What is the Difference between CPaaS and CCaaS?

The world of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is experiencing a renaissance. More businesses than ever are embracing the cloud as a solution to their technological needs. It’s easy to see why. The cloud offers scalability, cost-efficiency, and reliable support.

But with new technology comes new terminology. Two terms that have risen to prominence are CPaaS and CCaaS.

Communications Platform as a Service and Contact Center as a Service are different, yet similar, concepts. They overlap—for instance, both describe cloud technologies focused on communication—but differ in critical ways.

In this blog, we discuss these differences and the points of overlap. We’ll go into detail on what CPaaS and CCaaS mean, the differences and similarities between the two services, and the situations in which you’d use one or the other.

Communications Platform as a Service

To understand the difference between CPaaS and CCaaS, we must go into depth on both terms, starting with CPaaS.

CPaaS, or Communications Platform as a Service, is a communications platform hosted in the cloud. Through APIs, a CPaaS solution allows businesses to add new features to existing company applications. These features can include:

  • SMS

  • Voice and video calling

  • Live chat

  • Social media integrations

  • AI and automation

  • And more

Each of these features is available individually and paid for on that basis. No purchasing bundles or monthly plans. CPaaS is likely to be paid for through usage charges.

At the heart of any CPaaS solution are APIs. APIs are tools that allow different apps to communicate with each other, an integration between one app and another, that allows you to use external features within the original app. SMS, voice and video calls, social media messaging, and more can be brought into a single application.

Overall, a CPaaS solution is:

  • Customizable – you have complete control over the APIs you use, and the features you pay for.

  • Streamlined – both customer-facing and internal communications can be managed from within a single app.

  • Secure – identity authentication features can be integrated into the CPaaS solution.

  • Extendable – new features and channels can be added at any time, via API. From Artificial Intelligence to Internet of Things (IoT) integrations, CPaaS helps you face the future.

How does CCaaS stack up?

Contact Center as a Service

CCaaS, or Contact Center as a Service, is a cloud-hosted service that provides all the tools you need to manage mass customer communications. This includes:

  • Omni-channel communication features, from SMS to social media to video.

  • Business phone numbers.

  • Intelligent routing capabilities, directing customers toward the best available outcome.

  • Ticketing and data collection capabilities.

  • AI and automation.

  • Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) tools.

  • Call recording and transcription.

  • Advanced customer contact analytics.

These features are often bundled into a single solution, and customers are billed on a monthly basis. CCaaS focused on providing a holistic tool to businesses, letting them spin up a contact center as quickly as possible.

The primary focus of a CCaaS solution is customer-facing communications. CCaaS aims to create outstanding Customer Experience (CX). But that doesn’t mean CPaaS can’t do the same. Indeed, there’s a lot of overlap between CPaaS and CCaaS.

CCaaS vs CPaaS: The Similarities

Both CPaaS and CCaaS are based in the cloud and are designed to streamline your business communications. And the similarities go beyond that:

  • Both integrate multiple communications channels into a single interface, letting you provide omni-channel experiences for employees and customers.

  • Both are scalable; letting you add new users to meet increased demand.

  • Both are future-facing; by integrating with new AI tools, both CPaaS and CCaaS automate and future-proof your customer contact.

From this overview, CPaaS and CCaaS might seem very similar. In reality, they differ in some critical ways.

CCaaS vs CPaaS: The Differences

CPaaS and CCaaS differ in purpose. Where CPaaS aims to provide a holistic platform for both internal and external communications, CCaaS focuses on customer-facing communications. From this, more differences become obvious:

  • CCaaS provides a complete customer contact solution, billed per-user on a monthly basis, with less scope for feature customization. CPaaS, on the other hand, puts customization front and center. Users pick and choose which modules they use, and are billed on a pay-as-you-go model.

  • On the other hand, this means that CCaaS requires much less technical skill on the part of the business. The provider sets up and maintains the CCaaS solution. CPaaS requires the business to take on some of the responsibility for setup and support.

  • CCaaS also provides a host of features essential to the operation of a contact center, from Workforce Management to call recording to analytics.

You might be tempted to ask; which is better, CPaaS or CCaaS? The answer is, neither. Both are designed for different tasks and take different approaches.

Whether a business goes with CPaaS or CCaaS will depend on your needs and resources. When a business already has a custom communications platform, CPaaS enhances without replacing. Alternatively, when a business lacks in-house development resources, a CCaaS solution is probably the most convenient option.

In the end, the decision is in your hands.

The Future of CCaaS vs CPaaS

The future is cloud-based. Both CPaaS and CCaaS offer ways to step into that future. Whichever option is best for your business, integrating your communications, streamlining your user interface, and automating what you can are essential to future-proofing your communications.

Interested to learn more about the uses of CPaaS and CCaaS? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper on Resilient CX, exploring the ways that customer communication solutions create business resilience during tough times.