Perhaps the biggest hot topic in business communications today is the integration of communication capabilities into applications, business processes, and workflows using APIs and CPaaS (communication platform as a service). Thanks to CPaaS, which provides cloud-based APIs to developers on an “as a service” basis, communications can be added to the core applications that businesses run on, producing efficiencies and potentially even opportunities for revenue growth.
One important use case for CPaaS is what I call Communication Enabled Applications (CEA). More and more companies are using APIs and CPaaS to integrate communication functions into business applications by adding voice, video, messaging, presence, and collaboration to their applications. Integrating communication capabilities with CRM, vertical applications, and even IoT applications, provides real value for businesses across many industries. Saving time and making communication and collaboration more seamless by integrating or embedding communications into various applications, APIs and CPaaS are gaining increased attention and traction.
Until recently, it’s been somewhat challenging to integrate and embed communications into applications, as it required specialized developers and engineers, and it was a time-consuming process. CPaaS takes the various communications components and makes the basic functions more modular, making it easier to add various communications components to applications and business workflows.
The driver behind all of this is business efficiency and helping individuals work more effectively. It’s all about enhancing the user experience by letting workers access communication capabilities from “where they live” – whether it’s Salesforce.com, an insurance claims processing application, or any vertical application that workers use in order to do their jobs. By accessing voice, video, messaging, text, etc. from within the applications they use on a daily basis, end users can launch into a real-time conversation without splintering the experience. For example, from within a CRM application, agents can click on a customer’s name and automatically dial out and have the call connected to the customer.
Here’s an example of how this can work – a worker using an order processing application needs to interact with a team member about making an exception for an important customer. From within the order processing application the worker can see not only all of the people associated with that particular order and project, but also their presence and availability. With a simple “click-to-call” they can launch into a real-time conversation with team members, initiate a web conference using tools such as screen sharing or document sharing so the team can finalize the order and jump start the project.
With unlimited potential examples of communication-enabling applications using CPaaS, it may be overwhelming to identify where and how to get started. Start by identifying the various user groups and use cases in your business, from mobile sales reps to contact center agents to desktop workers, and how best to embed or integrate communications into their applications and workflows. Ask various groups of workers where their communications and collaboration efforts get bogged down and delayed, and determine whether integrating communications capabilities into the applications used by these groups can help eliminate bottlenecks and improve the flow of communications. Next make sure you’re working with a CPaaS vendor that has the right vision and understands that the future of communications is around applications and APIs. The possibilities are endless…
This guest blog was written by Blair Pleasant, President and Principle Analyst of COMMfusion.