Microsoft Syntex To Get Pay-As-You-Go Licensing Option for Document Processing Next Month
Microsoft on Thursday announced plans to release a Microsoft Syntex pay-as-you-go licensing option in March, although it just will apply to document processing.
The coming pay-as-you-go Syntex licensing will let organizations "create and apply unstructured and prebuilt document processing models." The billing will be based on the total number of pages processed, with Microsoft charging $0.10 per page for unstructured documents and $0.01 per page for prebuilt documents.
Licensing for Document Processing Only
Organizations can apply the pay-as-you-go Syntex licensing "to all users without requiring separate licenses." However, the announcement clarified in a Q&A section that pay-as-you-go licensees don't get all of the capabilities that are currently afforded by the product's per-user Syntex licensing.
For instance, pay-as-you-go users will not be licensed for the following capabilities:
- Syntex content assembly
- Universal annotation
- AI Builder
- Content query
- Other Syntex services.
It turns out that those omitted capabilities are really important because the Syntex document-processing capabilities need to be trained first, with is done using AI Builder. Microsoft further explained in a "Licensing for Microsoft Syntex" document that there can be training costs for using AI Builder, although Microsoft allocates a certain number of credits per month:
For each Syntex license, you are allocated 3,500 AI Builder credits per license, per month pooled at the tenant level, with a maximum allocation of 1 million credits per month. This allocation is renewed each month for each active Syntex license. (Unused credits don't roll over from month to month.)
The complex costs associated with regular per-user Syntex subscriptions can be estimated using Microsoft's Syntex cost calculator, a free Excel spreadsheet download. The regular per-user Syntex licensing involves assigning licenses for Syntex, "Syntex – SPO type" and the "Common Data Service for Syntex" on top of having AI Builder credits, as indicated in this Microsoft "Setup" document.
It's not clear how organizations using the pay-as-you-go Syntex licensing will be able to train models used for document processing without also having per-user licensing. However, the announcement did seem to suggest that pay-as-you-go users could create models.
For the immediate present, Microsoft isn't allowing a mix of the two licensing options, per the FAQ:
At this time, if your organization has one or more per-user license assigned, you will not be able to set up pay-as-you-go services. However, this hybrid environment scenario will be possible in the near future.
Microsoft also isn't shifting current Syntex licensees over to the pay-as-you-go model for the document processing aspects "at this time."
The coming pay-as-you-go model will just be available to Microsoft 365 Commercial Cloud customers in March. Microsoft has plans to offer it to government subscribers, too, at some point.
What is Microsoft Syntex?
Microsoft Syntex uses artificial intelligence to automatically process documents and extract information, although there's a machine teaching phase involved in getting the scheme to work. The product also lets users tag and extract text from images, audio and video files.
Microsoft Syntex is an add-on product for Microsoft 365 subscribers (at the E3 or E5 tiers) that works with documents stored in SharePoint libraries, although it also leverages broader Microsoft Graph info in its processing. Microsoft previously had named this product as "SharePoint Syntex," and announced that it was the first of the company's "Project Cortex" releases back in 2020. It was launched as the Microsoft Syntex product in 2022.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.