The paths of many business application stacks diverge at the crossroads of “Buy It or Build It.” Digital business communications platforms are no exception. You might say it’s like deciding between building a house from a pre-fab kit versus having stacks of lumber, tiles, nails, and shingles delivered to your property. Online and managed unified communications and collaboration services offer businesses the best of both worlds based on their needs and resources.  

Defining and Differentiating UCaaS vs CPaaS

In the cloud era, many organizations are migrating from on-premise unified communication platforms to all-in-one, cloud-based, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) providers. 

What is UCaaS?

UCaaS solutions are cloud-delivered, secure, and integrated suites of communications and collaboration solutions, including: 

  • Voice telephony
  • Meetings including audio, video, and screen sharing
  • Unified messaging
  • Instant messaging and presence (personal and team)
  • Mobility
  • Communications-enabled business processes

These expandable platforms like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, offer configurable personalization options. They are available with functionality for video conferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, cloud PBX, and voice calling. 

What is CPaaS?

CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) solution is a cloud solution that allows businesses to add communication features to their business applications.  It’s a development framework that tasks developers with more responsibilities for customization and personalization. Many leading UCaaS platforms offer SDKs, APIs, and connectors as extensions to their platform, yet CPaaS frameworks are primarily made up of SDKs and APIs.

Why Invest in a UCaaS Communications Stack? 

UCaaS technology solutions offer quick-to-deploy, configurable suites of modules such as video conferencing, voice calls, and instant messaging. Instead of contact centers, they tend to be an ideal fit for many-to-many, one-to-many, or one-to-one scheduled conversations. Leading platforms like Webex and Microsoft Teams offer integrations into CRM and connectors for other business applications. Yet they act more as alternative windows into integrated software as a service (SaaS) offerings instead of “single panes of glass” like CPaaS. 

UCaaS central administration, management, and monitoring functionality eases onboarding users, providing them access to shared group spaces and shared files. As remote and hybrid workstyle adoption increases, UCaaS enables employee engagement and greater work-life balance.  

Why Choose a CPaaS Platform? 

Do you have mature communications channels for customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders? Want to add point solutions for video conferencing, SMS, click-to-call, or live chat? A CPaaS solution could be your best bet. CPaaS platforms are the “newer kids” block since on-premise unified communications solutions gave UCaaS a head start. Yet Cisco’s Webex division entered the CPaaS market recently and is making significant strides in the enterprise communications space. 

Other considerations include:

  • Do you have contracted or full-time developers and integration architects that can use APIs and SDKs to develop custom functionality?
  • Have you prioritized back-end integration requirements for analytics and structured data applications?
  • Are you interested in controlling your communication platform feature releases, or are you willing to accept a vendor’s road map?
  • Want flexible pricing, enabling you to pay only for what you need? 

If you are preparing for a significant global expansion and need a highly scalable solution that enables you to add functionality like contact centers? CPaaS offers a context-enriched communications stack when integrated with back-office applications

Best Practices for UC&C Productivity

Download our free white paper to learn how UC&C can play an important role in how a business communicates and influences its entire workforce and customer base.

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UCaaS, CPaaS, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

The leading UCaaS platforms increasingly offer a variety of AI functionality. For example,  boosting audio and video quality and blocking ambient background sound. Voice recognition bots capture conversations to create transcripts and captions for the hearing impaired in real-time. Some of these conversation bots can analyze conversation dialogs to identify the topics discussed during business conversations, emotional tone during video conversations, and capture action items for follow-up. 

Microsoft Teams enables businesses that run their platform to create and “train” virtual assistants with different skills and data sets. These assistant bots can help with user onboarding or help users find information from across channels and data repositories to which they have access. 

Some organizations are enhancing their CPaaS stacks with AI for functions like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) units. Yet UCaaS offers more functionality for conversational AI “out of the box,” and CPaaS AI functions require more development and customization. According to, the growth of CPaaS as a communications stack has grown faster than the parallel integration of emerging technologies like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. 

Hybrid UCaaS and CPaaS Deployments

For nationally or internationally distributed workforces or other large, matrix organizations, running UCaaS and CPaaS in parallel can be ideal. For example, CPaaS services might be best for an omnichannel contact center while UCaaS would work better for operations departments like finance and legal. Integrating the platforms can facilitate internal collaboration and ensure companies only pay for the services they need, where they are required. 

Need Help Deciding Between UCaaS and CPaaS for Your Organization? 

If you are still unsure of the best communications approach for your business, government agency, or institution, contact Yorktel. We can consult with you on the best path for your company, or if a hybrid approach would deliver the best returns.