Originally Posted on Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Blog by Michael Brandenburg Senior Analyst
For generations, how businesses communicated with their customers, partners and internally has been dictated by their service providers and communications vendors. Providers and vendors historically offered a limited number of services that met the needs of the broadest range of customers, with customized solutions delivered at exorbitant prices. Business processes and workflows within an organization had to be adapted to account for a fixed set of communications services, often adding manual steps or taking business users outside of the workflow completely.
The convergence of voice over IP (VoIP), cloud-based services and most recently, communications platforms as a service (CPaaS) has upended the lopsided relationship between businesses and their communications suppliers. Each of these technology solutions offers a distinct piece of the puzzle. VoIP and cloud architectures make communications services easier to both consume and deliver by eliminating the physical lines and circuits of traditional telecom services as well as the significant capital expenditures of deploying communications hardware to business locations on-premises.
Most disruptive however, is what CPaaS brings to the table: programmability and integration. CPaaS breaks voice, video and messaging services down to very simple but valuable elements that can be embedded within business applications or integrated tightly with business workflows. With a few lines of code or a workflow designer, businesses can mold their communications services around the way their business operates, as well as enable previously unavailable capabilities such as SMS messages on business lines, text message notifications and advanced call flows. Using application programming interfaces (APIs) organizations are limited only by their imagination to in terms of how they communicate with their customers.
As consumers, most of us have already have had experience with how businesses are automating workflows by leveraging CPaaS solutions. Text message alerts from the doctor’s office to remind us of upcoming appointments are a simplistic but very effective use of CPaaS to streamline the previously manual process of patient follow-ups and reminders. Yet this common use case only scratches the surface of what can be done with communications APIs and application integrations. For example, legal firms are increasingly integrating their billing and scheduling applications with CPaaS solutions in order to automate the tedious task of associating phone calls (and billable time) with specific clients. In this case, the call Metadata exposed via CPaaS is directly linked to the billing system, automatically associating client phone numbers and creating billing records for the call.
While many of these integrations and programmatic links were technically available with legacy services, they were cumbersome to develop and maintain. CPaaS streamlines the process greatly, allowing nearly any business to take advantage of advanced integration and analytics. It is no coincidence that CPaaS is a fast-growing sector of the enterprise communications market as many organizations undertake digital transformation efforts. Digital transformation aims to fundamentally rethink all of an organization’s business processes and workflows to improve worker productivity, operational efficiency and business agility. The programmability and integration capabilities of CPaaS allows business communications to play an active role in eliminating cumbersome, error-prone or manual processes and foster new ideas and opportunities to more effectively engage with clients and streamline their operations.
In our ongoing research, Frost & Sullivan tracks disruption in the communications services market and is keeping a close eye on the services and solution providers that are enabling businesses to take full advantage of the benefits of programmability and application integration through CPaaS. IntelePeer is one such provider disrupting the enterprise communication space with its CPaaS offerings. To read an excerpt from Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 Communications as a Service Buyer’s Guide, including an inside look at IntelePeer’s stance in the market, click here.