The role of service delivery seems to be somewhat overlooked in the digital transformation of many businesses.
But for real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the ability of the IT department to provide a strong foundation for the business has been vital to enabling wider innovation.
"We are moving from being a traditional internal service provider to a 'business enabler'," says Darren Munsey, JLL's EMEA service delivery director.
"The business will approach IT saying they need technology to differentiate us from our competitors. Our focus is not only to deliver innovative cutting-edge tools and applications but to proactively research the latest technologies we believe will benefit the business strategy."
Munsey joined JLL in June 2014, following the arrival of CIO, Chris Zissis, and EMEA head of infrastructure and operations director Lee Wood from real estate firm, DTZ.
Since arriving, he says he has helped change the perception of IT within the business.
"Over the past year we have conducted various education sessions to the business to deliver an understanding of what the IT department has to offer and the services we provide," he says.
"This, along with a proven track record of delivery has shown the business we have far more to offer than being a tradition reactive break/fix service."
He adds: "The business doesn't just come to us and say my laptop doesn't boot, they approach us and say 'technology will enable us to go and make waves in industry'. And that is what we deliver."
'We want to be a tech services firm specialising in real estate'
For JLL - which has around 55,000 staff across the world, with approximately 13,000 in the EMEA region - there are big ambitions for the role technology can play in modernising the firm.
As the real estate market, like most industries, becomes increasingly digitised, JLL is aware that it needs to invest in its in-house technology to stay one step ahead of its competitors.
"Where the business wants to be is a technology services firm specialising in real estate, rather than a real estate firm with good technology," says Munsey.
"This is a very competitive industry and JLL want to be the leaders in the real estate technology race. From property valuations to dispatching mobile engineers, every second counts and technology plays a major part in everything we do."
Achieving this has meant investing in creating its own intellectual property. For example, JLL has developed an iPad-based property visualisation tool for asset management staff, and a unique GPS-linked engineer tracking system.
"Our facilities engineer despatch system locates an engineer based on GPS and automatically sends work orders delivered via a tablet," says Munsey, "this negates the need for a call despatch team and all the management and overheads that goes with it."
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