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As likely as not, when you hear the term “Communications Platform as a Service,” or “CPaaS,” chances are the first thing that pops to mind is “SMS.” Perhaps rightly so—messaging has been the primary CPaaS use case since the earliest days of this technology more than a decade ago.

But today CPaaS is quickly becoming a linchpin for customer experience, a means of rapidly advancing the state of art of any enterprise organization’s service and support offerings. This is because with CPaaS comes the ability to add in communications channels and all sorts of advanced features, including automation, AI, and analytics—even on top of an on-premises contact center platform if that’s what’s in place.

Metrigy’s buyer-side market forecast research shows steady growth potential for CPaaS over the next year. Nearly 39% of the 1,695 companies participating in that study, Customer Experience MetriCast: 2023, are using CPaaS already. Another 45% either have adoption plans for this year or beyond, or are evaluating CPaaS use for their companies. SMS messages remains the most widely used CPaaS application, followed by analytics, which has pushed ahead of social messages, webchat, and voice calling, our CX MetriCast research shows.

Once a company has adopted CPaaS, it finds many ways to take advantage of it. In our Advanced API & CPaaS Development 2023 global research, 60.8% of 400 companies studied say their use of CPaaS applications has increased dramatically over time. For 78.6% companies, CPaaS use will increase this year, too.

You might say that companies have no choice but to pick up and run with CPaaS for CX improvement. In a recent episode of our MetriSight podcast, Robert Galop, CMO of the recently formed CPaaS Acceleration Alliance, put it this way: If CX is to be the differentiator that companies want it to be, then CPaaS is an imperative. “If you really want that bespoke customer experience, and you want things to be tailored to your business and how you service your customers, CPaaS is a critical enabler for that across every single touchpoint in the business,” he says.

Important, too, is to stop thinking about CPaaS in the traditional sense of adding in real-time communications—i.e., messaging. The CPaaS Acceleration Alliance, of which Metrigy is a partner, talks today in terms of CPaaS 3.0 and “really stretching what CPaaS is.” As Galop describes in the podcast, what that means is that CPaaS has become far more than just a communications API and is now more of a complete workflow and application that happens to have CPaaS sitting beneath it. And, because it’s powered by CPaaS, it’s highly customizable.

CPaaS is very much top of mind here at Metrigy, especially as work begins on our inaugural CPaaS MetriRank report, which will assess which CPaaS providers are best positioned today and for long-term success. Watch for that report, coming next quarter, and in the meantime, join the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance for CPaaS Acceleration Summit Amsterdam, Sept. 18-20.