UCaaS vs. CCaaS vs. CPaaS: What's the Difference

ucaas ccass cpaas

UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaas are all technologies that have emerged in the last 20 years as customers demand faster and more convenient ways of reaching organizations. Companies (call centers, sales, and service teams especially) need the ability to quickly reorganize and update their communication strategies. 2020 accelerated that trend as the world adjusted to remote workforces and constantly changing conditions. 

Let’s take a closer look at Unified Communications, Contact Center, and Communication Platforms as a service. 

Similarities Between UCaaS, CCaas, and CPaaS

Although UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS serve different functions, there are a several common benefits between these services. Those include: 

  • Cloud-based services (quick and easy installation, no hardware)
  • Lower costs than traditional phone systems
  • Improves employee productivity and reduces errors via automation and integrations
  • Scalability and flexibility: 
  • More advanced reporting and analytics capabilities

Cloud-based call center applications have emerged as an effective way to grow a call center while keeping costs reasonable. Service providers such as AVOXI build the software, maintain the servers that power it, upgrade the code, and provide ongoing tech support. Call centers don’t need to pay for space to host bulky on-premise servers or databases, nor maintain extra IT staff.

Furthermore, the user experience of these tools keeps improving. UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS are more realistic alternatives today than on-premise phone systems or legacy technologies compared to 15 years ago when companies such as Avaya or ShoreTel dominated the market.

What is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)?

UCaaS is the acronym for Unified Communications as a Service. UCaaS vendors streamline and integrate your communication channels and your people. Areas of focus for UCaaS vendors usually include your voice, conferencing, SMS, and chat applications.

According to Gartner, “unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a cloud-delivered unified communications model that supports six communications functions: enterprise telephony, meetings (audio/video/web conferencing), unified messaging, instant messaging and presence (personal and team), mobility, and communications-enabled business processes.”

UCaaS providers own and maintain the platform and software. Your company doesn’t need more hardware or infrastructure because the Cloud hosts UCaaS services that your agents access via the Internet. Customers get a better support experience because a UCaaS lets them contact your business in their preferred way. Meanwhile, agents can access more company tools and data to help customers without having to toggle back and forth between applications.

UCaaS platforms are becoming popular as consumers demand to reach companies through their preferred medium and as companies look for a solution that will let their teams manage multiple streams from one interface.

Benefits of UCaaS

  • Integrated communications: Agents can more easily track their workload through the UCaaS-supported tools and their company’s existing internal communication systems.
  • Flexibility: Add another communication channel with a few tweaks to your software and a little team training.
  • Cost-effective: No expensive hardware to purchase or on-premise phone architecture to reconfigure.
  • Speed to first call: Plug and play functionality. IT completes expansions, reductions, reorganizations, and other changes to a call center’s structure in the cloud.
  • Better customer experience: Customers can reach a company using their preferred channel – social, mobile, email, live chat, phone – while the call center agent has a better ability to access all company tools across the UCaaS interface.

What is Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)?

CCaaS is the acronym for Contact Center as a Service. CCaaS vendors build products on APIs (application programming interfaces) that work across multiple operating systems and Internet browsers. According to Gartner, CCaaS generally includes: 

  • Automated call distribution
  • IVR / Virtual Attendant
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • Call recording feature suite
  • Live monitoring and agent coaching feature suite
  • Inbound and outbound dialing with a softphone application

CCaaS providers host the platform and calls, and a good provider will update the software regularly. Like UCaaS and CPaaS, there is not hardware required as the platform is hosted in the cloud. Customers get a better support experience as UCaaS lets them connect with your business with their preferred method. Meanwhile, agents can access more company tools and data to help customers without having to toggle back and forth between applications.

Benefits of CCaaS

  • Fast startup: Many CCaaS providers advertise their software as “out of the box” or “plug and play,” meaning a company can metaphorically take a CCaaS offering out of the box (or download folder) and begin using it as soon as they install it on their devices.
  • Value: The price of using CCaaS is significantly less than the investment in hardware, server space and specialized labor an on-site phone system requires. They’re a great value for startups and nonprofits.
  • Feature variety: Voice, text, and video calls are all part of a typical CCaaS platform, so customers can connect with your company in a variety of ways.
  • Analytics: CCaaS lets companies track calls, review call content, and monitor agent performance.

What is CPaaS: Communications Platform as a Service?

Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) is an extension of both CCaaS and UCaaS. It’s a cloud-based telephone platform that lets companies add communications features to their existing applications without needing completely new hardware or infrastructure, and without needing extended technical expertise. For example, if your business already hosts a mobile app, CPaaS could let your support team speak with customers through your app instead of through their phone app.

CPaaS lets you develop real-time communications features without having to build your own tech stack. A CPaaS platform usually includes sample code, pre-built applications, an application programming interface (API) to let you integrate desired solutions, and other popular communication software tools. Some companies may offer integration libraries. Software vendors, communication service providers, systems integrators and hardware retailers make up the CPaaS market.

Benefits of using CPaaS

Scalability: Companies of any size can easily use a CPaaS since there is no hardware or infrastructure to install.

Customization: Organizations can integrate their existing communication apps with a CPaaS through the platform’s API. In some cases, they can choose additional integrations from a provider-curated library or from a user community.

Speed to first call: Shorter time required to be up and running on the new platform compared to an on-premise hardware overhaul.

Minimized training needs: Employees learn to use a new software program, not an entirely new equipment ecosystem.

Affordable: Compared to on-premise systems, CPaaS lets businesses pay for only the services they need. Plus, the community-based nature of many CPaaS platforms translates into fewer developer-based expenses.

Drawbacks of Using CPaaS

Expense: The increased customization of CPaaS platforms makes this service out of reach for some smaller businesses. However, CPaaS is still less expensive than overhauling an on-premise system.

Complexity: More bells and whistles on a communications system means a company must invest more time and funds supporting, repairing, and improving it, even with the platform provider helping.

UCaaS vs. CCaaS vs. CPaaS

Functionality and accessibility to UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS has come so far in a short amount of time, and that trend is only going to continue! With nearly 20 years of experience in global communications and contact center services, AVOXI is a well established leader for many use-cases between these three "as a service" solutions. 

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