or the ones that need your attention. 

SharePoint Premium extensively uses AI capabilities to enhance your content experiences. For example, the platform uses an AI-driven rules deviation engine to identify specific parts of the contracts that might raise issues and hence require your attention. Its AI-powered clause analyzer will automatically analyze high-risk contracts, identify the risks, and suggest the necessary changes. 

The platform will also allow you to route documents using SharePoint eSignature. SharePoint Premium will roll out support for Adobe and DocuSign as eSignature partners in the first half of 2024. So, if your business currently uses any of these eSignature services then they can be seamlessly integrated into your SharePoint Premium document workflows. 

SharePoint Premium also comes with a new Document Portal that will make your high value documents accessible to external suppliers, vendors, and customers in a secure way. 

  • Monitor Document Sharing More Effectively with Advanced Content Governance Features

When it comes to document sharing, it is crucial that users have access to the right information at the right time. However, it is also important to ensure that sensitive information is not accidentally overshared or exposed in search or Copilot. SharePoint Premium builds on the efficient governance controls that exist within SharePoint, allowing content owners to manage content at scale throughout its lifecycle. 

Oversharing of sites and content can create significant risks for your organization. SharePoint Premium generates Data Access Governance (DAG) reports that gives you a top-level view of potentially overshared sites, which you can filter by sharing policy, sites connected to Teams, sensitivity labels, privacy and more.  

Reports are just part of the process. With SharePoint Premium, IT will be able trigger site access reviews with content owners for potentially at-risk content, asking them to review access, making needed changes and confirming that sites are being properly shared. 

SharePoint Premium’s governance features go beyond DAG Reports. You can also enable Restricted Access Policy by specifying the security groups that can access the documents, irrespective of whether the file was shared directly. 

SharePoint Premium brings the power of AI to content governance as well. It comes with AI features that can make policy recommendations by comparing a sample set of sites with ideal access policies with other sites across the tenant. 

Another interesting feature of SharePoint premium is the Content Events Insights that allows you to identify extraordinary events in the content lifecycle, like high-volume sharing or large download volumes. It also provides you with crucial contextual information like the users who are impacted by such events and the specific files involved. 

Microsoft is also planning to introduce AI Copilot in the SharePoint admin center. This will allow you to find sites that have issues like oversharing, missing classifications, or inactivity. Copilot will also help you build the right policies to manage access, classification, and archiving. 

  • Optimize Storage Costs with Microsoft 365 Archive 

SharePoint Premium also promises to radically change the way organizations look at their storage strategy in 2024 and beyond. Managing large volumes of documents is often a challenge, especially when it comes to storing redundant files. 

In July 2023, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft 365 Archive, which helps you to manage storage costs while keeping your information architecture up to date. You can seamlessly extend SharePoint Premium policies for out-of-date content to move older sites to Microsoft 365 archive storage.  

Microsoft Archive 365 allows you to preserve all the versions, metadata, and security settings of your SharePoint and OneDrive content. This effectively transfers the file at rest to multiply redundant storage inside the trusted boundaries of Microsoft 365. 

The archived content will be removed from direct end user access and search, but the archived content will retain the security and retention policy. However, admins will be able to search the document and execute compliance actions. With just a few clicks, admins can also restore direct end user access. 

Microsoft 365 Backup is another solution that protects your valuable data from ransomware attacks and other disasters. Microsoft 365 backup also integrates seamlessly with SharePoint Premium to provide you with unmatched backup and recovery, speed, scale, and reliability. 

How to Get Started with SharePoint Premium? 

As said before, SharePoint Premium will be universally available in the first half of 2024. Both SharePoint Premium seat licenses and ‘pay-as-you-go’ services can be used independently and combined to meet your business requirements. 

 However, the following features are currently available: 

  • Features like OCR, eSignature, and more are already generally available under the Syntex brand on a pay-as-you-go basis to most clients under different Microsoft 365 plans. 
  • Businesses can also use content governance features today under SharePoint Advanced Management. 

Microsoft is planning to move services currently available under the Syntex to SharePoint Premium in 2024. SharePoint Premium will include two licensing models: 

  • Content processing services, including document processing, eSignature, PII detection, autofill columns, content assembly, translation and image processing will be available on a pay-as-you-go basis to most Microsoft 365 plans. 
  • Other capabilities like Business Documents app, Documents Hub, and the enhanced file viewer, and SharePoint Advanced Management will be available as seat licensed services which you will be able to add to Microsoft 365 plans. Pricing details to be announced at GA in 2024. 

Now is the right time to plan to upgrade to SharePoint Premium and make your document storage strategy more relevant in 2024 and beyond. Contact us at Evolvous and explore the possibilities of how SharePoint premium can enhance document storage and increase productivity. 

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