A: The first thing you need is a journey orchestration “engine.” These are typically independent systems that integrate with delivery solutions, such as email delivery systems. They don’t actually send an email or push a message themselves, but they can work with any end-delivery system a company might already be using. The engine can leverage any data source that the company might use to make an informed decision. For example, Adobe’s journey orchestration engine, called Journey Orchestration, leverages Adobe Experience Platform as its data source.
Other journey orchestration engines include Thunderhead, Kitewheel, Pointillist and Salesforce’s Interaction Studios. The end goal for each of these platforms is generally the same, but they do have different features to help companies with specific needs. Some products focus on doing journey orchestration on a high level — Thunderhead or Interaction Studio, for example, are more focused on the overall flow from stage to stage, flowing from general awareness through to consideration, conversion, advocacy, reviewing and mapping from that high-level view out. Other solutions, including Adobe, take this one level further and get into granular points of engagement. With these engines, an event happens and, based on everything we know about this customer and the contacts, we (Adobe) will make a decision to engage with them by email or an SMS message and maybe update a record somewhere in a database to actually orchestrate that experience.
At the end of the day, these are all platforms that have been built with openness in mind. They can all integrate and fit into a company’s ecosystem or stack of solutions quite nicely. When it comes to choosing one product over another, each engine does work slightly differently, but the main differences are in the price point, scale and complementary products of each engine.