Why JLL Acquired an IBM-Powered Real Estate Technology Services Firm

Last week we reported on a much-overlooked acquisition by JLL of a digital building management consultant named ValuD. We felt that this was a significant move by JLL since ValuD was one of the largest providers of IBM technology. While no terms were disclosed the purchase of such a large consulting firm demonstrates that JLL is serious about providing value in terms of technology implementation to its clients and also shows that IBM is their technology partner of choice.

To understand further how ValuD would fit into their business plan we reached out to JLL and were lucky enough to get a comprehensive response from Traci Doane, their President of Technology Solutions. I asked how this acquisition enhanced their offering to clients. He told me, “While JLL uses many IBM products across our portfolio, this acquisition is about the solutions JLL delivers to our clients. Our clients are focused on how digital transformation and generational change are fundamentally reshaping how work gets done and translating this to their corporate real estate and workplace portfolios. Advanced technologies are now central to creating improved human experiences, optimizing portfolios and connecting the CRE value chain.”

JLL has long been one of the leaders in implementing IBM’s solutions like their integrated workplace management solution “Tririga.” The addition of the ValuD workforce and expertise will now add a new tool, IBM’s asset management platform “Maximo.” As Traci puts it, “ValuD strengthens our IBM TRIRIGA team and introduces expertise in the IBM Maximo EAM platform, to our diverse technology-based services. JLL can now deliver IBM Maximo implementation, consulting and support services to Maximo-standardized organizations.”

Bringing asset management systems into their already robust facilities management solution is the next step towards implementing IBM’s Watson IoT for Buildings, something it seems that their clients have already been asking for, “As they become more technology, data and analytics-driven, many of our clients who have standardized on IBM platforms are looking to leverage IBM Watson IoT for Buildings, a leading player in the IoT category, and one with natural affinities to the IBM TRIRIGA and IBM Maximo ecosystems,” Traci said.

I also wanted to know if ValuD would remain servicing all of its clients or if they would be only focusing on JLL’s extensive portfolio. Sandi was very transparent in this regard, “In 2016, with JLL’s acquisition of BRG, 25-year leaders in the real estate technology space, we created a new business line called JLL Technology Solutions. ValuD will integrate into this business […] As part of JLL, the ValuD team of consultants will work with both JLL’s network of clients and clients seeking technology independent from other real estate services.”

Tracy reiterated something that was made rather obvious by their recent run of technology investing including the appointment of a Chief Digital Product Officer and a $100 million global venture fund: “Digital leadership is a pillar of JLL’s strategic vision.” As one of the largest property firms they obviously see that they need to be a leader when it comes to technology and have proven that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

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