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UCaaS, CCaaS, CPaaS: Working as One for Today’s Realities
If ever enterprises could benefit from bringing together UC, contact center, and communications platform as a service before, they sure can now, as Diane Myers, a senior research director at Omdia, pointed out in this week’s Enterprise Connect Virtual session, “Sourcing the Cloud: Combining UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS to Support the New Realities of Work” (now available on demand).
In fact, only a short time ago, Myers’ intended focus for this presentation was on the benefits of bringing together UCaaS and CPaaS, she said. But the new reality that’s unfolded over the past few weeks has made it clear that CCaaS needs to be part of the conversation, she added.
The unusual circumstance businesses find themselves in now, with COVID-19, has everybody struggling to remain productive. As everyone has quickly come to learn, today’s reality involves loads of remote employees who have never before worked out of the office, rampant remote conferencing and video meetings with clients and partners, and adapting to customer service provided by cadres of agents working in disparate locations. Businesses are flooded with customer, client, and patient inquiries at unprecedented levels, Myers said.
Enterprises are grabbing on to the as-a-service model, be it as UC, contact center, or communications platform pieces, to address these new realities, Myers said. From a business user perspective, UC certainly isn’t new. But with our new reality, “we really encourage the unified approach – working with one vendor, one provider, to bring it all together,” Myers said. If you’re already using cloud UC services but haven’t turned on all the different modes of communications, you’re probably going to want to do that. Or, if you’re still running UC on a premises system, then look get the additional mobility and collaboration capabilities via a cloud overlay – “at least in the short term so your employees continue to be productive,” she added.
Externally, businesses have got to look at how to handle inquiries in whatever form they can, from voice to SMS, personal digital assistants, social media, video, chats, and so on… because people today use a lot of different channels, Myers said. Sharing a personal experience, Myers told of a European airline that was only taking flight cancellations via social media — “ahead of the curve” — in trying to engage with customers. Now, more than ever, she added, people are looking beyond voice.
The cloud model comes into play today in the following ways, Myers described:
- CCaaS – to scale operations and enable new channels, because customer expectations are rising all the time – how they want it, when, and where
- UCaaS – to provide flexibility and support for workers, regardless of location, with collaboration, messaging, mobility, and more
- CPaaS – to enable real-time communications of all sorts via API
Combining these services can help provide the frictionless communications that’s always been important but has been elevated with today’s situation, Myers said. UCaaS has proven essential for business continuity, and “failover for home agents is really blowing up the contact center,” she said. But also critical is integrating communications workflows through APIs that are inherent in CPaaS, said Myers, noting that a handful or vendors offer all three types of cloud services.
Common embedded communications workflows include two-factor authentication, dispatch notifications, call tracking, and appointment reminders, Myers said. Think about this in terms of the COVID-19 crisis, she suggested. “There is nothing more critical across the world right now than healthcare infrastructure,” and a single platform that can deal with these critical situations today is ideal, she said.
Imagine you’re feeling ill and worried that you might have COVID-19 so you’re into calling a doctor’s office or an ambulatory service — it doesn’t matter which because they’re all integrated, Myers said. The person you reach, over a cloud PBX service, can pull up your chart and then connect you with a doctor, potentially via videoconferencing. Or maybe you’ve already been tested, and the doctor needs to get deliver results or gather more information from you. That’s all integrated in, too, via messaging APIs.
This is a real example: This healthcare network, she said, has “taken their UC, they’ve taken their APIs, and they’ve extended informal contact center capabilities for outreach so they could have a rolling concierge, not agents, but nurses on call … so you can get someone on the phone.” It has been able to set this up quickly using UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS from a single provider, she noted.
At the end of the day, “it’s all about providing frictionless communications,” Myers said. Utilizing UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS together can potentially change the new ways of working, especially if you’re dealing with consumers.