Data Orchestration in the Customer Journey Process

Get Started with Data

Journey orchestration is a big space, like a giant mountain range with different peaks and valleysThe journey orchestration space is a confusing one for many marketers, CX professionals, and even technology leaders. This makes understanding the key terminology is more important than ever. That’s why we wrote our recent blog defining customer journey orchestration.  But how do you begin a customer journey program? To manage your customer journey, you need data to back it up.  While that data does not need to be perfect, it has to be connected and accessible to your customer journey systems. Some vendors have begun to speak of data orchestration as a way to unify your data for future use, often as the ultimate goal of a data project. While we do think that data orchestration exists, we at Kitewheel use “orchestration” in a very specific way, to mean using data and systems to proactively impact customer experiences as part of a customer journey.  Data orchestration in practice is much more like data fusion, described by Forrester as a way to “connect data across steps in a journey to create a unified view of the customer”.


Data fusion is critical step in delivering great experiences to customers. After all, without knowing what customers are doing across every channel it’s considerably more difficult to make decisions that can enhance their experience. This makes data fusion or data orchestration a powerful tool. However, if you want to influence customer behavior, collecting data is not enough. 

Do Something With Data

People discuss doing something with data orchestrationYour data doesn’t suddenly become useful when it’s real-time and omni-channel. Once you’ve “orchestrated” your data, it’s time to do something with it. Regardless of your industry, the real value will come from being able to turn data into insight and insight into action. For some brands, this takes the form of beginning a journey analytics project, taking the unified customer data that they’ve been able to generate and collect and using one of the powerful customer journey analytics tools on the market to understand what is or is not working as part of their customer journey. Others take their data and begin to do customer journey mapping, now with a cohesive view of where customers are interacting across the journey. 

For those interested in learning more about journey analytics or customer journey mapping, we have blog content that you may find helpful.  Whether you’ve accomplished a data orchestration project using a CDP and you’re ready to take the next step, or if you’re considering a data orchestration project, but haven’t started, it’s important to have a next step in mind. The truth is that both of these are excellent applications for well connected and synchronized data, but they too are only part of the larger practice of customer journey management. Customer journey management is the art of taking your data, journey maps, analytics projects, and journey orchestration capabilities and using them to build a cohesive customer journey. 

Journey Orchestration Does More

Use Technology to overcome data troublesData orchestration as a term has a natural appeal. There is an impulse to want to get the data right before beginning complex marketing or CX projects because using bad data leads directly to bad predictions, decisions, and results. Orchestrating the data sounds powerful and useful, but in truth, it is just one step on the journey to deliver a better customer experience. Journey orchestration is much more than having connected data. Avoiding confusion between the two terms is one key reason we call it data fusion. By connecting their systems in real-time, companies can not only listen and collect data, but also push decisioning, predictions, and guidance out along channels. 

One great example of journey orchestration in action is with one of our automotive clients in the United Kingdom. Data fusion for their IoT project would involve collecting and consolidating data from their tens of thousands of automobiles, across the web, in person, and on the help line. But that data is not useful unless the business can use it.  That’s why they adopted a customer journey orchestration approach. Now they can dynamically warn drivers when their car is at risk of a part failure, have emergency assistance on the way to the site of an accident before it’s even requested, and prevent crashes in the first place. That’s doing something with your data! 

Journey Management: Cohesive Data, Orchestration, and Analytics

Plan on using journey orchestration techniques in the futureJourney orchestration should not be confused for a magic bullet any more than data orchestration, but it is a larger part of the overall customer experience. Data fusion is only step one of a much larger process that leads to full journey management. Journey orchestration requires connected data, good planning, and is enhanced with powerful analytics, but serves as the ultimate tool for actually changing the customer experience for the better. 

Customer journey management and journey orchestration are complex topics in an emerging market. It’s up to you as a marketer or CX professional to understand these terms, but we are here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about customer journey management and the key ways that smart brands can leverage data to act in real-time, read our Guide to Real-time Interaction Management, available for free download.