Communications Platforms as a Service Buyer’s Guide, 2018

Understanding the Diverse Competitors and Business Models in the CPaaS Market is Key to Choosing the Right Partner
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Published: 28 Nov 2018

Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) is arguably one of the more disruptive innovations to affect the business communications market in the past five years. CPaaS solutions represent a significant departure from the way businesses of any size have become accustomed to purchasing and deploying communications. Their value proposition lies in providing a powerful toolset to make business communications applications richer and more tightly integrated within business workflows. Similar to other cloud-based services, most CPaaS solutions offer businesses a compelling operating expense (OpEx) alternative to costly capital expenditures (CapEx) to deploy the appropriate communications and network infrastructure needed to securely support application programming interface (API)-driven voice, video, and messaging services. Also important, cloud-based CPaaS offerings are priced at published per-API call or per-minute rates, enabling businesses to pay for the exact amount of services they consume. This is a particularly compelling value proposition for organizations with varying levels of demand or seasonal spikes in business activity. The inherent scalability of cloud architectures also benefits CPaaS, enabling businesses to consume as much or as little of a provider’s API-directed services as needed by their application or work process. Beyond flexible consumption pricing, CPaaS allows businesses to utilize communications in a new way. While private branch exchange (PBX) and unified communications solutions focus on the value of a tightly integrated set of collaboration tools, CPaaS breaks voice, video and messaging services down to very simple but useful elements. With CPaaS, an organization only needs to consume the specific communications element(s) they need. For example, an organization may decide that they want to allow their customers to communicate with their employees using SMS on business numbers. While their existing on-premises UC platform does not support SMS messaging, the business can leverage a CPaaS provider to enable text messaging as an integration or overlay of their existing communications tools. In this example, the business maintains the existing relationship with their voice providers and their preferred UC vendor, while leveraging a CPaaS provider to address a gap in customer interactions. Put another way, CPaaS, with its API-driven architecture, affords businesses the opportunity to leverage voice, video, and messaging elements in a very consumable way. Going forward, CPaaS is not likely to entirely replace a business’ existing UC infrastructure or services, but rather build on that foundation and make communications more effective and better integrated into critical workflows. This buyer’s guide defines the CPaaS market and provides an overview of the very diverse competitive offerings available in the market today. In addition, this study provides detailed reviews of select providers and the value proposition they bring to the CPaaS market. Author: Michael Brandenburg

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