Making Sense of the “Customer Journey” Technology Landscape
Increasingly, clients come to us confused about what “customer journey” tools do and where they fit. The confusion isn’t surprising. Like customer experience (CX) more broadly, the customer journey concept and term are used by a wide variety of companies to describe a wide variety of solutions. Taking a journey-based view makes sense in a number of contexts, but the shared language is muddying the market.
Here’s what we see as three distinct market segments operating under the customer journey banner:
- Journey Mapping & Management tools help create, deploy, and manage journey maps to understand, align around, and improve CX. They support a top-down or deductive approach for defining the journey and managing related insights and action plans. They focus primarily on enterprise, strategic level insights, and actions. Examples of providers in this segment include Strativity with Touchpoint Dashboard and SuiteCX.
- Usage objective: Strategic alignment and prioritization
- Target user: CX and strategy pros
- Resource and investment level: Low to medium
- Journey Analytics tools help analyze customer-level data from multiple systems to see patterns and draw conclusions about the customer journey (e.g., common paths and friction points). They support a bottom-up or inductive approach to defining the journey and uncovering related insights. They focus primarily on insights derived from individual-level data. Examples of providers in this segment include ClickFox and NICE.
- Usage objective: Path analysis and optimization
- Target user: Data analyst
- Resource and investment level: High
- Journey Orchestration tools help apply customer-level data from multiple systems to drive real-time interventions and optimizations in the CX (e.g., next best offer). They focus on individual-level CX delivery rather than on defining and understanding the journey. Examples of providers in this segment include Kitewheel and Pointillist.
- Usage objective: Automated journey delivery optimization
- Target client: Marketing, digital operations pros
- Resource and investment level: Medium to high
Naturally, there are points of overlap and convergence, but generally, we see these different types of tools meeting different needs for different audiences. One way we pull them apart, as we do above, is by thinking about their focus on enterprise vs. individual information and action vs. insight. The chart below plots the three segments accordingly.
Each has a purpose and place, and ideally, they work together to enable a more customer-centric, journey-based approach at all levels. Journey Mapping & Management tools align the organization around an enterprise strategy and action plan, Journey Analytics tools identify issues and opportunities as they arise in existing journeys, and Journey Orchestration tools deliver optimized experiences to customers as they interact.
With this in mind, we’d encourage you to look beyond general journey-related jargon and consider what your organization really needs and what you can realistically support.