Artificial Cream or Artificial Intelligence?

Last month, TSG provided the opportunity for technology professionals in the housing sector to complement their lunchtime cream buns with a slice of Microsoft Artificial Intelligence (AI) via a lunch & learn session.

As far back as early 2019, TSG has been sharing the progress of Microsoft developments in AI (previously code-named Project Cortex) with the sector around document/file content data extraction, sentiment analysis and form processing. The great news is these tools are now in General Availability and able to be added to your Microsoft 365 environment.

Microsoft AI technologies are available from several services including SharePoint, Power Platform and Azure; our lunch and learn focused on what Satya would describe as the “citizen developer” options in SharePoint and Power Platform, namely SharePoint Syntex and Power Platform AI Builder.

Both Syntex and AI Builder use a similar approach to creating solutions and start with the creation of a model which, using sample documents (for example gas, legionella, lifts etc), trains the AI engine to recognise format and data for extraction. Where Syntex is limited to documents, AI builder allows a wider range of formats to be processed, such as images, forms (invoices, credit notes etc), and advanced data extraction such as text translation, sentiment analysis, image object detection and prediction. Syntex and AI Builder provide a platform that Business Analysts and Process Owners can use to transform document/form processing and drive compliance and governance.

The icing on the cake is what can be achieved post processing with the extracted data. An excellent example would be the big 6 property compliance certificates/reports – imagine being able to process such documents through AI models, returning those with a low confidence rating to the provider, where those with an acceptable confidence rating move on to the process stage.

Extracted data can be applied as metadata to the documents in SharePoint, or alternatively by using features or Power Automate data could be written to a database, other Microsoft solutions such as D365 and Dataverse or even triggering an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) process to update existing HMS, Asset or Compliance applications.


Although the lunch and learn session focused on the big 6 compliance documents there are further opportunities in the back office, for instance employee contracts, supplier contracts, invoices etc.

If you missed the session and want to see what we discussed, or would like more information on the AI tools available in Microsoft 365 through a 1-to-1 session, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email at [email protected].