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Microsoft AI & Document Automation - The Secret Behind Contoso's Productivity Revolution with Office 365

Recognize this: employees spend too much time on administration instead of the work they were originally hired for? Do you have the feeling that you don't really know if and where sensitive information is stored and you really have no idea whether you’re in control of your data?

The amount of documents and information you have to manage as an organization is enormous and is growing faster and faster. Think of reports, financial statements, chats, contracts, emails, and much more. Managing it is immensely challenging. How do you know:


  • what information is important for your organization?
  • that information is properly stored and deleted at the right time?
  • that you comply with laws and regulations?

What if I told you that Contoso* has been able to streamline and automate these information processes, and increase employee satisfaction? Let's dive into Contoso's story to see how they achieved this.

How Contoso safeguards their sensitive and confidential information

Contoso, a fast-growing company across a variety of industries, faced significant challenges in managing the large amounts of digital information they have. In addition to having to efficiently comply with laws and regulations regarding information, they faced serious consequences such as the inability to find crucial information when needed, the risk of leaking competitively sensitive data, and even fines due to data breaches. In addition, employees indicated that they spent too much time on administrative tasks instead of their core work. These complex dynamics highlighted the urgent need for an effective information management strategy to not only improve efficiency, but also to secure business data and increase workforce productivity

This is where Microsoft 365 comes into play. Contoso chose to use Microsoft 365 to automatically detect sensitive information, recognize documents, and take the necessary actions.

How Contoso ensures documents are automatically compliant

Using Microsoft Syntex…woops SharePoint Premium, Contoso implemented an automated system that analyzes the content of each document, determines the type of document, and stores key attributes such as customer name, products, project start date, etc. Completely automatic!  This is invaluable for streamlining their document management processes.

This has several positive effects:

  • Time savings because the employee do not have to manually fill in the necessary metadata;
  • Increase information quality through consistent and reliable information for each document (because of the automation);
  • Efficient document management through the implementation of automated document recognition;
  • Increased employee satisfaction! The employee has to spend less time on administration, is better able to find the right information and is therefore more satisfied.

How Contoso complies with information laws and regulations

After recognizing the type of document, the SharePoint Premium automatically assigns the correct "category". Think of a contract, work instruction, treatment plan, SLA, statement of work or a manual. This allows Contoso to automatically categorize documents without employee intervention. If desired, the employee is always able to enter another category or metadata from which the system then learns.

The Chief Information Officer has  drawn up a list of  how long these categories must be kept. Because of the classification, these retention rules are directly applied to the information in the organization! This ensures that Contoso is always compliant by keeping documents, emails, and chats for exactly as long as required.

It also ensures that the Information Management department spends much less time manually checking information and can spend its time improving information- and knowledge management.

Automatic detection of sensitive information

Another powerful aspect of this system was its ability to detect sensitive information. Think of client data, identification numbers or address details. If the system recognizes sensitive information in a document, it automatically applies a "sensitivity label." This automatically marks documents as "Confidential," "Internal," or "Public," and automatically determines who gets access to them.

This also has a number of positive effects. For example:

  • Increasing data security by automatically recognizing and labeling sensitive information
  • More efficient access management through automated (proposing) access.
  • Reducing the risk of inadvertently sharing sensitive information, inside or outside the organization.

Employee satisfaction increased by focusing on work, not administration

Office 365s automated document classification enabled Contoso to make significant savings in time and resources. Employees are doing the work they love and not manually entering metadata, selecting classifications, or applying retention policies. Tasks that if (at best) are done at all, are very error-prone, with all consequences that entail– how do you find a work instruction that has been labelled as a letter by an employee? All of these tasks are handled super fast and accurately automatically for Contoso.

The result? Improved productivity, much better regulatory compliance, and a happy employee! As a result, Contoso can focus on their core business, knowing that their information was secure and organized.

Focus on employees!

Contoso immediately recognized that adapting existing work processes by applying new technology has a major impact on its employees and that the employee was a crucial aspect to the successful implementation. As a result, Contoso actively invested in the adoption of this change for its employees.

From the start, employees were actively involved, with clear communication, training sessions and feedback was (almost) demanded! This inclusive approach not only led to an optimized information and knowledge system, but also to increased employee satisfaction. Tasks were simplified, administrative burdens were reduced and the employee really felt heard!

Contoso's success illustrates the impact of technological innovation combined with a human-centric approach on business performance and employee engagement.

Time for action!

For those who make decisions in organizations, Contoso's story is hopefully an inspiring example of how Microsoft 365 helps companies focus on business and not administration.

Automatically recognizing, classifying and managing information is a very powerful asset for organizations. If you want to increase productivity while ensuring security and compliance, consider the capabilities that Microsoft 365 offers for automatic document classification.

Tackling everything at once may be a bit overwhelming.

My tip: Think big, start small and prepare for success! Choose the use case with the highest urgency, test, implement, evolve, and do the same on the next topic.

Do you need support or would you like to discuss your specific situation? Please do not hesitate to contact me! #itneverhurtstohelp

Do you want to know more about the technology?

Without mentioning them the following technical terms are covered in this story. If you want to know more about them, check out the Microsoft website or send me a message.

Data loss prevention, retention labels, policies, sensitivity labels, compliance center, Microsoft Syntex, Microsoft Viva, Microsoft Viva Topics, Search, content types, managed metadata, taxonomy, Advanced Data Governance, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Exchange, Advanced Thread Protection, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 to name a few….

*Contoso is a fictitious organization