Rohit Tripathi, Chief Product Officer, and Mirko Benetti, VP, Head of Sales EMEA and APJ at SAP Digital Interconnect, look at how CPaaS helps developers benefit the enterprise.
CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) solutions have long been popular in technology circles, especially among developers who appreciate how such capabilities can simplify the development process and reduce the time and complexity needed to bring a new digital engagement solution to market.
In recent years, however, the popularity of CPaaS has extended beyond its traditional IT stronghold, as businesses of all types and sizes have become more digitalized, and it has become more widely recognised that in fact, CPaaS solutions and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), drive the digital economy.
Because enterprises today recognise that a key element of success in the digital transformation of a business is the ability to drive end point connections, whether these end points are people or things. The more end points the enterprise connects and networks it enables, the more success it will have in digitisation. And this is where CPaaS has become so critical, because it drives these connections between the enterprise, people – including its own employees and its customers – and things, by which we mean the Internet of Things (IoT), in which sensors monitor and control everything from the temperature of a cold-chain shipment to the status of a valve on a pipeline thousands of miles away.
On the customer engagement side of things, think about CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. In recent years, these have evolved from simple systems of record to platforms that need to be able to engage with customers across multiple channels, aligned with each customer’s preference. So if one customer wants to engage via WhatsApp, the enterprise needs to be able to do so. And the same for the next customer, in a different part of the world, who prefers WeChat. And for the next who prefers e-mail, or Facebook Messenger or whatever it might be. Moreover, enterprises need a robust intelligent failover system in place to orchestrate the delivery of messages, so that if the customer has not received or read the message on their preferred channel, it can be redirected and resent using their second choice, so that more messages to customers get through, more of the time.
CPaaS players and enterprises should not be in the business of predicting the success or failure of one channel over another, or of defining a communications channel for the customer. They should be focused on intelligent interconnectivity and embrace the diversity of channels, and the relative popularity of different channels with individual customers across different industries, use cases and geographies.
The market of one
It really comes down to what many marketers have thought of as the Holy Grail for the past decade or so: addressing the market of one. To do so effectively, you cannot simply broadcast the same message to all of your customers and ignore their different needs and preferences. Nor can you insist that they meet you on the channel of your choice. Instead, you must meet them on theirs and according to their terms, and this is exactly what CPaaS enables.
Most any enterprise can reach out to customers using digital channels. But only a reputable CPaaS partner can easily integrate multiple channels with one another and with third-party enterprise applications, as well as enable the delivery and scalability of messages to reach customers around the world. So whether it’s SMS, e-mail, in-app push, social channels, chatbots, RCS or support for multiple IoT SIM form factors, a CPaaS leader will have the reach and all the right connections, APIs and developer resources in place and easily accessible.
Not only that, they will also have a deep-seated understanding of the regulatory constraints, compliance demands and best practices in different parts of the world, so that the enterprise does not fall foul of ever-changing regulations relating to things such as data privacy, for example.
So it’s not just a case of having the ability to offer different channels and tools. It’s more about a full 360-degree service where the CPaaS provider simplifies the complexity of dealing with siloed platforms and data and can guide the enterprise to build and enhance the personalized journey and experience for the individual.
Of course, this is not the only possible approach. In recent years, single-point service providers have grown in popularity due to the strong demand for APIs. They make it very easy to buy and deploy digital communications, but often lack critical developer service and support. In addition, no matter how good the development team, apps and services built by combining single APIs (sometimes from different sources), it may be difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade in the future as needs and technologies change. By contrast, apps and services built using full-stack CPaaS vendors are scalable and futureproof.
Leading CPaaS providers also recognise that enterprises are at different stages of digitisation. Some who are further down the path on their digitisation journey may want individual APIs to create their own custom solutions, while others may want a fully-packaged, end-to-end programmable solution to address their specific needs[DM1] .
Developer influence and support
CPaaS leaders have long recognised that developers are a key factor in all of this. As businesses have become more digitalized and customer experiences more personalized, the influence of developers on line-of-business apps and API decisions and implementation has increased. Every business today is data-driven, so it’s vital that businesses open access to their data and enable it to be shared across the enterprise to improve multichannel engagement and omnichannel experiences. This has been a key factor in the growth and success of the developer’s influence.
Developers also receive comprehensive support in the form of accessible documentation and targeted support, including granular details about the options they can set in the API, relating to things such as message sent and message read alerts. Other support services include data security and privacy, analytics and developer support forums and communities.
Multichannel capabilities that CPaaS delivers, backed by failover capabilities; developer support; the ability to integrate with existing apps; global connectivity; and local market and regulatory knowledge, all combine to deliver a great experience for the developer and end user, and an effective and profitable one for the enterprise. It enables the developer and enterprise to bring value to the customer fast enough to be relevant and to retain their loyalty. What enterprise wouldn’t want that?
To learn more about how you can realize the benefits of CPaaS for your organization, read “Communications APIs: Mapping the Developer Lifecycle”; “The Business Value of CPaaS and Key Attributes When Selecting the Best CPaaS Partner”; “The Critical Role of CPaaS in Reaching Customers on their Channels of Choice”; and join our community.