This content is part of the Essential Guide: How unified communications is getting down to business

How to evaluate and prepare your organization for a CPaaS platform

Before deploying CPaaS, you must evaluate your organization's need for embedded communications. Plus, vendor stability and API features should be carefully examined.

Organizations looking to improve employee productivity and enhance workflows are turning to communications platform as a service. A CPaaS platform enables organizations to use APIs to embed communications, such as click to call, into business applications and processes.

But organizations can't embed communications just anywhere. They need to examine the areas of their business that can benefit from enhanced communications and find the right CPaaS platform to meet those communications needs.

How do you evaluate your need for CPaaS?

The first step to embedding communications with CPaaS and APIs is to evaluate the areas of your business that can benefit from embedded communications. Generally, any interaction in the organization, whether it's person to person or person to machine, is ripe for embedded communications.

The interactions best suited for CPaaS can range from external communications, such as notifications and transactions, and internal communications among employees. Inbound communications can also benefit from embedding communication with an API to provide customers additional methods of reaching a business beyond calling.

How do you evaluate CPaaS vendors and APIs?

Organizations have several factors to consider when evaluating CPaaS vendors. First, organizations should examine the APIs themselves. They should evaluate the feature set of the CPaaS platform's API to ensure it aligns with their current and future communications needs.

Organizations should also determine whether the API's price aligns with their business models. APIs can be expensive, but some organizations may find it worth paying a premium price for premium capabilities.

Communication APIs can complement and customize unified communications systems.

Anyone evaluating potential APIs should carefully review the API's documentation. A well-designed API will have thorough documentation, and its design will be explained clearly. API documentation should include reference guides that detail the API's functions and the use cases it was built to handle.

Organizations should also examine the business side of the API. Evaluate potential vendors by their place in the market, such as the vendor's likelihood to be acquired. Organizations should also examine how invested the vendor is in its product and the level of support the vendor provides. The CPaaS market is crowded and volatile, so organizations must ensure their vendor has a long-term vision.

How do you prepare the business to deploy CPaaS and APIs?

Organizations should have a strong service-level agreement (SLA) before deploying any kind of API. The effectiveness of an API is based on its type, whether it's part of a ready-made, cloud-based service or requires additional development.

API services have many moving parts, which can create overlap where the API stops and where the application itself starts. If something goes wrong, it can be difficult to identify the culprit. A strong SLA will provide guidance on managing the API and how to improve service as time progresses.

Deploying a CPaaS platform also involves more than just developers. While developer skills are important, organizations also need to involve people within the organization, such as product managers, who understand the business needs the API will serve. Bringing developers and business leaders together can help organizations develop a strong API strategy.

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