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Dec 16, 2022
7 minutes read

CPaaS vs. DIYing a Communications Platform: Which is Best?

With customers being at the heart of your business, you’ll need a means of communicating with them, whether for marketing, support, or operational purposes. So what are your options if you’re in the market for a communications platform?

A communications platform unifies your customer communications, easily letting you chat with customers on their preferred channels. By roping in your in-house developers or hiring an external development team, it is possible to build such an on-premise platform from scratch.

Alternatively, you can use a Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) solution off the shelf. This is a cloud-based communications platform maintained by a third-party vendor, where you’ll pay a monthly fee to flexibly integrate the best messaging channels for your audience and use cases. Using a CPaaS solution is the preferred option for businesses that value the convenience of running their operations from the cloud, among other reasons.

In which situations might you want to build your own communications platform or procure a CPaaS solution off the shelf? Let’s consider the pros of both options to help you decide which is most suitable for your business.

Pros of Building Your Own Communications Platform

If you have the resources to DIY, you might want to take a stab at developing your own communications platform. When you do so, you:

Get Full Control Over Your Platform’s Features

Off-the-shelf communications platforms come built with convenient features to meet the general needs of their target customers (such as you).

But just because some other business may need certain features doesn’t mean your business does. So unless the vendor offers customization services, an off-the-shelf communications platform may contain redundant features that hamper your team’s efforts to engage with your customers. Not to mention how you may end up paying for features you don’t need.

When you build your own communications platform, however, you ensure it contains only the features you need—and nothing you don’t need. You’re in full control. The result is a lean communications platform tailor-made to facilitate your business strategy and goals.

communications platform healthcare

Ensure the Platform Compatibility With Your Existing Setup

Will the communications platform you procure off the shelf work smoothly with your existing setup?

Adding a new platform to your tech stack isn’t as simple as plugging a wired mouse into a USB port, then letting your computer detect and set up the gadget on its own. You may need to integrate it using a native integration—or a third-party app if there isn’t one—while confirming there won't be data loss as you transmit data to the platform or vice versa.

Your communications platform should also ideally complement your existing workflows instead of making your team (dramatically) change its standard operating procedures.

Going for a custom-built communications platform lets you avoid such potential headaches as you can develop it to fit within your existing setup and workflows like a glove. You’ll find such seamlessness to be especially helpful if you run a highly customized setup using proprietary code.

Pros of Procuring a CPaaS Solution Off the Shelf

Even if resources permit you to build your own communications platform, there are strong reasons to consider going for a pre-built CPaaS solution instead. These include:

Enjoy the Features You Need Right Out of the Box

Rolling out an in-house communications platform can take quite some time. It’s not as if you can declare “Let’s build our own platform!” and then have it materialize overnight.

Think of all the coding, testing, and bug-squashing you’ll have to do—in the best-case scenario, you might be able to have your custom solution up and running in a few months. The launch may take even longer if you need to rebuild parts of your custom solution to adapt to changing market conditions.

But when you go for a pre-built CPaaS solution, all the features you need will be, well, pre-built.

These pre-built features are designed and maintained by experts to meet the latest business needs. All you have to do is to plug the platform into your existing tech stack to start enjoying its features much sooner. Depending on your setup’s complexity, the implementation period can be as short as a few weeks or even days. Such decreased speed to market is essential for keeping customers satisfied as you can deliver a richer communications experience quicker.

You may also be able to customize the features to be integrated with your setup. With CM.com’s Communications Platform, for example, you can mix and match among SMS, WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger, and other communication channels. A user-friendly interface also helps your team navigate the platform easily for a smoother business workflow.

channels-platform

Outsource the Development and Maintenance Work

Even after you’ve finished developing your own communications platform, the work is never completely done. You’ll still need to maintain the platform and patch it whenever something breaks, or whenever there are changes to legal regulations or your software partners’ requirements.

However, such work may take valuable time and effort away from other endeavors. If your business’s core activities lie elsewhere—as they probably do—then operating a custom-built communications platform may not be the best use of your limited resources.

In contrast, procuring an off-the-shelf CPaaS solution lets you outsource the relevant development and maintenance tasks. You’ll simply pay a monthly fee for your chosen vendor to take care of such work on your behalf. Not only will the vendor continuously update its platform according to changing market demands, but it could also help customize the platform’s features to meet your needs. Your business will be future-proof.

For example, when private tutor directory Superprof opted to use CM.com’s SMS Platform to disseminate information to teachers and students, we worked closely with SMS operators all over the world to set up Superprof’s SMS system in their countries.

From putting up with “long” response times via its previous email communication system, Superprof was able to cut its teachers’ average response time on the Superprof platform to just two hours. Receiving quick support replies from CM.com also contributed to Superprof eventually praising the collaboration to be “exceptional.”

verified sms

Don’t Want to Build? Let CM.com Be Your Trusted Communications Partner

Custom-developing your own communications platform can produce a solution that meets your precise needs and that is fully compatible with your existing setup. But this option isn’t for everyone: you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time and costs doing so, while potentially lagging behind competitors that can launch new features or services quicker.

On the other hand, procuring a CPaaS solution off the shelf lets you avoid tedious development work as the features you need will be ready for use out of the box. Your vendor will maintain the platform for you, and may also be able to tailor the platform to your exact specifications.

If you are exploring using a pre-built CPaaS solution, consider partnering with CM.com for your communications platform needs.

CM.com is an “Established Leader”-ranked vendor for CPaaS and customer data platform (CDP) solutions, where our Communications Platform lets you engage customers on a wide range of popular communication channels. You’ll have complete flexibility in integrating the channels you need and omitting those you don’t.

Tapping into our global cloud platform present in various regions, you’ll stay connected with your customers no matter where in the world they may be. At the same time, our Communications Platform’s built-in CDP enables you to personalize the communications experience for each customer and boost conversions.

Finally, when you choose CM.com as your CPaaS vendor, you’ll work with a team dedicated to helping you succeed in engaging your customers and delivering a quality customer experience. Learn more about CM.com’s Communications Platform and how it can fulfill your customer communications needs here.

Looking to procure a CPaaS solution for your business?

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CM.com
connects tens of thousands of companies with millions of consumers via their mobile phone each day. Behind the scenes, from our innovative platform, CM.com makes sure companies can use these millions of messages, phone calls and payments to become part of people’s lives.

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