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Turning IT into a 'business enabler': How service delivery is driving innovation at real estate firm JLL

Matthew Finnegan | Aug. 14, 2015
ComputerworldUK speaks to JLL service delivery director Darren Munsey about transforming the perception of IT within the business.

"There is no other real estate firm I am aware of that does this."

Transforming service delivery

However, being able to support the wider business in its innovation aims has not always been simple.

JLL employs approximately 200 internal IT staff across its EMEA operations, supporting (13,000) users across 32 countries. In addition to this there are a significant number of outsourced workers employed by IBM, following a multi-million contract renewal with the service provider in 2014.

While JLL's IT focus has always been to provide a stable and robust service, the firm experienced some challenges in the past, resulting in investment for the infrastructure.

For instance, network-related outages impaired the ability of staff to carry out their business, often leaving them with no email, internet and shared documents. This resulted in an inferior business perception. "You could potentially lose a lot of money without the use of key technology services," Munsey explained.

In order to remedy this, JLL's CIO was given a budget to invest in IT as part of a move away from the focusing of fixing faults after they occurred, while head of infrastructure, Lee Wood, was also tasked with delivering a stable IT infrastructure environment to the business including a data centre migration programme.

"[The CIO said that] things need to stop breaking. We need to be able to focus more on innovation, and look at how IT can bring revenue into JLL, rather than the historical 'break-fix' service organisation that IT has always seemed to be."

He added: "The business was growing extremely fast, making constant profit quarter on quarter. The business was going at 100 miles per hour and [the IT department was going at] 50 miles per hour - it wasn't keeping up with the business demand."

Managing outsourcing relationship

Addressing the firm's outsourcing relationship with IBM - which includes a big off-shore element - was Munsey's first task.

By managing the relationship and working more closely with IBM to implement robust ITIL processes, Munsey was able to develop an improved level of service. This meant ensuring incident management, change management and problem management were not only ITIL aligned but actually delivered a real value to the business.

"If you outsource services to a partner it is imperative you provide guidance, ensure your expectations are clearly understood and make your partner feel a part of your organisational ethos. Without this they are going to just do the basics to meet their contractual obligations," he says.

"When I joined JLL I set my expectations with IBM from the start, IBM embraced this not only because they understood the value but my expectations were based on industry standards to deliver an all-round better service.

 

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