Buyer's Handbook:

Finding the best communications platform as a service for your firm

Evaluating CPaaS vendors, business case are key initial steps

Before venturing down the path toward a communications platform as a service, organizations need to build their business case and evaluate potential CPaaS vendors. While CPaaS can curb communication costs by eliminating large, upfront investments in back-end infrastructure, organizations also need to determine their individual use case.

CPaaS products and their accompanying APIs enable organizations and developers to embed communications into business applications. Instead of toggling among applications to work and collaborate with colleagues and customers, for instance, employees can message, call and video chat within their everyday business workflows.

Before embarking on an evaluation of CPaaS vendors and products, organizations should assess the capabilities of their current unified communications providers. Many of these UC providers offer APIs that organizations use to build features -- such as click to call or video chat -- into customer-facing websites, which eliminates the need for a CPaaS provider.

Organizations should also evaluate CPaaS vendors and products based on the specific services that are required. Some organizations, for example, might just need messaging, while other businesses will need messaging, voice and video communications.

In addition, CPaaS vendors' global reach is an important evaluation point. A potential provider should service the geographies where your organization is located and have relationships with carriers in those locations. Some providers have stronger international calling coverage in certain geographic areas compared to other vendors.

According to IDC, the worldwide voice and text messaging CPaaS market is expected to grow from $867 million in 2016 to $8.2 billion in 2021. It is moving from a hyper-growth startup phase to a critical-mass phase, IDC said.

In this buyer's handbook on CPaaS, Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar details the market to help buyers differentiate vendors, pinpoint potential providers and eventually find the ideal service.