Communications Platform as-a-Service Finds its Inflection Point

CPaaS solutions can eliminate connectivity and device challenges, reduce app integration costs, and ease IT support responsibilities.

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Digital transformation has shifted into a higher gear since the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows that “two years’ worth of digital transformation has been concentrated into the past two months” of May and June. Suddenly, in order to operate digitally, businesses and individuals are prioritizing their network, applications, storage, automation, and analytics infrastructures as never before.

Among the enablers of digital transformation is communications platform as-a-service (CPaaS), which IDC estimates will become a $17.2 billion business by 2023. Like other as-a-service offerings, it’s cloud-based and fully managed by providers. CPaaS uses APIs to add real-time communications features ─ SMS, email, voice-over-IP, push notifications, social network channels, video chat, and two-factor authentication ─ to applications without requiring new infrastructure, interfaces, and ongoing support. CPaaS is a godsend to IT departments, relieving staff of the need to handle last-mile and device connectivity challenges, manage app integration, and support added communications channels.

The Urgent Need for CPaaS

“The remote, mobile enabled, real-time requirements of organizations to communicate with people, processes, and things were apparent even before the pandemic,” says Rohit Tripathi, Chief Product Officer, Go-to-Market, for SAP. “Now, the race to digitize and automate workflows in customer engagement, customer service and other areas is speeding up, and the last mile touchpoints connecting employees, contractors, partners, suppliers, and consumers are commanding greater scrutiny.”

Why is CPaaS so in demand? For starters, at a fraction of the cost and complexity of IT building these features inhouse and integrating them, CPaaS is charting an upward trajectory.    

For companies looking to improve customer experience and engagement, cloud-based integrated communications channels can provide a multichannel experience; the ability to move seamlessly between different channels at different stages of the buyer’s journey (e.g., receive SMS of one-time PIN to authenticate user for Web access to account information and transactions). CPaaS channels can also be used by businesses and governments to provide alternate connections during outages, disasters, and in remote areas with poor network access.

Organizations are also using CPaaS to add diverse communications channels to internal business applications. For example, many companies are using CPaaS to strengthen their communications with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and mobile devices.

What to Look for in a CPaaS Provider

Keep these considerations in mind when looking for a CPaaS provider.

“First, understand who you need to reach and what channels they use,” says Tripathi. “A younger demographic will rely more on social media; others may prefer voice and email. With these insights into your workforce or customer base, evaluate CPaaS providers based on the following.”

  • Diversity of available channels
  • Global reach
  • Scalability
  • Ease of integrating channels into end-to-end business workflows
  • Basic connectivity APIs
  • Two-factor customer engagement solutions
  • Customer and/or employee care support for channels

The need for multiple ways of communicating with workers and consumers, integrated with apps and workflows, cuts horizontally across most industries. In the new normal, employees and consumers have come to expect a solid digital experience from their employer, bank, school, brand, and government, among others.

CPaaS solutions eliminate the challenges of last-mile connectivity and device diversity, the costs of app integration, and the support responsibilities to move dynamic, real-time communications in an array of channels directly to the end-user.

Learn more about key attributes and benefits of CPaaS from this IDC whitepaper.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.