Anatomy of an Enterprise Communications Customer (Episode 1)

If you are building or expanding a business that requires robust, scalable and flexible telecom services, you have likely already looked at or you are currently researching cPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) for at least some of your applications. In an effort to help potential cPaaS customers understand what they are in for, we will be going on a bit of a journey together.

During this series we will be walking though various enterprise communications use cases.

We will discover how different companies and organizations use modern communication technology. We will create situations that should mimic actual needs in an enterprise and understand what technology and methodologies would work best for the customer. In order for this experience be as accurate as possible we make an effort to talk to customers who have already decided to buy (or not to buy) cPaaS solutions.

We will also interview representatives of companies offering cPaaS solutions in order to understand which solution might be a good fit for our hypothetical customer or which solutions would work with a bit of finesse. It’s a wee bit subjective, but the results should be interesting either way.

What this series is not. This is not an attempt to create another cPaaS buyers guide. The purpose is straightforward, to understand what a potential customer needs might be and to create an outline for a solution that would help the customer achieve their objectives. These projects may or may not line up perfectly with current cPaaS solutions, in fact we don’t expect them to be perfect.

We will be learning more about the customer’s situation as we build the use case, as it would if it were a real customer. In many cases, it takes some time to speak to all the stakeholders in order to understand and confirm impetus for change. The product group may have different reasons and requirements for change than a support group, as an example.

Now that we have an understanding of how we will be moving through the projects, let’s get started by taking a look at our first fictitious customer. This use case is based on our prior industry experience and is representative of customer use cases we have seen in the past.

Customer 1: Fake Travel
Business: Travel Agency, mostly online business + 50 retail locations
Company Size: 2,000
Locations: US HQ + Canada, Mexico, Phillipines
Contact centres: 1200 agents, 4 locations, hundreds of distributed workers
Current Technology: Ticket System for Email & Chat. Social monitoring system. SMS system. For voice they are using VoIP: SIP softphones, SIP trunks. Not currently providing any video support channels.
Network: Fibre, MPLS, Home broadband

Some of the factors contributing to impetus for change:

  • Contact centre solution is no longer working, call traffic is overloading the system and they need something that will enable more modern technology for the reps answering the phones eg. on-screen software integrated into their CRM. They also feel they are overpaying for that solution and related SIP trunks.
  • Their application does support real-time chat and voice support is enabled by simply hot-linking the toll free number. When someone clicks the “talk to us now” button, it simply calls the 1–800 number from their mobile. The customer would like to see an option where they can deliver voice support without using their toll free number = VoIP client or hybrid call-back.
  • They also want to integrate this yet to be chosen call centre solution into their newly acquired cloud phone system, provided by one of the Cloud Communications service providers in the market.

Now that we have a high level understanding of our first customer, let’s take a look at the industry vendors.

If we look to Gartner, there is no magic quadrant for cPaaS. In their recent cPaaS report (Market Guide for Communications Platform as a Service — and yes, I bought the actual report), we see the following as representative vendors:

  • Avaya Zang
  • Bandwidth
  • CLX
  • IMImobile
  • Infobip
  • MessageBird
  • Plivo
  • TeleSign
  • Twilio
  • Vonage-Nexmo

There are also a few that are not in the 2018 Market Guide or have been omitted from the 2018 guide:

  • VoxImplant
  • Vidyo

Note: If you feel we have missed any please send us a note or add a comment below.

In the next episode we will be looking harder at Fake Travel and also the market vendors. We might even have an interview or two (with past cPaaS customers or vendors) hopefully in form of video or audio, depending on what we can make happen by then.

The beautiful thing about this experiment is that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. We are simply looking at hypothetical customer scenarios and talking to real vendors to understand how to best serve the customers needs. We hope that we will get lots of feedback on the series so we can incorporate that feedback into the experiment as it evolves.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next episode! Follow us on twitter to get notified of next article!

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