Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) vs. Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)

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In recent years , the use of cloud-based solutions have become increasingly popular across all industries. Businesses need reliable, flexible, and cost-effective ways to communicate with their customers, and as-a-service cloud platforms make it possible for any organization to build, deploy, and run its own contact center system. 

Contact centers come with many benefits which include business continuity, high availability, security, ease of deployment, and integration. This trend has given rise to an industry known as Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) and Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS).

 According to Gartner, “The overall end-user spending for contact center solutions will grow at a 7.1% CAGR in current U.S. dollars to reach $15.2 billion in 2023.”

What is CCaaS?

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)  is an evolution of cloud telephony and is all about supporting multichannel customer engagement via agent, web chat, social media, SMS, mobile apps, and more deployed on top of one or more cloud service provider platforms through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model. 

CCaaS integrates data from various internal and external systems such as CRM or marketing automation to create actionable intelligence in real time. Businesses can differentiate themselves by offering customers a consistent experience across channels, 24/7. In addition, they can utilize multichannel analytics capabilities to track trends and performance over time, as well as enrich customer profiles with cross-channel touchpoints.

Also read: Powering Digital Transformation with Customer Data Platforms

Benefits of CCaaS

Not only does a contact center solution help with operational efficiencies and agent efficiency, but it also provides several other benefits for your business. Here are five ways contact center cloud computing help enterprises: 

  • Lower costs: With communications costs going up and up, finding ways to save money is key. When you utilize CCaaS, you save money on many operational aspects including support, maintenance, and upgrades. 
  • Flexibility:  Cloud-based call centers give you access to features that don’t exist in on-premises solutions. For example, when an agent goes offline in an on-premises environment, calls are directed elsewhere or queues grow until that agent returns online. With CCaaS, if an agent becomes unavailable due to illness or computer failure, calls are directed to another available agent immediately. 
  • Upgrades: To upgrade hardware or software with an on-premises solution, you have to take your entire system down completely. This can take days. With a cloud service, upgrades take place automatically and instantly — and usually without disruption to your end users. 
  • Customer support: If you’re running a client/server infrastructure for customer support, customers who experience problems often have to wait hours or even days before getting help from someone at your company. Cloud service allows customers instant access via chat, email, or phone number through which they can speak directly with a human being at any time of day from anywhere around the world. 
  • Flexible billing: On-premises systems require expensive contracts for enterprise clients. CCaaS billing models make it easier to pay as you go.

What is CPaaS?

Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) allows enterprises to add communications channels such as messaging, voice, video, chatbots, and more to their ecosystems through self-service tools. Enterprises can develop their customized solution or leverage third-party app development services for creating new apps on top of CPaaS APIs without incurring too much cost. CPaaS providers offer one of two deployment models. Hosted or cloud, hosted solutions integrate directly into your current business applications, whereas cloud-based options give you greater flexibility but require integration with other enterprise applications after implementation is complete.

Benefits of CPaaS

CPaaS combines two essential elements of business — communication and customer service — into one platform. 

  • Better communication: By bringing together voice, text, chat, social media, video conferencing, screen sharing, etc., within one single interface you’ll have better access to your customers regardless of how they want to connect with you. 
  • Real-time data collection: Real-time information is critical for contact centers that need to know what is happening now to solve problems effectively and quickly.
  • Improved efficiency: Integrating different channels improves agent efficiency by reducing clicks/touches/logins. It also allows agents to work more effectively since there will be less jumping between screens or applications.
  • The right level of customization for your company’s needs: With APIs, you can change features, configure reports, integrate external systems, personalize navigation menus — and much more.

Also read: 7 Trends in Enterprise Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC)

Similarities Between CCaaS and CPaaS

CCaaS and CPaaS solutions both enable companies to handle communication needs without having to deal with the complexities. Here are some similarities you should be aware of between CCaaS and CPaaS offerings.

  1. Cloud-based services. Both services offer companies an alternative to traditional on-premise phone systems by operating from a centralized, cloud-based platform. Customers can deploy their communications from anywhere with an internet connection, so they aren’t tied down to a particular location or hardware infrastructure. 
  1. Productivity tools. Both allow users to access numerous productivity tools within a unified user interface — for example, contact databases, voicemail messages, notes —  making it easy for workers who collaborate remotely to stay connected and work together more efficiently.
  1. Advanced features and services. Both include advanced capabilities such as customizable IVR (interactive voice response) technology, call recording, and team collaboration features that make them more than basic VoIP business phones.
  1. Cost efficiencies. Both provide organizations with significant cost savings compared to legacy on-premise solutions.
  1. Flexibility. Deploying either service offers businesses flexibility when it comes to where employees access their communications system. 
  1. Reduced maintenance costs. With either option, businesses avoid hefty costs associated with running data centers.
  1. Scalability. Either can grow with your company as your needs increase.

CCaaS vs. CPaaS: How are they Different?

  1. Functionality. CCaaS allows for communication within a single app, whereas CPaaS uses APIs to connect apps from different providers. 
  1. Flexibility. While both cater to small businesses, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and large enterprises, CPaaS gives users more control over how they want their systems configured or used.
  1. Robustness. Because of their nature, SMEs aren’t focused on performance and scalability issues. However, some CPaaS solutions offer high availability features that could benefit SMEs looking to grow. 
  1. Pricing. Prices may vary depending on the provider, plan type, and number of users, overall pricing is often cheaper for CCaaS compared to CPaaS.
  1. Integration. CCaaS offers software integration tools with turnkey solutions, whereas CPaaS integrates multiple tools from different providers to create unique or customized solutions. 
  1. Scalability. The scalability offered by CCaaS depends on users’ needs, additional nodes or capacity can be added easily at any time. While CPaaS allows customizations, it doesn’t offer full flexibility in terms of adding more physical nodes for load balancing purposes. 

Key Considerations When Evaluating CCaaS vs CPaaS

As you evaluate your options to replace or supplement on-premises PBX or UC systems, you should also evaluate which of these two services will best serve your organization’s needs. For many companies, implementing cloud communication and collaboration features provides productivity gains while increasing overall employee satisfaction. 

A key consideration is whether an organization needs just communication features such as call controls and virtual contact center capabilities, or if they need communication features integrated with collaboration tools like voicemail transcription, web conferencing apps, instant messaging, social media integrations, and more. 

Read next: The Impact of AI on Unified Communications

Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi is an experienced B2B technology and finance writer and award-winning public speaker. He is the co-author of the e-book, The Ultimate Creativity Playbook, and has written for various publications, including eWEEK, Enterprise Networking Planet, Tech Republic, eSecurity Planet, CIO Insight, Enterprise Storage Forum, IT Business Edge, Webopedia, Software Pundit, and Geekflare.

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