Steve ForcumMarch 05, 2020

UCaaS, CCaaS and CPaaS…and LEGOS. Yes, LEGOS

Migrating to the cloud has never been easier while at the same time, due to the various “as a Service” options, more complicated than ever. Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) and Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) are all valid options for you to consider once you’ve made the decision to make the move from on-premise to cloud-based communications. The rapid growth of these “aaS” options has left a lot of people trying to understand the difference and, more importantly, which is right for your organization. I’ve found that one of the best ways to understand these different forms of cloud communications is to imagine a LEGO store.

Legos as a Service

As you enter a LEGO store, on your left and right you will find pre-packed kits. These kits come with everything you need to build a specific project (say, Hogwarts Castle from Harry Potter or the Opportunity Mars Rover from NASA). Everything is neatly packaged for you to create that exact project--the landing pad, the astronauts, the control room--including instructions to follow. You empty the box, begin assembling, and boom: you can start the Triwizard tournament or begin an incredible space exploration.

At the back of the store you can find a wall of bins filled with random LEGO pieces, representing different colors, dimensions, and functionalities. In this way, you get a cup, put whatever LEGOs you want in it, and build your own project from scratch. Nothing is pre-built, there are no instructions, and your only limitations are your imagination.

These two areas of a LEGO store complement each other. If you’re trying to build Hogwarts Castle, it’s easier and less expensive to purchase the bundled kit vs collecting the necessary bricks from the back-wall. However, if you’re looking to add the Forbidden Forrest to your Hogwarts Castle, it’s more cost effective to purchase more trees from the back wall vs. buying a second full Hogwarts kit.

Pre-Kits vs Build Your Own

In our world, CPaaS is the back wall. It’s a bin full of specific “functions” that you can pull from to build whatever communication-enabled service you want. There are no instructions, just raw ingredients to work with. Meanwhile, UCaaS and CCaaS are the kits on the side walls. Pull a UCaaS “kit” off the shelf and you have everything you need to quickly and easily get started to modernize your team communication and collaboration.

When it comes to cloud communications, CPaaS does not compete with UCaaS and CCaaS, it acts as a compliment to these services.  

For example, if you want to move your contact center to the cloud, it’s best to simply pull the “kit” off the shelf and gain everything you need for a successful implementation. A full assortment of channels to empower your customer to contact you, interwoven Artificial Intelligence options to improve agent efficiency & job satisfaction, and integrations to the universe of applications are all included which accelerates your journey to the cloud. But let’s say you want to add a new cloud-based feature to your existing on-prem solution, such as cloud-based IVR or a cloud-based mass notification service, it doesn’t make sense to buy the CCaaS “kit” in order to get that one feature or function. If a CCaaS vendor won’t let you “open the kit” to get the one piece you need without everything else that you don’t, what are your options?

In the market today, some CCaaS vendors offer “kits” but not individual pieces. Others, meanwhile, offer individual pieces but may not have a large selection of pre-built kits. If you were to tell these vendors you’re looking to move from on-prem to cloud, they’d simply point to the back wall and enthusiastically say, “Build it, all of the pieces are there!” Yet many enterprises have no idea where to start.

Avaya Gives You The Entire Store

What makes Avaya unique is that we operate the whole store. We offer UCaaS and CCaaS “kits,” a back wall full of APIs for adding onto these pre-built solutions (or your existing on-premise solution), and a robust team of service professionals to help guide you from design to deployment to ongoing management, whatever you may need.  

Let’s say you decide to buy UCaaS via Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, but you have more advanced IVR needs beyond a simple auto-attendant. If you want to use Google Dialogflow to intercept certain calls to create a more conversational user experience, abilities that aren’t baked into the Avaya Cloud Office solution, this would be complicated. Using one vendor for their UC solution and trying to build your more advanced IVR features from a second vendor is complicated, costly, and a headache waiting to happen.

Today, you can dramatically reduce the time, effort and budget associated with this process by simply buying an Avaya UCaaS “kit” and then adding whatever you’d like to it using Avaya CPaaS, which is sold on a consumption-based model. In this way, you can add extra trees to your Hogwarts campus or an extra ladder to your space lander by simply going to the back wall, buying the pieces (a.k.a. APIs) you need for these additional parts, and using them to add on to your solution to drive specific desired outcomes. You only pay for what you use, and if you don’t get what you want out of the solution you simply turn it off. No harm, no foul.

For Avaya partners, this represents explosive potential. CPaaS is a giant market space and a ripe opportunity for partners to enter. There’s a lot of money to be made, which will only continue to grow over the years. One of the biggest values of selling Avaya CPaaS is our assortment of pre-built apps. You don’t need to be a developer or have developers on staff. We have taken pieces off the back wall and built applications on-spec so our partners can quickly go to market selling. They can experiment with the services to see what’s best received by their customers, leveraging Avaya’s team of nearly 5,000 service and technical experts world-wide to take the raw services and build for them.

Many partners don’t have the necessary technical resources and don’t plan to invest, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the CPaaS market opportunity. Safely enter the opportunity pool, gauge the demand, and then make smart decisions on staffing after. In an era of rampant disruption, Avaya CPaaS enables partners to fail fast, fail forward, and find success in this exciting market.

The world of “aaS” is an exciting one, but you need to have a solid understanding of these different solutions for success. See how companies are leveraging Avaya CPaaS to create experiences that matter.


UCaaS, CCaaS and CPaaS… and LEGOS. Yes, LEGOS

Steve Forcum

Steve Forcum, an Avaya sales engineer, can explain complex technology in simple terms. Forcum is a trusted advisor to many of the largest businesses in New England and beyond. He has developed a platform of engagement, interacting with customers, partners, and other followers on all forms of social media.

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