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    March 8, 2024

    What is CPaaS? Continuant’s Guide to Communication Platform as a Service


    With expanding cloud-based technology, modern businesses have so many solutions available to them as a service. This includes Unified Communications, Contact Centers, and now even Communication Platforms.  

    Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is cloud-based technology that enables organizations to integrate real-time communication features directly into their existing applications without costly infrastructure. 

    The capabilities of this platform are immense, but they do need quite a lot of technical expertise to be used optimally. Fortunately, we’re here to help. This is Continuant’s guide to CPaaS. 

    The Basics of CPaaS 

    A CPaaS solution uses application programming interfaces (APIs), code snippets, and occasionally extra software to help you add more advanced real-time communication features to your communication stack. It makes your environment fully customizable, adding functionality you wouldn’t otherwise get without replacing it entirely. 

    CPaaS is a lot like a LEGO set or one of those fancy Japanese model kits. Instead of pieces of plastic (or die-cast metal if you’ve got the cash), your building blocks are SMS, voice calls, video chat, chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR), and more. In the hands of an experienced developer, these blocks can be snapped together into the perfect new solution or snapped right onto what you’ve already built. 

    Delivered in the cloud and as a service, CPaaS gives you control and flexibility while minimizing excess costs and headaches.  

    The Benefits of CPaaS 

    The ability to build your own omnichannel platform is a powerful thing. There’s virtually no limit to the benefits this solution can provide, but for now, let’s dive into a few of the most significant. 

    • Agility: Pre-built APIs allow new features to be integrated quickly into websites and mobile applications.  
    • Cost Savings: CPaaS operates on a pricing model where you pay for what you want. Not only will you save money upfront, but you also won’t have to stress over potential future expenses.  
    • Scalability: A CPaaS solution can be almost instantly scaled up to handle increased demand or scaled down to conserve resources.  
    • Innovation: CPaaS includes the newest features in omnichannel communications and can easily add new ones in the future. It’s a futureproof way to increase customer satisfaction.  

    The Key Functions of CPaaS 

    If CPaaS is a LEGO set or model kit, these key functions are the individual bricks, blocks, or plastic armor plates that make it all come together. In the hands of an experienced developer, they come together to form the perfect solution. 

    Outbound Calls 

    Outbound calling may seem outdated in modern communications, but there’s always a time and place for it.  

    The APIs in a CPaaS solution make it easy to add outbound calling to your communications stack, and easy to scale up or down. Add or remove phone numbers and calling features to adapt to changes in your environment. 

    Inbound Calls 

    Do you have a dedicated inbound call center? If you do, that’s great! If not, a CPaaS solution can add features like intelligent inbound call routing to the systems you’re using. 

    It all involves setting up webhooks. Like a crafty hunting trap, incoming calls trigger the webhooks and get sent at once to the right agent or team. These webhooks can be programmed with advanced instructions to suit even sprawling organizations with varied communication needs. 

    Text Messaging 

    Calling may be important for your communications, but times are changing. Many of your customers, particularly the younger ones, would prefer it if you just sent a text.  

    A CPaaS solution will allow you to easily add SMS text messaging to your existing infrastructure. Send notifications, alerts, and other important messages directly to your customers from your business phone number. You can also set up SMS integration to allow two-way communication between your agents and customers.  

    It’s a great option to explore if you’re looking for new ways to improve the customer experience. 

    On-demand SIP Trunking 

    CPaaS solutions offer on-demand Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, allowing you to integrate your existing infrastructure with cloud-based applications. The on-demand model makes them much more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective than traditional legacy equipment. 

    Multimedia and Video Messaging 

    SMS integration can be expanded to include Multimedia Messaging (MMS). This is a great feature for sending video messages to your customers. Video provides a way to effectively send your customers highly compelling content. 

    It’s worth mentioning that video and MMS is one of the most demanding features a CPaaS solution can include. Certain providers won’t offer it. Those that do will differ in international messaging capabilities, media storage options, and the size and type of compatible files.  

    Social Media 

    One of the best ways to reach customers today is through social media. A CPaaS platform can integrate platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and the platform formerly known as Twitter to more effectively message your customers. With CPaaS, you can also automate your customer interactions and any of these platforms to make it more efficient.  

    Number Masking 

    CPaaS platforms almost always include number masking, which allows two parties to communicate without revealing phone numbers. Applied to both your agents and your customers, this feature keeps everyone’s identity and other sensitive information locked tightly inside the system.  

    Other Great Uses for CPaaS 

    Now that we know the features a CPaaS solution can provide, let’s explore a few CPaaS use cases. 

    Appointment Confirmations and Updates 

    Best for healthcare. 

    Once you’ve integrated features like SMS and social media integration into your communication stack, sending confirmations and updates to your customers becomes easy. If this communication goes both ways, your customers will also have a convenient method of rescheduling appointments. 

    This method is perfect for healthcare organizations, and can also benefit food delivery, e-commerce, and other businesses that rely on subscription models. 

    Fraud and Abuse Mitigation 

    Best for e-commerce. 

    CPaaS solutions come with a wide variety of security features including one-time passwords (OTPs), two-factor authentication (TFA), secure mobile payment information, and more. These are perfect for organizations that keep customer accounts with payment information, such as online stores or banks. 

    Scalable Voice and Messaging 

    Best for travel and finance. 

    CPaaS allows you to add voice and messaging at scale to your customer-facing applications, allowing them to contact you quickly and easily at any stage of the buyer’s journey. This could be while they’re buying your products or services, or when they check their purchasing history after the fact. 

    This function is perfect for travel and finance organizations, or any other where customers may need your immediate assistance. 

    Automated Customer Interactions 

    Best for customer service. 

    CPaaS solutions are great for person-to-person communication, but they also provide a potential alternative with chatbots, auto-attendants, and other forms of automated communication. 

    A chatbot powered by AI can recall customer interactions and access important data to provide answers to many customer’s questions. They can be deployed on a website chat, SMS messages, or even social media. 

    Any organization working in customer service or other industries that require lots of customer ineractions can benefit tremendously from a friendly chatbot. 

    Building Your Perfect Solution 

    In conclusion, CPaaS solutions can radically transform your communication stack and your customer experience. They’re efficient, scalable, flexible, and powerful, but they don’t come ready out of the box. To get the most out of this kind of solution, you’ll need the help of an expert. 

    At Continuant, we have plenty of experts who would be more than willing to help you build the perfect solution. We have 28 years of experience in communications and have helped organizations large and small get the most out of their environments. We’ll guide you through the process of deploying CPaaS, or turn you in the right direction of a prebuilt UCaaS solution if necessary. 

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    David Shelby

    David Shelby graduated from George Fox University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in English and began writing for Continuant soon after. With the help of Continuant's world-class engineers and subject matter experts, he's dedicated himself to understanding all things business communications. When it comes to UC, AV,...

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