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News release


Mind of the Corporate Occupier: Big Data Meets Big Corporate Real Estate

Jones Lang LaSalle’s David Sawdey leading transformation of corporate real estate business analytics

CHICAGO, Feb. 21, 2013 — Data quality related to corporate real estate can either support or undermine a corporation’s investment strategy, workplace productivity goals and earnings. To optimize an organization’s investment in its real estate portfolio, emerging business intelligence platforms are producing eye-opening results. Now more than ever, corporations are creating even more value for their stakeholders by leveraging corporate real estate portfolio data to manage risks, lower costs, enhance workplace productivity and drive fact-based decision-making.

“’Big Data’ has come to corporate real estate. CEOs can now take action fully armed with robust, up-to-the-minute performance measures and analysis,” observed David Sawdey, who recently joined Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as Senior Vice President and Director of Business Intelligence, charged with transforming the ways corporations leverage business analytics to drive real estate strategy. 

“I’ve seen a single data visualization change an entire strategy, by highlighting unintended consequences or unforeseen opportunities. It’s a powerful force.”

Corporate real estate executives consistently note that improving their access to sophisticated analytics is a top priority. The topic is rising in importance and commanding dedicated initiatives from organizations like CoreNet Global and Realcomm. Here, watch a short interview with Sawdey at a recent CoreNet Global Summit.

Three Big Trends in Big CRE Data
Executives are turning to Big Data for three core real estate outcomes: real-time portfolio forecasting, competitive benchmarking and fact-based capital planning:

1.    Forecast outcomes using predictive analytics.
While not quite a crystal ball, with the advent of advanced analytics tools, new ‘Big Data’ platforms cross-reference internal facilities information, macroeconomic data and key market events, predicting scenarios related to the cost of flexibility, the balance between supply and demand for work space, and the opportunities and risks of different international markets—to name a few. Predictive analysis can also validate strategic recommendations by providing proof points that back investment, acquisition and disposition decisions; analyzing factors as disparate as lease expirations, projected capital investments and macro-economics.

2.    Create competitive advantage through benchmarking.
By collecting, organizing, validating and integrating multiple silos of data, powerful data analysis by experienced professionals can provide insights related to competitive positioning, exploring questions such as, “How do we measure up to others in our industry and ourselves?” or “How far can we cut costs before we sacrifice performance?” “What investment will yield the highest rate of return?”  New analytics tools can measure multiple aspects of property performance against industry standards, while comparative data can be used to forecast the impact of cost-cutting or new investment on customer service, morale, productivity and other key metrics. Potential improvements to operations can also be identified, by anticipating the highest-impact investments and focus on preventative maintenance. 

3.    Inform capital planning through fact-based decision-making.
“Companies are often unable to accurately capture their data, and so make decisions based on wild assumptions or intuition,” notes Sawdey. “We are always working on the assimilation problem. You can never have too many facts, so long as they are well-presented.” Using this approach, companies can learn to take action with confidence informed by portfolio analytics.  Organizations can likewise improve decision-making related to M&A, product launches and other major business moves with a robust understanding of real estate investment implications. The most sophisticated systems assimilate unstructured data like Tweets and search engine optimization (SEO) alongside quantitative data to uncover challenges and opportunities.

Tales from the trenches
For case studies on how corporate real estate business analytics have driven business results for companies in the life sciences, technology and telecomm industries, visit the PortfolioCommand or IntelliCommand websites, two technology-supported platforms offering custom business analytics for corporate real estate occupiers.

A leader in the real estate outsourcing field, JLL’s Corporate Solutions business helps corporations improve productivity in the cost, efficiency and performance of their national, regional or global real estate portfolios by creating outsourcing partnerships to manage and execute a range of corporate real estate services. This service delivery capability helps corporations improve business performance, particularly as companies turn to the outsourcing of their real estate activity as a way to manage expenses and enhance profitability.

About Jones Lang LaSalle
Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $47.0 billion of real estate assets under management. For further information, visit

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