What is SharePoint Premium? An Overview | Quisitive
Video thumbnail of SharePoint Premium features overview with Steve Corey, Microsoft MVP.
What is SharePoint Premium? An Overview
May 30, 2024
Steve Corey
Explore all the new features in SharePoint Premium, including Content Processing, SharePoint Embedded, Metadata Tagging, and more!

SharePoint Premium has many features, and some of them are even free. In this blog, I’ll discuss all the different features of SharePoint Premium and what they can do for you.
SharePoint Premium is divided into three categories: Content Processing, Content Governance, and Content Experiences. Let’s discuss each of these and explain how they relate to one another.

Content Processing in SharePoint Premium

Content Processing

Let’s start with Content Processing in SharePoint Premium. Content or document processing reads your document, extracts specified data from that document and moves that data into its own columns in a SharePoint Library. You’ll see this in the form of pre-built document processing, structured and free-form document process processing, and finally, unstructured document processing.

By training an AI model, you will teach SharePoint Premium how to extract the content you need. This includes information like what the documents look like and how to find different pieces of data within the documents.

The process for training the model to find your data is similar for all three forms of document processing in SharePoint Premium.

Most use cases in SharePoint Premium are in the content processing category, focusing on extracting information from the source material. Users usually want to move information into metadata columns, so you don’t have to tag or categorize your documents manually. With SharePoint Premium’s Content Processing, much of that work is done for you.

Content Assembly

Content Assembly is another neat new feature of SharePoint Premium’s Content Processing. However, it’s not a new concept because it’s basically document templating.

Like Content Processing, Content Assembly is based on an AI model. Your company trains the model to know where different pieces of information fit into a given document. When you want to create a new document, you’ll bring this interface up, and it’ll ask you to fill out different fields that correlate to your template. SharePoint Premium’s Document Assembly will create the document as you fill out those fields.

Now, this is different from your old-school Word document templates. Content Assembly is a more structured and consistent approach to templating, ensuring all document types (contracts, invoices, etc.) look the same. Consistency is really what the Content Assembly feature is all about.

Meta Data Extraction

Several new features of SharePoint Premium’s Content Processing also provide metadata extraction. Let’s examine each of these.

Image Tagging

Image Tagging differs from other metadata extractions because you’re dealing with an image—It doesn’t typically have text on it. Image Tagging in SharePoint Premium uses AI Vision to “look” at an image and determine what it depicts. It will find different objects or components within an image and then fill out the image tags metadata column with the text describing everything it sees.

From there, you can use all those different tags to filter an image library to find particular images you need. An asset library is a great example of how someone could use this image tagging feature.

Check out this video to learn more.

Now, it’s not perfect. As some people have pointed out, there may be missing tags or other minor errors. There’s room for improvement, but the technology continues to evolve. And it’s far superior to manually tagging images one at a time!

Taxonomy Tagging

Next, we’re discussing Taxonomy Tagging in SharePoint Premium. This new Taxonomy Tagging feature allows SharePoint Premium to add metadata to a document automatically based on terms it identifies within the document. It works by matching identified terms to metadata terms you’ve previously defined in your term store, such as client name, property address, etc.

It will then pull that metadata into your SharePoint Library columns, allowing you to filter your documents based on those tags.

It’s a very structured approach to filling out the metadata because the tags are based on defined terms in your term store, ensuring precision and accuracy with your metadata fields.

Autofill Columns

Autofill Columns is a new feature in SharePoint Premium, announced in early 2024. This feature fills in the gaps and gives you more power than Taxonomy Tagging. With Taxonomy Tagging, you must have predefined terms in a term store that match the content in your documents. With Autofill Columns, it’s kind of everything else. It’s not based on managed metadata and instead leverages AI to fill out columns.

Here’s how the engine knows what to extract with the Autofill Column: First, you put in an AI prompt to describe what value should be provided. That prompt could be a question about the content, like “Does this product require assembly?”

Now, that exact phrase may not appear in the document. However, the AI will leverage natural language processing and Microsoft’s Large Language Model (LLM) to examine your document and provide an answer to your prompt.

So if the product does require assembly and there’s a reference to that in some shape or fashion in the document, then the AI will know that and provide the value for the metadata column.

Based on the column type, it will know what type of value to provide to answer your prompt. Should it be a yes or no? Should it be a single line of text? A date and time? All of these value types are possible with these Autofill Columns.

Document Translation

Document Translation is going to be the next feature we’ll discuss. This allows SharePoint Premium to translate a document from one language to another. You can trigger this translation in several different ways, including through processing rules.

Learn more about document translation with this video.

SharePoint E-Signature

E-signature is, of course, not a new concept—it’s leveraged by Adobe DocuSign, another major provider of E-signature services.

But now, it’s all baked directly into SharePoint. In fact, you can use this SharePoint E-Signature feature right out of the box, or you can still tie into Adobe DocuSign. So you’ve got options!

The way SharePoint E-signature works is that one party triggers a document signature request. The person signing the document then receives the request and can sign or reject the document. The system then notifies the requester of the signer’s action. It’s incredibly simple but very powerful! I also appreciate that we no longer have to use third-party services to complete these actions.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is also not new, but it’s new to SharePoint Premium. OCR allows you to upload document images to your SharePoint Library. PDFs are the prime example, but this could include other file types such as PNGs or JPEGs. When OCR is enabled, it can look at an image and determine if any text is included within it. Then, it extracts and stores that text alongside the document, typically in a hidden metadata field.

OCR is a great way to ensure compliance labels and policies are applied to content as it’s uploaded. For example, suppose sensitive information is identified within an uploaded image. In that case, Microsoft Purview can apply compliance labels automatically (Note that you will need to configure Purview to apply the correct labels). This helps protect sensitive data correctly.

The extracted text is also indexed in SharePoint’s search function so that you can find content more easily with a simple search of your library.

Advanced File Viewer

The Advanced File Viewer feature is kind of a two-for-one special. First, it enables you to pull up drafting documents, e-pub files and other file types that SharePoint Premium hasn’t covered historically.

Second, the Advanced File Viewer lets you annotate the files. You can draw, add text, add lines or shapes, and more. All of the information is then stored alongside that document within the Library. So, it will not be stored outside of SharePoint, in SharePoint Embedded, or anything like that.

Content Query

Next, let’s cover Content Query. In all our previous examples, the features are pay-as-you-go. You don’t have to have a license, but there is a cost associated with using all of those features. As you use them, you are incurring costs.

With Content Query in SharePoint Premium, you will need a license. However, only the person setting up Content Query needs a license.

Here’s how it works: First, you’ll need to enable Content Query for the Library and configure your metadata fields.

Then, when you use the search bar at the top of that Library, there’ll be a filter button. When you click on this, you’ll see all these different metadata fields, and you can filter the Document Library based on those fields.

If this sounds familiar, it’s likely because it’s essentially what we can already do with P&P Modern Search web parts. With this new feature, you don’t have to set up P&P Modern Search. I think it’s pretty neat, especially if you don’t want to or you’re not allowed to use P&P Modern Search. I’ve heard some organizations mention that it’s not commercially supported and, therefore, they can’t use it. In that case, SharePoint’s Content Query feature could be just the thing you need to make finding documents easier.

Merging / Extracting PDFs

This next feature is fairly self-explanatory: Merging/Extracting PDFs allows you to combine multiple PDFs into a single file or split PDFs into multiple files.

Say you need to pull one page from a 10-page PDF. This feature allows you to do so without using third-party tooling, such as Adobe Acrobat.

Processing Rules

Processing Rules in SharePoint Premium allows you to set up rules and triggers in a Document Library. An example of a trigger might be adding a new file or changing a field. The trigger will fire off your rule, for example, moving or copying a file to another folder, sending a notification, or translating a file to another language.

That final example is the use case I showed in my own document translation video. Check it out here.

If you think about it, this feature sounds like a much more advanced version of the Content Organizer that we had in the SharePoint Classic days. This seems like the next evolution of that, bringing more simplicity to the set up.

Premium Taxonomy Features

The last feature under the Content Processing category is Premium Taxonomy Features. If you’ve got a taxonomy in an SKOS format, this feature lets you import that taxonomy into your term store with ease.

Content Governance in SharePoint Premium

Now, let’s move on to the next category of features in SharePoint Premium: Content Governance.

SharePoint Advanced Management (SAM)

The big new feature under the Content Governance category is the SAM license. The SAM or SharePoint Advanced Management license allows you to configure things like restricted access control and site access policies. This is where you can configure your governance within the SharePoint Admin Center, so you can set policies to control things like who can download files or access certain features.

You’ll be able to pull reports from the Data Access Governance section as well. Some new reports were recently rolled out at the Microsoft 365 Conference in Orlando, including some that were added to the DAG reports section. I think we’re going to keep getting more and more report options as this feature evolves.

Pro Tip: I recommend leveraging these data governance reports to help your organization get ready for Microsoft Copilot.

The SAM license will also provide life cycle management features for sites, such as inactivity policies. If a site isn’t updated for a certain amount of time, you can take action, like asking the site owner if the site can be updated, archived, or deleted. This helps site owners keep their sites updated and fresh and gives admins options for life cycle management.

You’ve also got some features to monitor the Admin Center activity. There’s an activity log where you can see who’s made different changes to a particular SharePoint site based on the site properties, like the sharing settings or the custom script setting. Some properties will even provide audit logs.

There’s also a policy that allows you to block downloads from SharePoint and OneDrive if you need to tighten things up a little bit.

Other Products

Next, you’ve got some of the other products that don’t really fit into some of these other buckets, but they are big features like SharePoint backup and M365 Archive.

SharePoint Backups

SharePoint Backups allows you to configure your backups for SharePoint,
OneDrive and Exchange.

Microsoft 365 Archive

The M365 archive feature lets you archive a site and save a ton of money on storage costs. If a site is not needed but you’re not sure you want to delete it, you can archive it and keep the data.

Advanced Tenant Rename

Finally, there’s the Advanced Tenant Rename. With the old SharePoint features, organizations can rename their tenant. So, if you have XYZ.sharepoint.com, you can rename it to ABC.sharepoint.com. 

However, you can only do this if you’re under 10,000 sites and OneDrive accounts combined. Once you cross that threshold, you’re no longer able to change your tenant name.
This feature now lets you rename a tenant if you have a larger environment. If you have a SAM license, your threshold is raised to 100,000 sites and OneDrive accounts combined.

Content Experiences in SharePoint Premium

The last category of new features in SharePoint Premium we’ll be discussing today is the Content Experiences category. There are only a few features in this category right now, but they are very impactful, and Microsoft is continuing to add more.

SharePoint Embedded

The first feature in this category is SharePoint Embedded, which is basically a headless version of SharePoint, meaning it’s SharePoint without a UI.

SharePoint Embedded allows you to create your own user interface. This function is targeted more towards third-party vendors or software developers who need to create a custom interface using SharePoint as a backend storage mechanism.

One of the big benefits of this approach is that your data stays within M365, meaning it remains under the watchful eye of Purview and your compliance controls. You can also find this content using Microsoft Graph so that you can find the content in the Microsoft search bar.

Teams Apps

The last feature we’re going to discuss today is really a number of different products all based in Microsoft Teams Apps. These Teams Apps are designed to help users find and keep track of high-value documents, such as contract agreements. These apps are meant to help you find important information quickly and provide more advanced functionality for documents.

Agreements Apps

The Agreements App was announced recently and allows you work collaboratively with others on a contract. You’re able to work on a contract and send that out to a customer. The customer can make changes directly in the document and it’ll come back to you for review.

This app provides advanced insights so that you’ll be able to see what changes were made and what the impact of those changes could be. For example, if legal terminology was changed, it’ll give you a summary of how this affects the document.

Business Documents App

Other apps Microsoft has announced include a Business Documents app designed to help you keep track of high-value documents.

Other Teams Apps

Microsoft is going to provide different experiences within Teams to manage these important documents or important content in general. However, I believe these features will be based on documents specifically and provide a much more tailored experience for those particular scenarios.

Thanks for reading!

We’ve covered a ton of new features that are coming to or are now available in SharePoint Premium. Microsoft continues to roll out new features, so I’ll do my best to update this post so you can stay informed on the latest SharePoint Premium news.

To learn more about the newest features in SharePoint, check out this video about Microsoft 365 Copilot’s AI tooling, now available within SharePoint.