Forrester analyst Mark Grannan seems like too well-mannered a guy to come right out and say it, so we will.

If you don’t get the digital experience (DX) right, you put your business at risk.

Grannan made his case during a keynote address at CMSWire’s DX Summit here yesterday using his most recent home buying experience as an example.

As a busy new dad he found himself in need of multiple services — from a real estate agent to online property listings and contextual information about schools and walkability.

While email, texts, mobile apps and such can free you from your desk, they are not the answer to the problem.  Providing a single, integrated experience is.

Integrated Solutions

That’s precisely what businesses disrupting the real estate industry offer today. Grannan cited Redfin as an example. It combines local agents who get to know you over coffee and on home tours with online tools to help you shop and to make decisions smarter and faster.

In other words, Redfin changes the real estate game by assimilating cross-functional tools to make the home-buying process faster and easier.

It’s a disruptor.

“The integration of convenience and effectiveness is a disruptor in any market,” said Grannan.

Grannan’s example drove a pertinent point home; namely that the digital experience isn’t just an IT problem, a marketing problem or a customer service problem.

The challenge is to serve the needs of the customer, and break down the silos that make that possible.

There’s a 4-Tier Solution

Tier 1: If you haven’t ditched your marketing funnel yet, the time to do so is now (you’re about three years late, by the way.) Use  customer journey mapping instead, said Grannan.

Tier 2: Organization and Process: This includes getting employees on board and on-program. Identify the stakeholders, which may come from departments as disparate as business development, marketing, technology, legal, compliance and so on.

Set shared goals, with the customer at the center. In other words, sales and customer service should have the same goal- the customer experience). What data is involved? Reward success. “Sometimes the best way to motivate people is money,” said Grannan.

Tier 3: Apply the Technology and Systems. “Not rip and replace,” said Grannan. “Let the architecture guide your investments.” The question is no longer “how can we integrate” but “how well can we integrate?” and that means looking for gaps and overlaps , managing the customer journey, turning functions and features off.

And when you buy new software, you have to ask two questions, said Grannan. “Does it fit into my architecture? Does it allow us to maintain flexibility?

Tier 4: Bring the Technology and the Feedback Together: Optimize by reusing common services. Focus on repeatable assets. Use testing and analytics to refine relevance and build common services.