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Are We Entering the Era of CPaaS?


API spelled out in cogs
Image: martialred -
Today is the final day of our Enterprise Connect Digital Conference & Expo 2020, and if you haven’t signed up, there’s still time. We’ve got some great sessions planned for today, and there’s one I especially want to call out: Mark Winther of IDC, one of the leading experts on communications platform as a service (CPaaS), is leading a session entitled, “CPaaS: Moving Beyond the Early Use Cases.”
Those early use cases were pretty basic implementations, mostly centered around integrations that let business applications generate SMS notifications. As Mark points out in his presentation, moving beyond these early cases means more complex, real-time, interactive integrations — classic examples include integrating video into a business application, and making customer interactions more seamless by better integrating communications into marketing automation and contact center systems.
Such next-gen applications may sound familiar because we’ve been talking about them for a while, but the actual implementations have really emerged under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the results have been impressive: For example, Mark notes the success of telemedicine, citing IDC data showing that “84% of virtual [health] care users were first-time users during the pandemic and were very satisfied.”
Mark’s examination of CPaaS brings the event full circle for me, because in Monday’s opening session, our panel of industry experts also wound up focusing on CPaaS as one of the major trends to watch in the next six to 12 months.
“We are at the very, very beginning of a bunch of vendors coming out with a whole bunch of CPaaS solutions,” Jim Burton of C-T Link and BCStrategies predicted. “You’re going to hear a lot more about CPaaS solutions.” That’s because larger enterprises are looking for solutions that integrate communications into their back-office processes, he added.
In addition, “it’s not just process integration, it’s app integration,” Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research added. For example, he cited Peloton, whose application is built on Vonage’s APIs. “You couldn’t do Peloton using Zoom and [Peloton’s] interface [separately] and expect users to flip back and forth.” This ease of use is just as necessary in business applications as it is with a consumer product like Peloton, he added. “The ability to just embed video and embed chat, embed voice, greatly increase[s] productivity,” he said.
We’re likely at the beginning of a long-term shift to greater remote work that will persist even after the pandemic. And as enterprises turn to CPaaS to streamline processes and communications in direct response to other current situations, they’ll then be able to leverage these advances for whatever new realities come along in the next era.
The enterprise communications industry — both vendors and enterprises — have a lot more innovating to do. We’ll be continuing to bring the innovators together at Enterprise Connect — online for now and, someday — hopefully before too long — in person again.