Solutions Videos

Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) and How to Sell It

December 22, 2022

Telarus VP of UC, Shane Speakman, and CPaas Acceleration Alliance co-founder, Kevin Nethercott, discuss the day-today use of CPaaS, and how to sell it.

Shane Speakman (00:03):

Hey everybody. Shane Speakman, Vice President of UCaaS here at Telarus, and today I’m excited to talk about CPaaS. Now, a lot of you have heard about CPaaS or communication platform as a service. What we’ve really seen is that the UCaaS and CPaaS industry have started to amalgamate, and there’s a third option or maybe an augmentation to some of that, which is this communications platform that is really kind of cool and unique, but relatively unknown. And so today with Kevin Nethercott, who is the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance founder or co-founder, he’s gonna talk a little about the technology, how it’s evolved, and then later in the video we’re gonna talk about really the number one component that drives this technology and the adoption. So Kevin, thanks, appreciate you being here.

Kevin Nethercott (00:46):

No, it’s great to be here, Shane. It’s always good to hang out.

Shane Speakman (00:49):

So, first of all, talk to us about your alliance and why CPaaS.

Kevin Nethercott (00:53):

So the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance was really formed to help generate the opportunity to grow CPaaS globally, right? And so we’re focusing on use cases, kind of the softer side of the business, where we can help companies really drive use cases and revenue and opportunity around bringing this new technology to market. So as the alliance, we’re working with vendors around the world, we’re working with telephone companies around the world with channel partners to really grow the business really across the globe.

Shane Speakman (01:30):

So if you would give me just a, a quick overview of what CPaaS is.

Kevin Nethercott (01:34):

Sure, sure. I think sometimes the easiest way to think about CPaaS is through use cases. So I’m assuming everyone out there has written in an Uber, right? And so when you’re riding an Uber, you know, you’re gonna text the driver, call the driver. You don’t want to give up your own personal phone number. So there’s a number of masking involved in how you communicate with the driver. That’s from a CPaaS, if you get some new money in your account, you get that text message that’s coming from a CPaaS so people don’t realize it, but we’re interacting with a CPaaS multiple times every day in our daily lives.

Shane Speakman (02:09):

Sure. It seems though that the technology has changed quite a bit. I remember CPaaS in the inception was very developer driven and really difficult to use. And so, you know, and I would also add just the compensation on CPaaS was almost really difficult to understand. So can you talk about how some of these suppliers have streamlined that and then kind of that, that evolution into a better gooey and user experience? Yeah,

Kevin Nethercott (02:35):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I’ve been involved with this for a decade, right? And as you’re referencing, it really started with the developer community. So I think of that as CPaaS 1.0. And so that was the Ubers of the world, the Airbnbs of the world that needed communications to be part of their user experience to make that successful. And so the APIs that were layered on top of, you know, the telephone network allowed these companies to integrate communications into their applications. And so that was very developer focused. We’re now clearly in 2.0, which is a focus on the enterprise. And so now you have enterprises that are looking at how do I improve customer engagement? How do I become more efficient as an organization? And so bringing in more efficient communications helps do that. I’m really excited. We’re starting to just starting into the 3.0, which is really focused more on the SMB market. And so it takes more of a turnkey use case maybe low-code, no-code tools, so that as a business owner, I can quickly make changes and, and have that impact my business. And so we’ve got this great transition from, you know, huge installed base with these big kind of gig companies, but now it’s, you know, the flower shop on the corner can take advantage of this technology and really impact their business.

Shane Speakman (04:01):

Sure. Yeah. Right? And what what’s interesting is we, we never heard about CPaaS or had requests for CPaaS, I think largely because it was unknown, right? As I was talking with our solutions architects yesterday, w we, we really started to dive into, well, you know, we we’re having these interesting requests for one-off, and can we mm-hmm. Can we do an API into this technology? And, and, and the way that I think we describe CPaaS and which I’ve heard before from one of our suppliers, is it’s almost as if it’s a whole bunch of technology legos Yeah. Spread out that then you can build the exact platform or offering that you need. And and so we, we’ve started to have these requests come into Telarus saying, well, can you help us with this unique opportunity based on a need for integration or messaging or, or what, whatever you have. And so I would ask you as, as a CPaaS expert, tell me where do you see this most widely being adopted? Yeah. And how does a partner get into an opportunity or recognize an opportunity?

Kevin Nethercott (05:05):

Right. Right, right. So I think there’s, there’s two or three major categories that CPaaS is having a huge impact. So if I look at the largest one globally, it’s really around messaging A to P traffic, marketing related. And so that has a, a segment that’s, that’s interesting and growing, but I think for most of us, it’s really on how it gets implemented at the business. Right? And so, obviously there’s been a huge shift to ucas. We’ve got cloud communications across most of our organizations. But the point you’re bringing up is how do I then take that communications and implement it in the way I want to? So, for example, I use as my CRM system. Wouldn’t it be cool if my salespeople could just click to call out to a prospect, have that that recorded have that then loaded in the CRM system into Salesforce automatically. So you have these abilities through APIs to integrate other third party systems that companies are already using, and then plugging that communications in. So you have your UCaaS system, your CPaaSystem that you’re investing in, and then CPaaS helps fill the gaps and customize those opportunities so that the customer can really get what they need out of outta communications.

Shane Speakman (06:26):

So, so actually you helped kind of answer a question that I have, which is, is CPaaS a replacement for ucas or CPaaS or does it augment what some of those efforts or offerings?

Kevin Nethercott (06:37):

So today, I’d say it’s augmenting. Now you can build a UCaaS system, you can build a CPaaSystem on top of a CPaaS, and many companies have done that, right? And I think you’ll see the vendors in this space continue to kind of move up the stack and making features easier to consume. And so it may end up competing directly with some of the vendors that we know well in that space. But for now, I think the real value add is alongside because then you can customize what you’ve already made the investment in and just add features that are important to you rather than a full rip and replace. And so I think that’s one of the exciting things about CPaaS is that kind of everybody out there has a need for it, and it can take what I like to call putting lipstick on a pig, right? You can have a PBX system, frankly that’s 10 years old, it still works to call each other, right? But maybe you want to have a fancy ivr, you wanna be able to record things, you wanna do some other things that brand new expensive systems do. Well, you could buy that by the drip, right? So you could just get that featured from a CPaaS vendor and add that to the infrastructure that you already have. So it gives you a lot of flexibility on how you can implement and drive your communication usage.

Shane Speakman (07:49):

Sure. And you know what’s, you know, what’s interesting is this almost reminds me of the LD days when I would have a sales rep selling an ld P R I, and he would say, Ugh, I, I made a sale, but it was only a $200 ld, P R i. And I would say, bro, like, do you know how much long distance that company uses? And the usage was really what drove the revenue. And it’s, it’s so similar in CPaaS, right? When you talk about the number of transactions. So I think one of the biggest questions partners have is, how do I get paid on this? Right? And obviously, different suppliers have different models, but in general, this is a usage product, is it not

Kevin Nethercott (08:25):

In general? It is. It is. And there’s certain use cases where it’s by the seed or by the, the licenser user. And and, and that works well too. There’s usually, in many cases, good margin in that business. But once you complete a sale, companies continually find new uses for it, right? And that’s where that usage comes in. And so it, it’s almost a land and expand type of strategy with CPaaS because there’s so many things you can do with it. You find a simple use case that gets you in the door, and then you’re able to upsell, upsell, upsell with a lot of other types of, of use cases that are relevant for your customer.

Shane Speakman (09:02):

Right? As we’ve seen price compression in the market we’ve also seen premier very very well designed and feature rich contact center deployments. And as I go back to my early days in voice, I think Yeah, I know I’m going to offer you A to Z mm-hmm. as far as a feature set, when in reality statistics would tell me that you’re really only going use one through three. And as I look at CPaaS, again, it almost chips away at some of those seats. And if I, if I’m a contact center provider, perhaps I CPaaS mm-hmm. Maybe a bit of a competitor because of the ability CPaaS has to just layer on your absolute most necessary components. And so that’s why I ask the question. Yeah. Clearly we do a lot of contact center business. Our partner community thrives on a lot of the UCaaS and CPaaS. And so to us it’s, it’s imperative that we offer the best solution Yep. And recognize when we, we have a need for that type of a, of a, of a seat, or even just augmenting some of that CPaaS. And so again, I would, I would throw the question back to you. How do you help a partner understand exactly what that opportunity looks like or, or how to go through that discovery process? Right?

Kevin Nethercott (10:20):

Right. I think CPaaS, is tailor made for sales 101. Right? So good salespeople aren’t the ones doing the talking, they’re the ones doing the listening. Right. And so I think there’s a unique opportunity to come in and kind of a consultative type of sales approach where you listen and learn about your customer’s business, because I can guarantee you that they’ve got gaps and there’s other ways that you can help them be more efficient with their business, improve the customer engagement, have their customers, you know, really love them as a brand. And, and as you listen to that, you’ll start to realize, oh, maybe we should use messaging instead of voice. Right? How can we alert people about the sale that we’re about to have when we alert them? How can we include two-way communication so that they can actually text me and, and understand things? How can we plug AI into this so that when I’m in the kitchen cooking, you know, in my restaurant, I’m not trying to make reservations as well. Right? So there’s all these little areas that seem incremental, but at the end of the day, they really add up to impact the business and augment what’s already there and improve the opportunity from a sales perspective of, of those upsells that I was Yeah. That I was

Shane Speakman (11:37):

Talking about. Yeah. I like that. Let’s, let’s talk about what the, what the growth engine is mm-hmm. For CPaaS, and anybody who, anybody who researches CPaaS comes across this rcs. Mm-Hmm. Right? And it’s so interesting to see here in the States how rcs is somewhat limited, right. Compared to the adoption that we’ve seen overseas. And so if you would, let’s talk about maybe the most critical component of CPaaS growing forward or moving forward, which is rcs. So talk to us about what that is and, and why it’s so important.

Kevin Nethercott (12:09):

Yeah. So I think the, the, the foundation of this is how important texting and messaging has become in our daily communications, right? It’s real time, but yet it’s asynchronous, right? So you can ask me something, I can take a few minutes, think about it, and respond on a voice call. It’s real time. There’s more pressure to get it, right. So first of all, messaging will be the growth engine for our communications moving forward. So SMS isn’t going away. There’s a lot of use cases that still make sense for that, but the next generation of messaging really is rcs, as you’re describing, which

Shane Speakman (12:46):

Is rich communication services.

Kevin Nethercott (12:48):

Exactly. And so it’s rich messaging. And so I, SMS is like black and white tv. RCS is like 4k, right? The, the user experience is just that different. And so within this environment you can do scheduling, you can do commerce you can send catalogs and all this is happening inside your messaging application. So, so I, I’m a strong believer, you know, two, three years from now, the number of applications we have on our phone is gonna decrease dramatically because everything that you can do in a, in a full app, you’ll now be able to do in your messaging application through rcs. And so that rich interaction, you’ll, cuz when, cause I think the other thing that’s important to realize is we talk about CPaaS as a technology, but really what it is, it’s an enabler for customer engagement, right? And so it’s critical in today’s world that you meet the consumer where they’re at, right? You have to be on the channel that they prefer to communicate on. Sure.

Shane Speakman (13:50):

I like that. Absolutely. And there’s an expectation, especially with a younger generation starting to consume services and products that they interact with a, with a business in whichever method they choose. And which we’re obviously we’re finding is a, a largely non-verbal. Well, I, I’ll tell you CPaaS is obviously not going anywhere. I love that. It’s, that it’s getting better, easier to use mm-hmm. and that we’re understanding it more. Partners, if if you have more questions about CPaaS, please reach out to the Polaris team. It’s a focus of ours in 2023 to make sure that we’re bringing you the latest technology and the best suppliers in this space. And Kevin, your organization is fantastic. I look forward to being on panels with you Yeah. Which which we’ve talked about. And I know that you’ve been asked to do some keynote speak, speaking and, and large engagements. So you’ll hear a lot more from Kevin this alliance and of course the industry as a whole. So yeah. Thank you.

Kevin Nethercott (14:48):

You’re welcome. And we welcome you as an advisor for for our Alliance. Thank you. Because we want to be close to the end user and the customers, and you and your partners really bring that to the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance. So we’re really excited to have you on board as a team member. Thanks.

Shane Speakman (15:05):

Yeah, I appreciate the invitation. Okay. Thanks everybody. Once again, Kevin Nethercott. And if you have any questions, please let us know.