The 2020 Cloud Comms Evolution: BYOC & Unbundling
The company you work for may already be in the cloud – or even cloud-native. But wherever you are in your cloud journey, telephony and your carriers are a vital consideration.
So in the year of digital transformation, how will your communications ‘network layer’ put you ahead of the curve?
Your cloud journey
Well, lots of you reading this today may already be in the cloud – or even cloud-native – when it comes to your communications stack; perhaps you’re consuming a UCaaS or CPaaS solution.
Some of you might be earlier on that journey or looking at hybrid models.
But wherever you are in your cloud journey, telephony and voice are vital considerations. If you want to keep your comms as flexible, scalable, and efficient as the rest of your business, they can’t be left stuck in an on-premises solution forever.
Even if you’re more ‘build’ than ‘buy’, there are parts of every comms stack that need outsourcing. So do you go with UCaaS? Or is there another option?
If comms companies as big as Zoom and 8×8 are all coming to third parties (in this case Voxbone) for their network layer, it stands to reason that whichever comms providers you use will, too. This approach is something we call “bundling”.
Below, you can see the most dramatic example of bundling – we’ve illustrated a UCaaS product, which provides everything from the carrier layer to the interface layer in a single platform.
The bundled product
- Everything from one supplier
- Minimal flexibility
- Contracted for services you don’t need, or stop needing
- No direct access to the phone numbers/network layer, meaning you pay a markup
Almost all, if not each and every UCaaS product will be using a variety of suppliers in order to achieve this bundled product stack.
So what’s the problem with that?
Well, when it comes to carrier services it means they’re going to be using multiple suppliers. And you’re going to be paying for it but will have no say in which carriers are used. This decision is usually made based on the cheapest possible route to service your calls while maintaining an acceptable level of quality
These are what we call “hidden carriers”. You might be paying for them, but they won’t be accountable to you. Their incentives are geared towards supporting the UCaaS company, and even if you’re the UCaaS company’s biggest customer, they might have different goals and ideals to you.
Another issue this brings about is that there are now additional network hops between your infrastructure and the people on the other end of the line. There’s nothing to say that these hidden carriers aren’t themselves aggregators, meaning you could have two, three, or maybe even more different resellers in a chain to get your call from A to B, each adding additional latency and cost to the equation.
In this model, by contrast, we can see an ‘unbundled’ communications stack.
- The application, or interface, layer:
From customer-facing platforms to the tools that support your contact center, applications can take many forms.
- The logic layer
Everything that controls your call flow, from your PBX to CPaaS software.
- The network layer
Phone numbers and their network. This is where Voxbone, or any carrier, fits in.
By separating out each layer, you open yourself up to freedom of choice: you can bring your own supplier to any stage of it.
The most important layer (maybe we’re biased) is the network layer. It’s the most important because it’s what determines, at the end of the day, whether or not your phone numbers and voice infrastructure do what they’re supposed to.
You can have the best interface or call logic in the world, but they’re both useless without a high-quality global telephony network.
‘Value added’ services
One issue we see people come to us with is that they’re being charged for “value-added” services that they don’t use. Just as an FYI, your comms supplier shouldn’t be charging you extra for buying capacity by region, but they will because they’ll still be incurring costs.
This is what makes scaling with a bundled product super expensive – and for some companies, unaffordable.
But reliability, flexibility, and efficiency aren’t the only issues here. One of the most important considerations is the quality of service. How can you make sure that you’re getting the best from every supplier that your business uses?
‘Bring Your Own Carrier’
The answer is by letting them specialize.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘BYOC’ by now. The ability to ‘Bring Your Own Carrier’ to a platform of your choice to provide underlying voice and messaging functionality. In effect letting your network layer supplier specialize, so you can:
- Maintain control of your call routing
- Extend coverage to more markets through diversifying your network suppliers
- Get greater assurances over connection quality and avoid short-term regulatory issues
- Get the most value from your CPaaS
What About aaS Companies?
So what about our friends out there in the aaS space, creating their own product?
Well, the big win for them is that this model lets them build the app, program, or software and deploy comms to multiple regions without getting tied up in regulatory red tape.
If your product is designed to offer international comms, customers can simply ‘plug-in’ a carrier that does. Plus, coverage doesn’t have to be the only variable to look at when picking a comms supplier: you can also make a decision based on quality.
This is likely to be particularly useful if you’re offering a contact center or contact center solution, where clear, clean lines of communication are one of your best assets as a business.
So with one blow, BYOC can remove all the hassle of scaling your operations and clear plenty of obstacles that are likely to arise from handling lots of different suppliers all at once. And by offering BYOC to their customers, aaS creators can let VB handle this relationship while they concentrate on their product.
Playing to our strengths
What we’re recommending is that you give each layer of software the chance to do what it’s best at. Application specialists aren’t the best at providing network access. And Voxbone isn’t best at building applications. Playing to the strengths of each system will deliver the results that transform your business.