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CPaaS market evolves to meet changing business needs

Changing user needs are transforming the CPaaS market as vendors look to provide tools for nondevelopers and enhance communications API capabilities.

More organizations are looking to communication integrations that enhance employee workflows and collaboration, as well as improve customer interactions. Communications platform as a service addresses these integration needs by providing APIs to embed communications into business applications. Enterprise spend on CPaaS is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2017 to more than $10 billion in 2022, according to IDC.

As customer needs for embedded communications evolve, so has the CPaaS market. Tools that appeal to nondevelopers are increasingly important as users across the business look to build their own communication integrations. Organizations are also looking to do more with APIs than transaction-based text messages. As a result of these changing business needs, new trends are emerging in the CPaaS market.

Where does low-code/no-code development fit into CPaaS?

Low-code/no-code is an application development approach that enables developers to design apps with as little coding as possible. In CPaaS, this approach to application development reduces the time and resources spent writing the core infrastructure for communications apps and integrations. Even as CPaaS use cases evolve and app capabilities become more complex, the code required for these capabilities will not.

The low-code/no-code approach benefits two areas of development: serverless and flow tools. With serverless, a developer writes small pieces of code, which are hosted and managed by the CPaaS vendor, which handles the maintenance and security responsibilities for the code. However, serverless is a challenge as most vendors in the CPaaS market don't support it.

Flow tools are more popular among CPaaS vendors. These tools offer a visual drag-and-drop approach to development, which enables developers to diagram workflows with limited or no coding. Flow tools are gaining popularity as nondevelopers in other business units, like HR or marketing, can use the tools to customize communications without in-depth coding knowledge.

How are high-level APIs and scalability influencing vendor offerings?

CPaaS vendors are introducing high-level APIs that provide more advanced capabilities than basic, transactional APIs. High-level APIs can take UX beyond appointment reminders to include status updates, multifactor authentication and marketing messaging.

Some CPaaS vendors are also offering high-level APIs with phone provisioning that provides a phone number to enable workflows, such as interactive voice response (IVR) and call routing.

CPaaS vendors are also changing how they support their services to improve scalability for customers. Some vendors are shifting away from using their own data centers to hosting their services in a public cloud platform, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, for improved resiliency, computing power and expanded geographic reach. CPaaS vendors can also take advantage of public cloud platform capabilities, like AI, to enhance their services.

Vendors are also using modern development tools, like microservices and containers, which offer rapid scaling for individual application processes. With a microservices architecture, for example, pieces of an app, such as IVR or call control, can be scaled as needed without requiring an update to the entire app. This approach can save time and resources and help providers meet customer needs faster.

What role does omnichannel play in the CPaaS market?

Omnichannel messaging is a growing trend in CPaaS. An omnichannel messaging API enables businesses to communicate with customers across multiple messaging apps, including Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Omnichannel messaging is still early days as voice and email remain the primary methods of communication. Messaging doesn't have the same level of interoperability as voice and email. Different messaging services, for instance, require multiple API integrations, but an omnichannel API can tie multiple services together into one integrated interface.

While omnichannel APIs tend to focus on messaging, email has its place in an omnichannel strategy as most people still rely on email for business communications. An omnichannel strategy that encompasses email can extend email automation capabilities into other workflows, including A/B testing, onboarding and bill payments.

CPaaS vendors have begun to add support for email APIs, with Twilio's acquisition of SendGrid and Nexmo's partnership with Sendinblue.

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