An important, although perhaps predictable, phenomenon of the past two years has been that the changes in business and consumer behavior that emerged in the wake of the pandemic seem to be sticky.
A significant portion of the office workforce developed a strong taste for hybrid working; for example, 85% of surveyed British office workers said they want to retain the option of working from home even after the return to “normal”.
Businesses have responded by acquiescing, with over 50% worldwide offering the hybrid model, putting us in a world of far greater remote interconnectivity. This has exponentially increased the number of communication channels now used on a day-to-day basis: team chat, business phone apps, video meetings and other rich messaging options such as WhatsApp, chatbots and more.
It’s not only business users either: digital adoption among consumers has also skyrocketed. In Europe, consumer digital adoption jumped from 81 to 95%, with evidence of those numbers staying largely the same even today.
These are all exciting developments, but have created quite a messy situation: with so many channels all being used simultaneously, unless they are working well in unison, there are many opportunities for lost messaging threads, forgotten requests and time and money lost combining separate messaging streams.
This is where cloud-based communications platform providers, whether that’s CPaaS, UCaaS and XCaaS come in: they can help streamline and tidy up the confusion, and improve both customer experience/service, and internal comms.
What is CPaaS (Communications platform as a Service)?
In 2020, global CPaaS revenue reached $5.9 billion, according to the IDC, and it is expected to reach up to $21.7 billion by 2025. The pandemic has shifted consumer demands and expectations for getting the information they want, when they want, through their channel of choice.
The dire need for companies to provide this seamlessly has allowed CPaaS providers to flourish. CPaaS is a platform for businesses, combining the reliability and back-end of proven communication services with their own customer applications, with the help of APIs. An example would be using a chat app API to integrate messaging platforms that customers may already be using like Facebook Messenger or Viber. This allows developers to embed chat, voice and video capabilities into customer facing applications.
CPaaS gives companies control over their customer engagement solutions, allowing for the integration of multiple applications and systems they use, powering the customer journey. In 2020, only 20% of global enterprises implemented API-enabled CPaaS, and it is predicted that by 2023 that will jump to 90%. CPaaS allows companies to grow their digital footprint with the help of advanced communications, turning it into a speedy value generator.
What is UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?
With various predictions that the global market will grow between $70 billion by 2028 (Fortune Business Insights), to $79.3 billion 2024 (Transparency Market Research), one thing is for certain: UCaaS is on the up.
Studies show that employees spend an hour a day toggling between different communication applications to complete a task, which can in turn reduce focus. With UCaaS, communication applications are consolidated into one platform, reducing app overload and creating efficient workflows - a one-stop solution for convenient communication.
UCaaS typically supports six functions:
- Enterprise Telephony
- Meetings (Audio/Video/Web Conferencing)
- Unified Messaging
- Instant Messaging & Presence (Personal & Teams)
- Communications-enabled business processes
UCaaS suppliers own and maintain the platform and software which is designed for internal channels/employees, unifying communications into a consistent experience regardless of device or location. Firms are able to leverage UCaaS capabilities to enhance business interactions amongst employees and consumers.
What is XCaaS (Experience Communications as a Service)?
A relatively new development in Cloud-based communications, XCaaS (Experience Communications as a Service) describes a platform that fully integrates cloud native contact center, voice, team chat, meetings and CPaaS capabilities. 77% of organizations are planning to integrate XCaaS, indicating its popularity. As a system that merges CPaaS and UCaaS onto a single platform, XCaaS supports communication requirements of all employees as they work to deliver differentiated customer experiences.
According to Metrigy Research, companies that have implemented XCaaS systems have experienced 100% revenue growth, 57% customer ratings improvement and 37% agent efficiency improvements. Further research also shows that 82% of organizations reported increased business agility and flexibility due to XCaaS. With emerging trends from both before and during the pandemic, there is now a particular focus on integrating customer and employee experience to further improve and address customer engagement.
Business challenges on the horizon
While forecasts paint an enticing picture for Communications as a Service providers, a major challenge they face is to have modern and robust sales and order management processes, and subsequent technical architecture to take full advantage of growth opportunities. This helps;
- Seamlessly manage a wide product span (connectivity, networking & security, voice, messaging and managed IT)
- Tailor solutions to key verticals, e.g: Healthcare or automotive
- Integrate an often growing number of internal systems
- Increase volume and speed of sales through reduced complexity
- Ensure error-free quotes and smooth order fulfillment
- Maintain effective governance
After all the changes brought about by the past two years - acceleration of digital adoption among consumers, and expansion of digital communication channels among businesses - there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. This is the new normal for businesses, and they need services like CPaaS, UCaaS and XCaaS to operate efficiently.
In order to satisfy their customer needs, CPaaS, UCaaS and XCaaS providers in turn need to achieve the highest standard of operational efficiency. This is where CloudSense can help.