June 08, 2017
Over the years, the UC space has become highly commoditized, and in reality no one should be surprised. As more businesses have tapped into CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) it has given way to technological innovations which have propelled UC providers to finally begin to realize why the enterprise market has been so slow to embrace the cloud, and what they need to do about it.
Recognizing What Enterprises Are Waiting For
Traditionally, the enterprise market favors on-premise UC solutions where it’s the business that maintains 100 percent control over the network infrastructure, custom developed applications, and integrations. With hosted UC platforms, businesses lose this level of control and oversight.
For most SMBs, this isn’t generally an issue since the features offered by most hosted providers suit their needs and purposes just fine. However, the truth is that many hosted UC providers portend that their platforms are enterprise-ready when they actually aren’t. There’s a reason why they can’t find the mass quantity of enterprise customers ready to convert over to their hosted solutions. The reason is they are missing a critical offering, called CPaaS.
Early Adopter CPaaS Providers
We already see CPaaS taking many markets by storm with companies like Twilio, a big player in the game which offers developers powerful APIs not just for voice and video communications, but also for SMS, chat, and two factor authentication services for online products and applications.
Then there is ShoreTel, which bought out Corvisa, a SIP provider and early adopter of custom IVR development services which is now called Summit. Many wondered at the time why ShoreTel purchased Corvisa, a relatively small SIP provider. But, now that CPaaS has gained popularity, the acquisition can now be seen as a smart forward thinking strategic move that put ShoreTel at the forefront of the CPaaS market.
Avaya is another player that saw CPaaS coming, and it doubled down to provide a revenue generating service that makes it possible for enterprises to develop custom interactive applications securely and robustly in the cloud on a platform that is strong enough to handle the demand and bandwidth that enterprise level businesses require.
Enterprises Need CPaaS to Enter the UC Cloud
If UC providers can’t figure out by now why they’ve struggled with convincing enterprise grade businesses to convert over to the cloud, I’m not sure what planet they’ve been hanging out on for the past few years.
As far as the enterprise business is concerned, CPaaS means delivering a customer experience that dramatically improves business process efficiency while reducing costs, or achieving an ROI with the same quality and development control they are used to with their on-premise solution.
Current UC hosted platforms are lacking what the enterprise market needs. And, to meet that need, it takes more than what they may be willing to invest. Despite touting the many grandiose features which work great for the SMB market, they need to understand what the enterprise market has been waiting for.
Customer Interaction is the Driving Force Behind CPaaS
In the enterprise market it’s all about delivering a positive customer experience through interactions as well as the BI (business intelligence) gathering to support those interactions. CPaaS is just the medium that provides all the tools needed for custom development applications to be built that can work in the cloud, integrate with VoIP, integrate with backend systems that aren’t in the cloud, and provide enterprises full control over the design, configuration, and modification of interactive applications right at their fingertips, literally.
Companies are witnessing that, as automation continues to become more normalized, customers are preferring options like self-service options vs. being on hold for 30 minutes to talk to an agent, or preferring the convenience of text message appointment reminders instead of receiving a confirmation call from a live person.
Customers are preferring services where there is at least a sense of privacy while conducting transactions over the phone, like using a credit card to pay with pay by phone prompts, rather than speaking to a live agent. They’d rather use their keypad to enter in their SSN than give it to a stranger on the other end. The list goes on and on.
Just as enterprises need CPaaS to consider a move to the cloud, UC providers need CPaaS to attract more enterprises to their mix of cloud customers. CPaaS is a huge opportunity for hosted providers, but this requires investment and a forward thinking game plan. My opinion is that not all are cut out for the task quite yet; it’s truly as simple as that.
About the Author
Joe Rittenhouse is President of Business Development at Converged Technology Professionals, a nationally recognized telecommunications and IT consulting business with offices throughout the Midwest. His telecom experience spans over two decades, and his company is at the forefront of the CPaaS industry. He is also a self-proclaimed seasoned tour veteran of the Grateful Dead.