A good solution for customer engagement should unify all customer communications, and offer the right channels for customer contact. By roping in your in-house developers or hiring an external development team, it is possible to build such an on-premise communications platform from scratch. But there are also plenty off-the-shelf CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) or SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions available from third-party vendors or Business Service Providers (BSPs).
What is CPaaS?
CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based communications platform that integrates SMS, Voice, and various messaging channels into your existing software with the use of APIs. This means that you can still build your own customer-facing software, without having to build the underlying communications infrastructure.
What is SaaS?
SaaS (Software as a Service) is fully-fledged cloud-based software, ready for use. Also known as on-demand or off-the-shelf software, web-based software, or web-hosted software.
With a SaaS solution you won't need to build, nor integrate, anything. The software - in this case communications software- can be accessed via web browser and will contain everything your business needs to manage customer engagement.
Communications Software: Build vs Buy
So what should you do? Buy a communications platform or build one yourself? Should you invest in an API solution that integrates into your own systems, or buy out-of-the-box software? And what factors matter in making this decision?
Contrary to what you might think, company size doesn't actually play a huge role in the build vs buy discussion. Businesses small and large all have their own unique qualities and requirements, and in-house capabilities - or lack thereof.
There are three things that you should ask yourself when you're in the market for a customer communications solution:
What are my (business) resources?
What are my (business) requirements?
What are my (business) goals?
Building Communications Software
Building a new software solution from scratch will take a big chunk out of your resources and development capacity to develop and maintain a reliable and secure system. Designing a well-integrated communications solution that meets your business' requirements and regulations may take significant time. And as we all know, time is money. Even after completion, there will be maintenance time (and costs), because that is simply how technology works. There will be new desired features, new regulations, and new threats that all need to be added, implemented, and accounted for. The cost of ownership is no joke.
Building your own in-house software may not be the most beneficial in the early stages of the project, but in the long run it can be very beneficial for your company if it suits your business requirements. Some companies believe that everything should be done in-house, and when they have the competency and capability to rival the BSPs, then why would we argue against it?
Last, but not least, the communications solution should help you and your business to reach your intended goals. Both CPaaS and SaaS solutions are set-up to fit the general needs of the market. But just because the general market may need certain features, that doesn’t mean your business does. If your business goals don't fit with what the premade solutions offer, then building might be your best option. Going for a in-house communications platform means you can develop it to fit your existing set-up and tailor it to your goals.
In-House Solution Benefits
Custom fit to your organisation's infrastructure
Private ownership, hosting, and control
Tailored to your business goals
Buying Communications Software
When buying communications software, there are two different flavours: CPaaS and SaaS.
Buying CPaaS Software
A CPaaS software solution, will lower the cost of resources and maintenance, and will minimise the pressure on your development capacity than when you build the platform yourself from scratch. Why? Think of all the coding, testing, and bug-squashing you’ll have to do to build that underlying communications infrastructure—in the best-case scenario, you might be able to have your software up and running in a few months.
A CPaaS solution can be easily integrated into your existing systems, while outsourcing the development and maintenance that comes with the infrastructure.
The cloud-based nature of CPaaS platforms also offers powerful scalability and adaptability. Are you operating in a highly dynamic field? Does your business require flexibility? Then a CPaaS solution might be what you're looking for! Fast to implement, and fast to adapt to market changes - most CPaaS solutions are plug-and-play software that will allow your business to scale as you deem fit to reach your goals. You’ll have complete flexibility in integrating or using the channels you need and omitting those you don’t.
CPaaS Solution Benefits
Cost-effective (both in time and money)
Fast and easy integration
Scalable and flexible
Buying SaaS Software
When you acquire a SaaS solution, you're buying a premade, ready-to-use, cloud-based communications platform. That means that none of your resources will be spend on development or implementation. Which is great for businesses that don't have these resources available.
Fully-fledged SaaS solutions come premade with convenient features to meet the general needs of their target customers (such as yourself), and they often keep improving and innovating as new features are being released. Does your business require a fast start with little to no extra effort? Then a SaaS solution might be your best fit.
Because BSPs continuously update their SaaS software according to changing market demands, your business will stay up-to-date and relevant so that you can achieve those business goals. Your business will be future-proof.
SaaS Solution Benefits
No development costs (or stress)
Off-the-shelf; enjoy the software right out of the box
Accessible and cloud-based
Scalable and flexible
Don’t Want to Build? Let CM.com Be Your Trusted Communications Partner
Custom-developing your own communications platform 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. Flexible and scalable CPaaS and SaaS solutions let you avoid tedious development work as the features you need will be ready to plug-and-play into your existing software, or even ready for use straight out of the box.
Don't want to build? Then consider teaming up with CM.com for your communications platform needs.
CM.com is an “Established Leader”-ranked BSP for CPaaS, SaaS, and customer data platform (CDP) solutions. Our CPaaS Communications Platform and SaaS solutions like Mobile Service Cloud and Mobile Marketing Cloud let you engage customers on a wide range of popular communication channels.
Tapping into our global cloud platform, you’ll stay connected with your customers no matter where in the world they may be. At the same time, our solutions enable you to personalise the communication experience for each customer and boost conversions.
Ready to get started? Our dedicated team will help you choose the correct fit for your business.