All paths lead to the enterprise.
My report was titled Choosing a WebRTC API Platform vendor. Later, I leaned towards calling it WebRTC PaaS. Last year, a new industry term starting to get used a lot – CPaaS – Communication Platform as a Service. These in many cases will include WebRTC, which leads me to call the vendors in my report CPaaS from time to time.
I am currently working on the 6th edition of my report. It has come a long way since it was first introduced. A theme that has grown over the years and especially in the past several months is the way vendors are vying towards the enterprise. It makes sense in a way.
Here are 3 different approaches CPaaS vendors are taking when they are targeting the enterprise.
#1 – Special Pricing
The current notion that WebRTC is free. This in turn leads vendors in this space towards a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing. This leads vendors to look at other alternatives, bringing them towards the enterprise.
Because enterprises are willing to pay. Maybe.
This special pricing for enterprise means they pay more for a package that may accomodate them a bit better.
Check out for example Twilio’s Enterprise Plan. It starts at $15,000/month, offering more control over the account – user roles, single sign on, events auditing, etc.
It is a great way to grow from the penny pinching game of all the platform users to some serious numbers. Only question is – would enterprises be willing to see the extra value and pay premium for it? I sure hope they do, otherwise, we may have a big problem.
#2 – Extending UCaaS to CPaaS
The second set of players viying for a place in the enterprise CPaaS game? The UCaaS players.
If you do UCaaS, Unified Communication as a Service, then you have an infrastructure already that can be leveraged for the use of CPaaS. Or at least the story says.
Who do we have here?
- ooVoo, went from running a communication service towards a developer play (not an enterprise one mind you), only to shut it down later
- Cisco Spark, coming up with its own API
- Skype, looking at developers from time to time, trying to get their attention and then failing to give them the tools they need
- Vonage, with its acquisition of Nexmo
- RingCentral, adding a developer platform
- Vidyo, to some extent, with VidyoCloud and Vidyo.io
The challenge here is the change in the nature of the business and the expectations of the customers. Developers aren’t IT. They have different decition processes, different values they live by. Selling to them is different.
#3 – Simplifying and Customizing
There are those who try to simplify things. They build widgets, modules and reference applications on top of their CPaaS. They customize it for the customer. They try to target customers who aren’t developers – assuming that enterprises lack the capacity and willingness to develop.
They augment that with system integrators they work with. Ones who speak and talk the language of the enterprise. Ones who can fill in all the integration gaps.
This is a slow process though. It is elephant hunting at its best – a slow process compared to the CPaaS game.
Where does this all lead us?
There is no one-size-fits-all.
No silver bullet for winning the enterprise.
But there are a few approaches out there that are worth looking at.
For me? I am just looking at it from the sideline and documenting this process. It is part of what gets captured in my upcoming WebRTC PaaS report – these changing dynamics. The new entrants, those who exist and the progress and change that others are experiencing.
Can’t decide which CPaaS vendor to use? Check out my CPaaS vendor selection matrix: