What is CPaaS?

A communications infrastructure that can help you reimagine and streamline workflows

developer-devices-800334756.jpg

What is CPaaS?

A communications infrastructure that can help you reimagine and streamline workflows

developer-devices-800334756.jpg

What is CPaaS?

A communications infrastructure that can help you reimagine and streamline workflows

developer-devices-800334756.jpg

What is CPaaS?

A communications infrastructure that can help you reimagine and streamline workflows

developer-devices-800334756.jpg

You’ve probably heard of CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service). Like many acronyms in the software development world, it sounds more intimidating than it really is.

CPaaS is a cloud communications infrastructure alternative that more and more businesses and industries are implementing. It allows businesses to use APIs from web developers and CPaaS providers to customize their communication stacks and integrate their chosen channels into their websites and apps.

If your business communicates with customers via multiple channels—from phone calls to chatbots—and streamlined communication and collaboration is central to your customer engagement, a CPaaS solution could help you grow your business, improve customer experiences, and, therefore, boost retention.

This guide to CPaaS has everything you need to know, from how CPaaS works to examples of how it’s used across industries.

What is Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) in layman’s terms?

Communications Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, is a cloud communication solution for businesses that want to integrate real-time communication into their existing business applications.

Let’s unpack that a bit more.

In business, communication is vital. Whether it’s how your customers contact you or your internal employee communications and team collaboration, finding ways to streamline and improve the transfer of information across communication channels is important to any business.

In the past, the only way to get in touch with a business was by phone, email, or even mail. And if employees wanted to talk to each other, they’d need to walk across the office, pick up the phone, or send an email.

This is all changing. Thanks to the arrival of dedicated real-time communications (RTC) technology like team messaging, video conferencing, and voice calls, real-time enterprise communication is now easier than ever, even between remote employees.

This system still isn’t perfect. With employees using different platforms to communicate with each other, clients, and customers, it’s often difficult for businesses to integrate their communications across the board. That’s where CPaaS steps in.

CPaaS allows you to add embedded communications channels to your business apps.

It lets businesses customize their existing communications stacks at the backend using an application programming interface (API) to present customized, branded communication channels at the front-end.

What is the difference between CPaaS and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

CPaaS and Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) have similar aims and purposes, so it’s easy to get the two mixed up.

Both CPaaS and UCaaS offer communication functionalities and stacks for businesses, but the core difference comes in the area of customization.

CPaaS provides the platform onto which businesses can customize and integrate their own, unique communication services. UCaaS platforms provide ready-made, integrated communication channels and alternatives, all via one interface.

Which is better, CPaaS or UCaaS? That depends on your needs. If you want an easy-to-access, ready-to-go, all-in-one platform, UCaaS is for you. If you want a fully customizable communications system to integrate with your existing applications, CPaaS is what you need.

The pricing of CPaaS and UCaaS platforms can vary. CPaaS may be more expensive as developers will be creating customized apps and software for your business, but it could be cheaper in the long run if you provide a one-off payment for the use of the APIs.

UCaaS is often cheaper but many UCaaS providers have a monthly or annual fee that you will pay for as long as you use the service.

Communications Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, is a cloud communication solution for businesses that want to integrate real-time communication into their existing business applications.

Let’s unpack that a bit more.

In business, communication is vital. Whether it’s how your customers contact you or your internal employee communications and team collaboration, finding ways to streamline and improve the transfer of information across communication channels is important to any business.

In the past, the only way to get in touch with a business was by phone, email, or even mail. And if employees wanted to talk to each other, they’d need to walk across the office, pick up the phone, or send an email.

This is all changing. Thanks to the arrival of dedicated real-time communications (RTC) technology like team messaging, video conferencing, and voice calls, real-time enterprise communication is now easier than ever, even between remote employees.

This system still isn’t perfect. With employees using different platforms to communicate with each other, clients, and customers, it’s often difficult for businesses to integrate their communications across the board. That’s where CPaaS steps in.

CPaaS allows you to add embedded communications channels to your business apps.

It lets businesses customize their existing communications stacks at the backend using an application programming interface (API) to present customized, branded communication channels at the front-end.

What is the difference between CPaaS and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

CPaaS and Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) have similar aims and purposes, so it’s easy to get the two mixed up.

Both CPaaS and UCaaS offer communication functionalities and stacks for businesses, but the core difference comes in the area of customization.

CPaaS provides the platform onto which businesses can customize and integrate their own, unique communication services. UCaaS platforms provide ready-made, integrated communication channels and alternatives, all via one interface.

Which is better, CPaaS or UCaaS? That depends on your needs. If you want an easy-to-access, ready-to-go, all-in-one platform, UCaaS is for you. If you want a fully customizable communications system to integrate with your existing applications, CPaaS is what you need.

The pricing of CPaaS and UCaaS platforms can vary. CPaaS may be more expensive as developers will be creating customized apps and software for your business, but it could be cheaper in the long run if you provide a one-off payment for the use of the APIs.

UCaaS is often cheaper but many UCaaS providers have a monthly or annual fee that you will pay for as long as you use the service.

Communications Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, is a cloud communication solution for businesses that want to integrate real-time communication into their existing business applications.

Let’s unpack that a bit more.

In business, communication is vital. Whether it’s how your customers contact you or your internal employee communications and team collaboration, finding ways to streamline and improve the transfer of information across communication channels is important to any business.

In the past, the only way to get in touch with a business was by phone, email, or even mail. And if employees wanted to talk to each other, they’d need to walk across the office, pick up the phone, or send an email.

This is all changing. Thanks to the arrival of dedicated real-time communications (RTC) technology like team messaging, video conferencing, and voice calls, real-time enterprise communication is now easier than ever, even between remote employees.

This system still isn’t perfect. With employees using different platforms to communicate with each other, clients, and customers, it’s often difficult for businesses to integrate their communications across the board. That’s where CPaaS steps in.

CPaaS allows you to add embedded communications channels to your business apps.

It lets businesses customize their existing communications stacks at the backend using an application programming interface (API) to present customized, branded communication channels at the front-end.

What is the difference between CPaaS and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

CPaaS and Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) have similar aims and purposes, so it’s easy to get the two mixed up.

Both CPaaS and UCaaS offer communication functionalities and stacks for businesses, but the core difference comes in the area of customization.

CPaaS provides the platform onto which businesses can customize and integrate their own, unique communication services. UCaaS platforms provide ready-made, integrated communication channels and alternatives, all via one interface.

Which is better, CPaaS or UCaaS? That depends on your needs. If you want an easy-to-access, ready-to-go, all-in-one platform, UCaaS is for you. If you want a fully customizable communications system to integrate with your existing applications, CPaaS is what you need.

The pricing of CPaaS and UCaaS platforms can vary. CPaaS may be more expensive as developers will be creating customized apps and software for your business, but it could be cheaper in the long run if you provide a one-off payment for the use of the APIs.

UCaaS is often cheaper but many UCaaS providers have a monthly or annual fee that you will pay for as long as you use the service.

Communications Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, is a cloud communication solution for businesses that want to integrate real-time communication into their existing business applications.

Let’s unpack that a bit more.

In business, communication is vital. Whether it’s how your customers contact you or your internal employee communications and team collaboration, finding ways to streamline and improve the transfer of information across communication channels is important to any business.

In the past, the only way to get in touch with a business was by phone, email, or even mail. And if employees wanted to talk to each other, they’d need to walk across the office, pick up the phone, or send an email.

This is all changing. Thanks to the arrival of dedicated real-time communications (RTC) technology like team messaging, video conferencing, and voice calls, real-time enterprise communication is now easier than ever, even between remote employees.

This system still isn’t perfect. With employees using different platforms to communicate with each other, clients, and customers, it’s often difficult for businesses to integrate their communications across the board. That’s where CPaaS steps in.

CPaaS allows you to add embedded communications channels to your business apps.

It lets businesses customize their existing communications stacks at the backend using an application programming interface (API) to present customized, branded communication channels at the front-end.

What is the difference between CPaaS and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

CPaaS and Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) have similar aims and purposes, so it’s easy to get the two mixed up.

Both CPaaS and UCaaS offer communication functionalities and stacks for businesses, but the core difference comes in the area of customization.

CPaaS provides the platform onto which businesses can customize and integrate their own, unique communication services. UCaaS platforms provide ready-made, integrated communication channels and alternatives, all via one interface.

Which is better, CPaaS or UCaaS? That depends on your needs. If you want an easy-to-access, ready-to-go, all-in-one platform, UCaaS is for you. If you want a fully customizable communications system to integrate with your existing applications, CPaaS is what you need.

The pricing of CPaaS and UCaaS platforms can vary. CPaaS may be more expensive as developers will be creating customized apps and software for your business, but it could be cheaper in the long run if you provide a one-off payment for the use of the APIs.

UCaaS is often cheaper but many UCaaS providers have a monthly or annual fee that you will pay for as long as you use the service.

CPaaSUCaaS
Fully customizableOne-stop platform
Can be integrated with the software you already useBuilt-in communication functionalities
Ability to choose specific APIs and communication channels to be integratedInstant access
Work with developers and CPaaS application providers over timeLess customizable
Can only be integrated with certain software and enterprise applications
Unified communications including video conferencing, video chats, audio conferencing, voice and messaging

What can CPaaS platforms do?

CPaaS platforms rely on communication APIs. Communication APIs allow businesses and developers to embed communication features to their apps. Typical communications channels and functions that can get connected by an API include:

  • Voice calls made via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) (e.g., IP virtual phone calls)
  • Text messages sent via the internet
  • Chatbots
  • Video meetings and conferencing

For example, SMS messaging APIs would allow a business to send and receive SMS messages to and from customers, clients, or staff via a web browser or an app, and likewise SMS messages sent to that business could be received via the internet.

If your business wants to integrate a chatbot into your website, as a further example, a back-end web developer with expertise in using APIs and building applications would create a custom application for your website. That application would be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system so that live agents can chat to customers via the chatbot in real-time.

What is a CPaaS provider?

Nowadays, the CPaaS market is growing and many businesses work with dedicated CPaaS vendors and providers to meet their communication needs.

A CPaaS provider can create custom APIs, apps, software development kits (SDKs), and programming tools for businesses to create and integrate their own communications features and platforms.

To find out more about how a fully customized CPaaS solution could benefit your business, get in touch with 8x8 to book a live demo today.

Communication features to look for from CPaaS providers

If you’re looking for a CPaaS vendor, here are some capabilities and features you should look out for:

  • Wide selection of communication APIs
  • Easily integrated with your current software
  • Full range of communications capabilities
  • Active user-developer community
  • Guaranteed network reliability
  • Robust security measures

Wide selection of communication APIs

When choosing a CPaaS company, the first thing you should explore is the range and quality of their available APIs. This will tell you whether or not they can meet your business needs and offer a wide range of features, integrations, and functionalities.

Easily integrated with your current software

If the APIs and apps provided by your CPaaS provider can’t be integrated with your current software and apps, you’re with the wrong provider. Make sure your chosen provider can easily provide or develop APIs, apps, and software that integrate with your current systems.

Full range of communications capabilities

CPaaS may be more DIY than UCaaS, but your CPaaS provider should still provide a full range of communications capabilities, especially if you decide to scale your communications.

There are a wide range of communication features that your CPaaS service providers can offer as customizable APIs to suit you. These include:

  • Call recording, call handling, and analytics
  • Call management tools such as transferring, call routing, and hold functions
  • Integrated messaging platforms
  • Number masking—allows you to connect two users while masking their phone numbers
  • Social media messaging such as Facebook Messaging integrations
  • Contact center and CRM system integrations
  • Low-cost phone calling with voice APIs, including low rates for international calls
  • Security features such as two-factor authentication SMS APIs

Active user-developer community

An active user-developer community means not only is your CPaaS provider constantly creating and updating their APIs, but they’re also connected to their community of users as they do so. Development community functions let you request technical support and new features, and provide feedback, often via RTC channels and community forums.

Guaranteed network reliability

When you start working with a CPaaS provider, make sure you have a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees at least 99% uptime. This and 24/7 technical support will ensure you have a reliable communications platform.

Robust security measures

Security and privacy are essential to business processes and communications. Your chosen CPaaS provider must be compliant with regulations such as:

  • GDPR
  • HIPAA
  • FISMA
  • ISO 27001

Benefits of CPaaS

CPaaS solutions offer many benefits to businesses who want to upgrade their communications and provide a unique, fully-integrated customer experience.

  • Boost brand identity
  • Improve customer experience
  • Supports omnichannel communications
  • Increased scalability
  • Continual innovation

Boost brand identity with customizable features

One of the most appealing things about CPaaS is its ability to provide fully customizable communication features. That means everything from your chatbots to your contact center can be molded to fit your business’s needs, processes, and brand identity.

Improve customer experience

CPaaS providers can build additional functionalities into your communication channels, such as customer recognition tools linked to your CRM system, automated chatbots that can quickly answer questions using conversational AI, and effective call and query routing using interactive voice response (IVR) programs to ensure customers are quickly sent to the right person for their query.

Supports omnichannel communications

CPaaS communications solutions allow businesses to leverage omnichannel communications and improve user experience. That means whether a customer wants to call you, message you, text you, or chat with a chatbot, every communication platform can be seamlessly integrated.

Increased scalability

Communication APIs can be modified by developers within minutes. That means if your business grows and you need more users or channels, this can be done cheaply and quickly. This is what makes CPaaS far more scalable and has more cost savings than traditional business phone systems.

Continual innovation

CPaaS providers and web developers are constantly working to create new and improved communication APIs, mobile apps, and software. This digital transformation is always innovating to ensure that workflows and customer engagement are constantly improving for businesses.

5 CPaaS use cases

CPaaS is already helping businesses across a range of sectors to improve employee communications with customers in a range of ways:

  1. Updates, confirmations, and reminders
  2. Real-time customer support
  3. Anonymous communication
  4. Security checks
  5. Automated customer engagement

Updates, confirmations, and reminders

In industries such as healthcare, missed appointments can become a huge drain on time, resources, and money. That’s why so many healthcare providers already use CPaaS to send patients appointment reminders and confirmations.

Outside of healthcare, many businesses use APIs to send notifications to customers for other purposes, such as shipping updates, order confirmations, and marketing offers via SMS or even via social media messaging platforms.

Real-time customer support

The potential to offer real-time customer support has been mentioned already in this guide. That’s because it’s one of the most attractive functionalities of CPaaS.

With CPaaS, businesses can integrate their contact center, CRM system, and communication channels to give customers an omnichannel user experience that is integrated across their business processes.

Anonymous communication

CPaaS has proved useful to companies like Uber and Airbnb, as it can provide number masking services via apps. This means that two users can be connected to each other in a messaging platform, by text or by phone call, but their phone numbers will be hidden.

This gives full privacy for both parties and is popular with any business that facilitates employee and customer interactions. Customer service and sales representatives may also find this tool useful for communicating with customers and clients without revealing their personal phone numbers.

Security checks

If you’ve ever tried to sign in to your email or a payment platform and been asked to confirm a code that’s sent to your mobile or phone, you’ve experienced how CPaaS can add additional layers of security for users.

This is known as two-factor authentication and it’s becoming a more and more common way to secure online behavior and transactions. Online shopping, banking, and access to private software such as email or messaging platforms often use this form of CPaaS.

Automated customer engagement

Automation is a growing sector for customer communications. Businesses can save time and money by automating certain parts of their customer engagement process.

Chatbots have been on the rise for some time. Customers can interact with an AI-driven bot that can answer questions, direct them to products and help pages, and connect them to a live agent if need be.

Many businesses are also using auto attendants for their phone services. This is an automated receptionist that can be fully customized to your business. Auto attendants can provide a menu of options for inbound calls, route calls to the correct agent or department, and present a professional appearance of the business to anyone who calls.

How CPaaS solutions can help you scale your business

If you want to cherry-pick the best apps and APIs for your business communications needs, finding a CPaaS provider who can tailor a cloud-based communications stack to your needs is essential.

Luckily, 8x8 offers specialized CPaaS business solutions and a world-leading UCaaS platform. Whatever your business needs to improve its communications system, 8x8 can help. Schedule a meeting with one of our tech experts today to find out more.