Digital workplace

How JLL is driving digital transformation in commercial real estate

Published Jul 29, 2022

When you think of cutting edge technology firms, a storied commercial real estate company founded in 1783 probably isn’t what comes to mind. But that’s precisely what JLL—the second-largest public brokerage firm in the world boasting more than 90,000 employees—has become. Through its JLL Technologies (JLLT) arm, the firm is providing users with best in class property technology (PropTech) products and experiences. In doing so, it’s demonstrating the truth of something we at Pendo like to say: Every company is a software company, no matter what products they make or services they provide. 

In a recent webinar, Daniel Fenton (Director of Product, Market Intelligence at JLLT) spoke with Dhara Tanwani (Sr. Director, Sales Sales Systems at Pendo) about how JLLT is spurring technological innovation in PropTech, and how they’re using Pendo to optimize the user experience in the process.

Spurring tech innovation in real estate 

JLL provides services across the commercial real estate spectrum, and around the world. That means serving both investors who want to buy, sell, and operate commercial buildings and occupiers who want to find, build out, or operate spaces small and large. 

Increasingly, JLL serves clients as well as brokers and other employees via its JLLT wing, which was created in 2019, in part to bring together previously disparate tech development efforts. Within JLLT, Fenton explained, the Market Intelligence group creates software products that collect, analyze, and explain data about the commercial real estate market, which helps brokers advise clients on key decisions. 

JLLT also helps research analysts get to the right answers so they can both advise their clients and better operate the business. “We have an army of researchers around the world who are really market experts,” Fenton explained, “and they track the office market, the industrial market, data centers, retail, healthcare, all these different facets—and they use our technology to collect this data and manage it.”

Save time for dev, add value for users

One key product Fenton and his team manage is Blackbird, a geospatial visualization platform designed to demonstrate market knowledge to clients in a visually compelling way. Because the platform has existed for a number of years, JLLT wanted to ensure brokers were both aware of and able to gain value from new product features in a way that wouldn’t be a drain on engineering. 

“The worst thing for a product team is developing something that people don’t use,” he said. To make sure that wouldn’t be the case, he said, “we used to spend quite a bit of engineering effort and design time creating our own guides that would help people figure out what new features were on offer. And it took something like three days’ worth of engineering time, which is quite a bit.” As an alternative, JLLT turned to Pendo and its In-App Guides to support and familiarize users with new features—and immediately began seeing the benefit in task time reduction. What used to take an engineer three days as a manual build, Fenton said, could now be handled by a product manager in an hour. 

At the same time, the Market Intelligence team at JLLT also used Pendo to begin collecting feedback, specifically Net Promoter Score (NPS), on Blackbird to gauge the health of broker sentiment on the platform. 

“Brokers are actually more like customers,” Fenton explained, “because they can bounce from company to company within the industry and take their business with them. So it’s really important for us that the brokers feel like we’re making great software for them.” In other words, the metric gave the Market Intelligence team a window into how much of a value add Blackbird was for brokers. “NPS really solved the problem for us of how to measure the value of Blackbird if we don’t have a way to attribute direct revenue to it. Are we just operating based on what people say? This gave us a way to actually measure what that sentiment is.”

To learn more about JLL and how it’s driving digital digital transformation and innovation, watch the full webinar below: