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Should you use CPaaS vendors or develop communications in-house?

While some organizations prefer to develop communications capabilities in-house, deploying vendors' communications APIs offers benefits. Two factors can influence the best approach.

Company size doesn't influence the decision to use communications platform as a service, or CPaaS, and APIs. Organizations of all sizes can deploy technology from API and CPaaS vendors for projects such as embedding video into an app or enabling SMS notifications. But two factors should influence your decision-making process: your project requirements and your company's DNA.

Your project requirements. Some projects lend themselves to the use of APIs and CPaaS for the following reasons:

  • whether you need to access external data available only through an API; and
  • when external APIs and CPaaS might be the more cost-effective option.

Here are some examples of when it makes more sense to develop some projects in-house:

  • The project has certain restrictions that prohibit it from running in a cloud environment, which eliminates the use of most API and CPaaS vendors.
  • The core competency and capability your organization delivers overlaps with API or CPaaS vendors.
  • Your business model doesn't fit with what's supported by API or CPaaS vendors.

Your company's DNA. Often, deciding whether to use APIs or CPaaS depends on the DNA of the company. The prevalent attitude in many organizations is around the idea that projects can be done better in-house. As a result, many companies tend to favor in-house development over buying API and CPaaS offerings.

On the other hand, while a decision to develop in-house might be best in the long run once a project is successfully underway, it may not be beneficial in the early stages of the project.

For example, a telehealth startup can easily use CPaaS in the early stages of a project to embed digital communications, such as video, to reduce time to market and development costs. The cost of paying CPaaS vendors for telehealth traffic will not be substantially higher than the cost to develop communications capabilities internally, because traffic is limited by the number of doctors communicating over the service.

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