JLL, the brand name of Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc., is a global financial and professional services firm specialising in commercial real estate services and investment management. With annual fee revenue of $4 billion, JLL has 200 corporate offices and operates in 75 countries. In Australia, where it is the largest retail and commercial property management firm, JLL offers integrated facilities management services for large, global accounts. Clients such as ING Bank, Telstra and Microsoft outsource all their property transactions to JLL. The Australia organisation has 2,000 corporate employees and another 2,000 who are outsourced workers at client locations.
Challenge: optimising employee productivity
To increase employee productivity, JLL Australia implemented an activity-based working strategy in the Sydney head office and other parts of the region. The company replaced traditional desktop computing with mobile technologies and flexible-work environments.
“We found that when teams changed or people were working on projects and needed to collaborate with specific individuals, the whole office space had to be reconfigured,” said Andrew Clowes, head of IT. “The activity-based model avoids this complexity. People are given a locker, a company-issued laptop and a communications allowance for bring-your-own mobile devices or Internet connectivity. They now have the freedom to work side-by-side with team members in any of eight different environments, from a desk to a company café.” This model is also being implemented at major clients where JLL workers are located.
Activity-based working is part of JLL Australia’s enterprise IT strategy called “Mobile First.” However, the firm’s existing arrangements for video conferencing did not support this initiative. “Telling people the only way they can conduct a video conference is by sitting in a dedicated room using a particular brand of video and voice conferencing did not fit our mobility model,” said Clowes. Not only was this system rigid and highly complex to set up and operate, it was also expensive. Clowes estimated leased lines for video conferencing facilities cost $30,000 a year.
He wanted to find a simpler and less-expensive solution for video conferencing that did not require IT involvement. “Employees should be able to go into any space, turn on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, and have a video call with their clients or colleagues around the globe.”
“GoToMeeting builds intimate connections within small groups of people because they can collaborate easily and often. If people could only conduct video conferences in dedicated rooms and needed IT specialists to run the conferences, then these meetings simply wouldn’t happen.”
- Andrew Clowes, Head of IT - Australia, www.jll.com.au
Solution: Implementing Citrix cloud-based solutions
After evaluating a number of solutions, Clowes and his team selected Citrix GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToTraining — all featuring HDFaces video conferencing — based primarily on their exceptional ease of use. “Pretty much anyone can start up a GoToMeeting session very quickly,” Clowes noted. “The integration between GoToMeeting and Outlook is also seamless. And we consider GoToTraining the industry benchmark for online training.”
In addition to simplicity, the Citrix technology had the lowest bandwidth consumption of the solutions tested. Clowes also appreciated the cloud-based model, which supports his goal of avoiding on-premise software installation. Still another deciding factor was JLL’s longstanding global relationship with Citrix, which provides the XenApp platform for delivery of the company’s applications.
Any employee who is given a GoToMeeting account also receives access to GoToWebinar and GoToTraining. “People just fill out an online application that is routed to their manager for approval and then to my team for provisioning,” he explained. “The admin centre, which allows us to manage our licences, is one of the easiest to use in our whole suite of tools.”
The predominant users of GoToMeeting are small to medium-size work teams. “My IT staff members are located all around the country and may be thousands of miles apart,” said Clowes. “But each Friday they have a video conference. They’re all on chat and they’re seeing each other, and they can run through documents or a presentation.”
In another example, the human resources team uses GoToMeeting with HDFaces to interview prospective employees. The Citrix service also allows JLL to meet the needs of clients, such as a North Queensland organisation, that required Internet-based video capability. “We were able to provide it very easily, rapidly and seamlessly,” said Clowes.
GoToTraining is used regularly to deliver training for facility management staff, particularly those located at client offices. “Because we no longer need a dedicated video conference facility, trainers and attendees can connect from anywhere, including from home. That’s very appealing to me and the business because it’s very simple to do,” said Clowes. Previously, remote training involved sending out a PowerPoint presentation, setting up a conference call and talking through the slides. Alternatively, the company had to pay for a classroom and travel expenses.
“With Citrix solutions, we can instantly connect people inside and outside of our organisation. That sends a very positive message about JLL as a can-do organisation.”
- Andrew Clowes, Head of IT - Australia, www.jll.com.au
Creating intimate connections
Because video conferencing with GoToMeeting is so simple and convenient, employees at JLL tend to use it on a regular basis, which in turn strengthens relationships among remote colleagues. “GoToMeeting builds intimate connections within small groups of people because they can collaborate easily and often. If people could only conduct video conferences in dedicated rooms and needed IT specialists to run the conferences, then these meetings simply wouldn’t happen, and the benefits of activity-based working would be impacted,” said Clowes.
Empowering mobile workers
The Citrix mobile apps for iPad and iPhone increase the productivity of JLL employees by enabling them to conduct video conferences and other collaborations on the go. According to Clowes, each employee, on average, uses 2.5 mobile devices. “GoToMeeting and GoToTraining work equally well, if not better, on an iPad than a laptop. The iPad is smart enough to figure out what feeds are coming in and reshuffle the screen in a very intuitive way. I often run meetings via iPad because I’m on the road a lot, and it works really well.”
Increasing organisational agility
JLL places a high value on business agility. Cloud-based tools contribute to this goal in several ways. First, back-end IT infrastructure and software installations are not required. “These days, everyone’s got a webcam on their laptop or in their tablet or mobile,” Clowes said. “So when people ask, ‘Can we do a video conference?’ the answer is, ‘Sure, do you want to do it right now?’ You click the button and it’s done. There’s also an efficiency implication. Rapidly bringing 100 to 200 people together on an online training session is a very efficient way of doing things.
“Lots of companies simply don’t offer these types of cloud-based collaboration services to their staff and their clients. With Citrix solutions, we can instantly connect people. That sends a very positive message about JLL as a can-do organisation.”