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Passing the CMO Tech Test: What's the Client Benefit?

By Jill Kouri, CMO, JLL Americas

Jill Kouri, CMO, JLL Americas

From Virtual reality to Drones and Predictive analytics, we invest in these technologies because they drive revenue for our clients—and, therefore, drive our business as well. Gone are the days when technology is seen purely as a cost center. Now we look for platforms that directly contribute to achieving our clients’ investment and corporate business objectives, typically platforms with unique functionality that differentiate us.

JLL has long been regarded as an innovator in the highlycompetitive global commercial real estate services industry. As such, our clients expect us to bring them new technology-based solutions that improve productivity and help them compete and win. We’ve done so in the past, and we keep doing so by pushing the envelope in every aspect of our business.

To live up to this ambitious brand promise, our teams constantly look for what is new and how we can help our clients solve their challenges. We also have dedicated teams that develop one-of-a-kind platforms, and deep training resources to ensure that professionals throughout our organization bring the technology’s full benefits to every team, for maximum impact.

And it pays off. The JLL brand (NYSE: JLL) is one of the strongest and most in-demand brands in the global commercial real estate industry. With 58,000 employees across 230 corporate offices worldwide, we serve the local, regional and global real estate needs of corporate and investors in more than 80 countries. Named to the Fortune 500 list in 2015, we’ve been recognized frequently with inclusion over many years in the InformationWeek Elite 100; the Fortune list of World’s Most Admired Companies; and other similar distinctions.

Passing the test: what’s the client benefit?

For our client-facing technologies, we evaluate or develop each new platform to directly improve business impact for our clients. Is high performance and functionality important? Of course. But functionality and quality are table stakes. Differentiating technologies are the ones that impact client revenues and performance in multiple ways.

Our most recent advances have driven performance by reducing carbon footprints, improving return on property investment, helping corporations leverage their real estate data to recruit top people and many other contributions. We’ve also integrated technologies to better present existing data in new and unique ways, helping to illuminate the site selection process and help companies and investors find the best locations for workforce productivity, innovation and corporate social responsibility.

JLL has invested significantly in the creation of industry-leading platforms that feature our proprietary business methodologies. A few that are most directly impacting our clients’ businesses right now include:

- RED, the JLL corporate real estate data and analytics platform. Years in development, RED delivers data analysis that enhances C-Suite decision-making, using judicious data governance tools to integrate real estate data with information from HR, IT, procurement, marketing and external data sources. Its recent launch highlights the evolving role that technology plays for non-technology companies competing in a data-driven world.

- Blackbird, a next-generation geographic information system. Blackbird illuminates the site selection process, presenting leading GIS information overlaid directly with commercial real estate market data, a combination not offered by other systems available on the market.

- HiRise, an online marketplace for office space. This first-ofits- kind platform fundamentally changes the way office space is sought, transacted and shared, allowing building owners to efficiently monetize and promote available space directly to tenants at pre-negotiated rates and create flexible leasing opportunities for small businesses and startups not yet ready for traditional office leases.

- IntelliCommandSM, JLL’s global smart building platform. The system and its professional staff remotely monitor and continuously commission smart buildings around the world on a 24/7 basis, predicting adverse events and launching real-time responses to external factors.

To deliver these rewards from our technology investments to our clients, we create partnerships between our in-house IT, marketing, research and other functions with outside vendors to enhance our tech capabilities for clients.

Cutting edge property marketing technologies

In addition to developing industry-leading systems, we also provide our property marketing teams with best-in-class marketing technology tools–award-winning programs that directly contribute to property operating revenues and investor ROI. The combination of these innovative tools with our teams’ creative resources shapes the ‘whole technology package.’ Many of our top performers cite the availability of this suite of technologies as part of why they join, and stay, with JLL. As such, we view our investments in technology as investments in our people.

For instance, augmented reality and gamification helps our teams to succeed by changing the remote property tour experience. Using virtual reality, drone video and other tools, our teams are becoming increasingly creative in how we can use this rapidly evolving technology to create more userdriven, reality-like experiences. As technologies evolve, so does our property marketing.

Drones are becoming a favorite topic in the news; they also provide real estate with a way to capture creative angles and video that delights clients and investors. We’re always pushing the limits on how we can use drone footage—a technology that’s rapidly advancing in real-time. We integrate drone and other creative video footage into our 360° Experiential Online Building Tours and interactive micro sites, bringing tenants and investors into a realistic space. For example, we use vibrant video and social media to market one of Pittsburgh’s most prominent office buildings.

This creative use and packaging of digital video leverages technology to entice in-person site visits—but the technologyenabled experience doesn’t stop at the door. We present prospects with iPad based video brochures, use iPad-enabled presentations that individualize the meeting experience, and offer touch screens inside trophy buildings like Chicago’s Aon Center.

Delivering the technology—and the brand promise

The right tech comes together under the right team. To build and maintain technology that delivers on its promises to clients, the CIO and the CMO must have a strong working relationship and share an integrated process. To keep the lines of communication open and integrate early and often, we established a new function, a designated professional team whose members play a direct role linking the IT and marketing functions. It’s been helpful to have resources in place not only to develop the technology and work with our many vendors to create the right platforms, but to actually bring it to market, internally and externally. The team we’ve put in place assimilates our technology into our corporate culture, and ensures our professionals have access, training and awareness of what the technologies can do for our clients.

Investments in the right technologies that the CMO and the CIO evaluate together are key to using technology to help our clients succeed. Ultimately, this collaboration reinforces and enhances our robust brand, and earns loyalty from our clients.