Jones Lang LaSalle

Where the business of physical space meets the digital workplace

— With Stephen Ramseur, Managing Director, Occupier Services, JLL

The rise of co-working spaces, mobility and the internet of things (IoT). Boomers leaving the workforce while millennials stream in, with their expectations of a digitally enabled workplace and constant connectivity. And the spread of the technology industry beyond major hubs into smaller cities all over the country and the world. Today, it's hard to extricate commercial real estate from technology innovation. As a reflection of this momentum, venture investors poured over $5 billion into real estate technology in 2017.


Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is at the forefront of digital innovation in the trillion-dollar construction and real estate industry. A 235-year-old Fortune 500 company with diversified lines of business that include commercial leasing, real estate brokerage, management and financing, JLL is equal parts commercial real estate heavyweight and cutting-edge technology company. It's invested in creating new technologies and platforms to help clients better mine data, leverage predictive analytics and harness business intelligence across their real estate investments.

Stephen Ramseur, the Managing Director of Occupier Services for JLL, holds the vision for where expertise in physical space intersects with the digital workplace at the company. "We're facing tremendous disruption," he says, "and as a leader, it means you need to embrace paradox — that cognitive dissonance of operating the business while we're leading through digital transformation." For Ramseur, putting scalable tools in place that enable work now while also supporting future potential means finding best-of-breed partners with a similar vision.

"If you think about our multi-trillion dollar industry, we're facing hockey-stick growth, emerging out of the dark ages into the digital age."

— Stephen Ramseur, Managing Director, Occupier Services, JLL

Manifesting an enhanced digital experience for customers

Customers expect transparency and control over their experience at every touchpoint with JLL, and the company has invested tremendous resources into customer-facing technology innovation. JLL has a complete in-house user experience, design and engineering team that focuses on agile development of applications to deliver optimized value to both clients and employees.


For commercial real estate investors, deep insight into data gives them the ability to make smarter investment decisions. Using JLL's app built with Box Platform, clients can get quick snapshots of their commercial real estate portfolios and real-time data on buildings' performance metrics. They can scout properties of interest via mobile VR experiences and use different custom apps to conduct market analysis and location selection. Ramseur says, "Using Box Platform APIs allows us to bring disparate applications together in a seamless experience for our customers, accessing that data to really save them money." 


The three lenses of the future of work

JLL's 83,000 employees are spread across nearly 300 offices in 80 countries, and their work often takes them beyond the office into the field, where meeting with customers at potential sites is a critical part of business. Naturally, mobile collaboration is a huge element of working effectively at JLL, as is protecting sensitive IP and customer data. As he makes technology decisions that support a mobile and digital workplace, Ramseur surveys partners and tools accordingly, looking for those that work well within what he calls "the three lenses of the future of work": human experience, digital drive and continuous innovation. 

Office design by M Moser Associates- Photography by Emily Hagopian
Office design by M Moser Associates - Photography by Emily Hagopian

Human experience means creating a more agile workplace to enable a fluid workforce that's highly mobile and dedicated to work-life balance. Box supports this lens of work by allowing brokers to get work done wherever they are, giving them immediate access to tour books, marketing assets, contracts, project files and any other type of content. By making it easy to access content without having to email files around, Ramseur's team helps cut down on repetitive, unfulfilling tasks and makes employees' workdays more satisfying, productive and secure.


Digital drive is about finding best-of-breed tools that integrate seamlessly and make everyday processes easier for employees and customers. For instance, in commercial real estate, part of the process of surveying a new property is to create a "tour book" for the customer — an asset that used to take several employees about three and a half hours to compile. Now, with a custom app built using Box Platform, this same task can be accomplished in just 23 minutes, onsite.


JLL adopted Box in 2017, and it has become part of everyday work at the company along with other best-of-breed cloud tools. Employees use DocuSign to help with secure contract processes, Okta for secure authentication and custom experiences built on top of Box to enable more sophisticated, mobile use of content. This approach — building highly customized experiences using proven partner platforms — is a major differentiator for a centuries-old company serving digitally native customers. 


A commitment to continuous innovation

Ramseur's "third lens of the future of work" is continuous innovation — an idea that overlays every technology decision he makes and is a central tenet of JLL's business. In fact, the company's Silicon Valley-based innovation arm, JLL Spark, is exclusively devoted to the intersection of real estate and technology. The newly created JLL Spark Global Venture Fund will invest up to $100 million into companies focused on leveraging technology to improve the commercial real estate industry.

Office design by M Moser Associates - Photography by Emily Hagopian
Office design by M Moser Associates - Photography by Emily Hagopian

AI is poised to have a huge impact on the construction and real estate industry, improving things like smart leases, lead prospecting, customer management and agent recruiting. Currently, JLL is exploring potential AI applications with Box Skills. Ramseur describes one in-progress project: "We're accessing metadata with our partner Codelitt to understand our customers around sentiment and demand — how they want to use space."


As more sophisticated technology tools become standard operating procedure in commercial real estate, JLL is committed to staying at the nexus of where physical space meets the digital workplace.