UCaaS and CPaaS are two cloud-based solutions that aptly meet modern communication and collaboration needs.
Both enable audio, video, and chat conferencing as well as show activity status, facilitate content sharing, and provide analytics, among other features.
Essentially, these two platforms offer similar benefits of scalability and accessibility.
However, they are quite different in that:
- UCaaS or Unified Communications as a Service is software with various in-built communication features.
- Whereas, CPaaS or Communications Platform as a Service is a customizable solution that allows users to add their desired communication features to their existing application.
Both offer more versatile and comprehensive communication options for businesses who have outgrown basic telephone and email services.
Why Companies Migrate to UCaaS vs CPaaS
In the past, all you needed to communicate with customers and teammates in different locations was a basic telephone line.
Nowadays though, businesses have several options they can explore for internal and external communication. These include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems as well as social media, email, web conferencing, and project management tools.
But while all these communication means come with a slew of helpful features, they aren’t perfect.
For instance, social media and project management tools alone aren’t enough to maintain streamlined communication with clients and coworkers.
Similarly, on-premise systems like PBX require software and hardware infrastructure, which can be costly to install and maintain.
And though cloud-based VoIP is a better option, it often comes with limited features. You may not get all the advanced features your business needs in one cohesive platform.
In contrast, UCaaS and CPaaS come with more comprehensive communication capabilities. In fact, they combine omnichannel support, VoIP, scheduling, and other features under one roof.
Both are also hosted in the cloud, which means they are:
- Accessible: Employees can use the system from anywhere
- Scalabile: Businesses can easily add more users to the system
- Cost effective: UCaaS and CPaaS don’t require hardware setup, and therefore, are more affordable
- Flexible: While UCaaS offers some level of integration, CPaaS is highly flexible in terms of the features it supports
- Convenient: These systems don’t require specialized personnel for installation and maintenance
Because of these benefits and the scores of features these models offer compared to their alternatives, many companies are switching to UCaaS and CPaaS.
Key Differences Between UCaaS vs CPaaS
To reiterate, UCaaS is a ready-made software whereas CPaaS is a toolkit that offers SDKs and APIs to build on an existing system.
Here’s what you get with UCaaS:
- An all-in-one solution to meet your business’s communication needs
- Limited customization options but can integrate with specific applications (and many providers are expanding their integration options as the software becomes more and more popular)
- A user-friendly software that doesn’t require much technical expertise for setup
In contrast, CPaaS comes with:
- The ability to include specific features unique to your business’s requirements
- High customization and integration options so you can add as many features as needed
- The need for technical expertise, resources, and developers to build features into an existing application
Talking about their pricing, both UCaaS and CPaaS are subscription-based. This makes billing and payments easier compared to on-premise systems.
However, UCaaS is usually more affordable when weighed against CPaaS. This is because CPaaS requires resources to build a customized solution and is billed according to usage rather than a set amount, as is in the case of UCaaS. However, if you only need a few custom features and not much else, CPaaS could potentially be a cheaper option.
When UCaaS Works Better than CPaaS
While UCaaS and CPaaS have some overlapping features, they have completely different target users.
UCaaS is for small to mid-sized businesses that are looking for an all-encompassing solution which:
- Improves customer support with a variety of communication features in one software
- Provides a single platform for internal collaboration, streamlining workflow, and boosting productivity
- Is easy to install, use, and scale, enabling the business to add or remove users without any hiccups
- Promotes work-life balance by empowering employees to access the UCaaS app from any smart device and location
Because of its broad feature set, UCaaS can be utilized across internal teams, from sales and marketing to HR and customer support.
For instance, customer support teams can make and receive calls, messages, and even provide omnichannel support to clients.
Similarly, HR can provide online training sessions through video conferences and communicate with different departments when needed.
And sales and marketing teams can share content (pictures, documents, and presentations) easily on a single platform.
This isn’t all though. Because apart from improved communications, companies also benefit from UCaaS as they experience:
- Stronger security with encryption, user authentication, and data recovery
- Cost savings in the form of simplified billing and reduced infrastructure costs
- Automatic system and latest features updates to ensure that the most recent developments in tech are reflected in the system
Implementation is easy, too. First, you should assess your business’s needs and budget so you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for before you start researching different providers.
Next, you’ll want to explore different providers and compare pricing and features. Nextiva and RingCentral are two of the most reliable and trusted providers in the UCaaS space. Don’t forget to check to see if there are any local providers in your area, too. This could be an especially viable option for small businesses, as you might be able to cut a deal with a local company.
Once you’ve shortlisted providers, request and compare demos and pricing to finalize which software’s pricing plan and features suit you best.
At the end of the day, UCaaS is great for businesses that don’t want to
- Worry about having the technical know-how to install and use a communication tool
- Deal with several different software for different communication and collaboration functions
When CPaaS Works Better than UCaaS
Compared to UCaaS, CPaaS offers a more personalized experience.
CPaaS comes with easily programmable code, empowering you to build your preferred communication features into your current application.
Since it’s a software-based system, it completely eliminates the need for backend infrastructure.
This makes it cost-effective and easily scalable.
CPaaS is also an appealing choice because it’s:
- Future-proof and innovative: Businesses can include the latest communication features in their system.
- Highly integrative: Not only can you customize your communications, but the newly added features integrate with their CRM and databases smoothly.
What makes CPaaS stand out though is that businesses that switch to this communication model see more control over their internal and external communications.
This is because CPaaS can:
- Automate repetitive tasks to boost productivity
- Stay ahead of their competitors with better features
- Customize their communication features to align with their brand identity
- Improve customer engagement as they can offer personalized experiences
Leaning toward this technology for your business? You can either go for direct providers like Twilio or one of its alternatives, or you can choose a regional provider.
Before jumping into searching for the right provider, again, you’re going to want to assess your business’s communication needs.
Then, you can ask for pricing, demos, and even explore the functionalities of your shortlisted options by testing out a free trial.
And even though a good CPaaS solution is easy to program, having in-house programming engineers is essential for setup and maintenance.
In a nutshell, if you have the budget, the team, and the need for a tailored comms platform, then CPaaS is for you.
Mostly, big enterprises choose CPaaS since they have:
- The resources to maintain the system
- And a clear understanding of the differentiating features they want.
UCaaS Vs. CPaaS — Which Would Your Business Pick?
While UCaaS is like a buffet of communication features, CPaaS is more like an à la carte model that lets businesses design a tailored system for their comms needs.
Both systems, however, are cloud-based, which makes them scalable and mobile-friendly.
What makes them even more preferable is that you don’t need to tackle different vendors, their contracts, and billings. Instead, you get a single communication platform that integrates well with the rest of your system—streamlining work as well as simplifying billing and management.
Ultimately, you’ll need to assess your business’s needs and choose a system based on your business requirements, resources, and budget.