JLL: Data-Driven Business Transformation

business transformationWalking around Boston recently, I noticed JLL signs on several landmark commercial real estate sites.  It hit me that anybody can sell an office or a warehouse. That is to say, if you’re just a broker and a paperwork facilitator, it’s hard to differentiate your services from countless competitors. With that in mind, commercial real estate giant JLL looked to data as a way to stand out, and provide value to its customers, and to differentiate its offerings.

A global financial and professional services firm that specializes in commercial real estate services and investment management, Chicago-based JLL decided to put its voluminous data at its clients’ fingertips, to help them make smarter decisions. The company decided to gather all the data it could and embed data and analytics in the services JLL provides to its customers. The result is RED, a data management and analytics platform that lets clients understand not just the basic characteristics of a facility. It lets them understand everything from energy usage trends to workforce insights that can drive space design.

The full power of JLL’s data

Combining data from back-end building management systems, Internet of Things sensors and public data from the U.S. Dept. of Labor and other sources, RED helps clients maximize value from start to finish, including:

  • Picking a site.
  • Managing HVAC—including knowing when to repair an aging system versus replacing it wholesale.
  • Managing lighting and energy consumption.
  • Managing security.
  • Improving workplace design, using data on where people sit and how often rooms are used to determine floor plans and how many conference rooms are needed.
  • Better managing portfolios of multiple properties.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Reporting on RED’s success, the Wall Street Journal noted, “In a survey of its own corporate headquarters, JLL found that employees felt they were mobile 30 percent of the time. But seat sensor data showed they spent nearly half of their days away from their desks, a finding that influenced the design of its new offices.”

Informatica helped JLL create its data solution, and Mike Hart, director of research and VP of Data Management & Operations, explained the crucial importance of JLL’s data strategy: “Data is the fuel of our organization and our differentiator in the marketplace,” he said. “Empowering clients, building managers, and revenue-producing partners to paint a picture or tell a story with information has been the biggest and most important change Informatica has helped us make.”

Bringing it all together

That’s not to say it was an easy task. JLL was dealing with huge amounts of data, drawn from many internal and external sources. The company has many cloud and on-premises sources already, and because JLL acquires a number of companies every year, it needs to integrate those companies into JLL’s data pipeline quickly. And, of course, for every new client or property, JLL has to quickly onboard and process new data.

Then throw in Internet of Things. JLL has huge volumes of data coming from IoT sources, such as sensors in buildings, some of which can generate a terabyte of data per day.

The problem was how to systematically manage all of this data and data complexity. Hand coding and one-off approaches just would not scale to JLL’s needs. The other problem was that new data was appearing every day, from new clients, new properties, new acquisitions, and new third-party sources.

As JLL’s data management partner in this massive project, Informatica defined the challenges like this:

  • We had to enable interactive data visualizations that add context to data.
  • We needed to provide an architecture that would support JLL’s growth strategies.
  • We had to establish a master data management hub for content storage and to automate delivery of data to analytics/visualization tools.
  • We had to break down silos between existing systems, pulling CRM, GIS and other data sources into a centralized database.
  • The solution had to be lightning fast, despite the massive volumes of data involved and the fact that it was coming from many internal and external sources.

JLL brought the full scope of Informatica’s technology and expertise to bear. They standardized their data management principles and governance processes for increased consistency and accuracy of data company-wide. They established a foundation for predictive analytics to drive continuous improvement in facility automation and management—helping cut energy consumption across JLL’s facilities by about 15 percent. They connected formerly silo-ed systems with real-time access to a single data store, enabling faster and more accurate trend analytics. And with self-service tools, they made it easier for JLL employees and clients to access the resulting insights.

A new kind of business partner

The results have been phenomenal. JLL now has an array of services that nobody else in the industry can offer, going way beyond traditional real estate services. Not only does this make JLL the best, most complete solution in the eyes of its clients, it also changes the relationship entirely. Clients no longer see JLL as “just” a commercial real estate broker—the company is a strategic partner that can help with new initiatives, ongoing management and strategy around a company’s commercial real estate assets.

JLL is one of my favorite data success stories. It’s a prime example of how even a well-established company can rebuild its services around data to better serve customers, and truly transform its role in a highly competitive marketplace.

For more on JLL’s data initiative, read our JLL Customer Success profile.