Q. What is CaaS?
A.Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS, typically pronounced ‘cass’) is an outsourcing model for enterprise communications. Such communications can include voice over IP, contact center applications, voice conferencing and more. The CaaS vendor is responsible for all hardware and software management and offers guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). CaaS allows businesses to selectively deploy communications services and applications on a pay-as-you-go, as-needed basis. (Download - A New Approach to Communications as a Service (CaaS) Whitepaper)
Q. Why choose CaaS over a premise-based solution?
A. CaaS eliminates the large capital investment and ongoing overhead for a premised-based system whose capacity may often exceed or fall short of current demand. CaaS offers flexibility and expandability, allowing for the addition of devices, applications or services on demand. The network capacity and feature set can be changed from day to day if necessary so that functionality keeps pace with demand and resources are not wasted. There is no risk of the system becoming obsolete and requiring periodic major upgrades or replacement.
Q. How do I maintain control over my data in a CaaS environment?
A. Some CaaS providers do not allow customers to maintain control over their data. However, others support an architecture that eliminates the issue by allowing storage on your own database server sitting on your network.
Q. How can I avoid latency issues with a VoIP CaaS solution?
A. Some vendors solely provide the option to deliver voice over the Internet with no Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees. This type of voice delivery service is destined to be plagued with voice quality issues. Other CaaS providers offer voice delivery options using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connections to provide QoS guarantees. MPLS connections do increase cost but the trade-off is minimal when striving to ensure business-class voice service.
Q. Do CaaS solutions provide the rich features of premise ACD solutions?
A. Some CaaS offerings provide very basic call handling features with little ability to customize services. These basic service solutions tend to be comprised of hardware and software purchased from another company, rebranded and provided as a service of their own. However, there are CaaS providers who are also software manufacturers of premised-based solution who also offer up their solution as a CaaS offering. This may be the best bet for rich feature sets at affordable prices. The manufacture tends to have more ability to customize applications for the specific needs of the end customer and may even provide faster response to upgrade requests, etc.
Q. What is the risk of contracting for a CaaS solution?
A. Some of the risk factors to be considered might include:
- Choosing a solution based on price considerations solely
- Stability and experience of the provider
- Architecture that does not support survivability
- Lock-in to out-dated technology with no flexibility for upgrades
- Loss of control over data
- Loss of control over administration of the solution
Q. What are the benefits of choosing a CaaS solution over a Premise-based ACD solution?
A. There are many benefits
- Generally CaaS solutions require little or no upfront capital investment.
- CaaS solutions generally charge on a per use or per user basis which provides a predictable pricing model for companies that have fluctuating staffing needs.
- The ability to avoid lock-in to antiquated communications technology
- Flexibility to add features and services as needed as business requirements change.
Q. What if I choose a CaaS provider now but after some time we decide that a premise-based solution is best due to market conditions, business changes, etc.? Are there CaaS vendors that can make this transition easy for me?
A. The answer lies in understanding what type of solution is being offered by the CaaS provider. Typically, CaaS providers create a multi-tenant environment comprised of hardware solutions built around multiple vendor products – one for the PBX, one for the ACD, one for the call recording, etc. In this way, it is nearly impossible to try to replicate that same setup when you move to a premise-based solution so that the migration path is easy.
However, there are software vendors that also offer CaaS solutions that literally allow you to “take the software with you” and put it on servers at your location. In this scenario, it is almost like picking up the server at the CaaS data center and moving it to your office. These vendors make it much easier for you to make this migration when and if you need to.