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What is customer data orchestration?

By connecting data and making it available, data orchestration drives insight and business value

CHAPTER 1

Achieving harmony with customer data orchestration

Customer data orchestration is the process of combining, coordinating, verifying, and connecting data collected from various sources and channels. It includes storing this data in a system that makes it accessible. Some customer data orchestration tools can analyze the data for insight, and even act on those insights in real-time.

Customer data orchestration is all about harmony. As customers interact with brands through various channels, advertisements, or campaigns, they constantly create data points — like musical notes of various pitches. Something must synthesize these varying notes, and that's where a brand's data orchestration system comes in. By orchestrating a symphony of sources, a harmonious relationship between a business and its prospects and customers emerges.

How does customer data orchestration work? To be effective, data orchestration systems must capture data from multiple locations, combine and organize it, and either analyze it themselves or connect it to data-analysis tools. And this all needs to happen in real-time. Like a well-conducted concert, the result should be a well-crafted, modern data stack, accessible to various other tools and business users. When your customer data orchestration works, it’s music to your brand's ears.

Chapter 2

Why does data orchestration matter?

Customer data orchestration is a relatively new term. As digital engagement grew, both within and outside of companies, the need to connect siloed and disparate data systems did too. Without getting into the weeds, the manual practices that engineers had developed to do this were both time consuming and not entirely effective. So, engineers developed tools to automate this work, increasing the speed, accuracy, and effectiveness of connecting data.

Data silos can happen across businesses for all sorts of reason. Any tool you use — from a CMS to a CRM to an internal portal — is a potential data silo. When it comes to marketing, silos can exist between internal and external teams, internal and external systems. There is also the issue of channels. You want your website data to mesh with your email data, not to mention in-store, events, and social data.

Data orchestration platforms tear down walls and connect silos, creating a less-fragmented and easy-to-access data stream. Alongside the growth of cloud technology, engineers have developed cloud-driven data orchestration approaches to optimize cloud infrastructure.

Data orchestration platforms, such as a customer data platform (CDP), also lessen the need for engineers and data scientists to manually manage data collection and transformation. That means no more overnight, manual batch data processes that tend to clog the workflow and prompt a cranky morning call to IT.

Chapter 3

Customer data orchestration broken down

With the right data orchestration platform, the sequence of building a data orchestration workflow can be broken down into five simple steps.

  1. Connect: Connect as many data sources as possible to your data orchestration platform, likely a CDP. These sources might include data from engagements happening in-store, on a website, with customer service, on ad platforms, through loyalty programs, on mobile apps, wearables, or any IoT device. Data must be reputable and properly structured and prepared before it moves through a system. This includes checking for integrity and correctness, applying proper labels and designations, or enhancing new third-party data with existing database information.
  2. Consolidate: Consolidate cross-channel and cross-device data into a real-time view of a customer. CDPs, for example, can deploy artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to identify relevant data and connect it.
  3. Cleanse: Remove old leads, purge duplicate or corrupt records, and update outdated information.
  4. Create: A CDP aggregates all the data, including third-party data, relating to the same person to create a single customer view, enabling deeper insight into the customer.
  5. Customer analysis: This is where a great CDP can really shine— identifying trends and surfacing insights. CDPs can process data from social media, the web, and other sources to determine which products appeal to specific customer segments.

Chapter 4

What does data orchestration mean for customers?

Customers have evolved to embrace the omnichannel experience. Their shopping journeys might prompt them to engage in a brand's social media presence, leading them to the brand's website and eventually a physical store. Customers also might sign up for a newsletter, move possible purchases in an online shopping basket, and talk to an agent over the phone.

These touchpoints generate data. If brands can stitch this data together, they get deep insight into a customer’s wants and needs, which they can then use to drive the customer’s future journey. A good orchestration platform turns anonymous users into known users.

Once brands know users, they can begin to offer relevance at each step of the journey. According to McKinsey's Next in Personalization 2021 Report, companies that excel at personalization can expect to generate 40% more revenue than companies that deliver average customer experiences. When prospects and customers receive value and relevance in each experience, they want to give brands their business.

CHAPTER 5

Why you need a data orchestration platform

A system for combining and channeling data to use is the best option for companies with multiple data systems. Over the years, companies can amass an ever-evolving toolset, sometimes with varying protocols and computing languages.

Data technology undergoes major changes every three to eight years, according to Alluxio. That means a 21-year-old company might have gone through as many as seven different data management systems since its inception, with data scattered across all of them.

By connecting and activating data, CDPs increase insight. Coherent and connected data supports meaningful engagements both within the company and with the company’s prospects and customers. The right CDP will create a single view of each customer, increasing conversion rates and even reducing advertising spend over time. The right data orchestration tool, such as a robust CDP, will also make data governance and compliance much easier.

However, as David Raab, head of the CDP Institute, points out, not all CDPs are created equally. They differ in the types of data they ingest, how they unify customer identifies, the support they provide for real-time updates and queries, and capabilities such as machine learning, segmentation, message selection, and campaign management.

CHAPTER 6

How Sitecore can help

Sitecore offers an advanced customer data platform (CDP) that combines the core data management capabilities of a CDP with intelligent decisioning— blending data, rules, and predictive analytics to make smart decisions about what to discuss with customers and on what channel.

Sitecore CDP can drive revenue, loyalty, and retention with a single customer view that consolidates real-time and historical data from online and offline channels. To learn more about how Sitecore can support your customer data orchestration journey, reach out to us here.

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