Custom CRM Development and Cloud Migration for JLL

Over a decade of successful technology partnership in custom software development and CRM consulting with Jones Lang LaSalle.

JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.) is a global top commercial real estate services company that specializes in providing sales, leasing, property, project, and investment management services over the world. The firm has 300 corporate offices and a global workforce of 91,000 employees across 80 countries as of 2019.

JLL has partnered with Ascendix since 2010 for CRM consulting and custom software development services. For 10+ years, we have greatly simplified and boosted the CRM data usage processes in the company and helped JLL integrate its business assets into Dynamics 365 CRM. However, the company wanted to increase team productivity and provide their brokers with an even more efficient digital solution to handle daily activities in a simple and quick way.

Learn how Ascendix helped Jones Lang LaSalle improve their CRM adoption by six times and integrate real estate information into their system, so they could track properties, leases, sales, and other objects in a fast and easy way with our powerful SmartClient web application.

Despite the robust Dynamics 365 search functionality available out of the box, many JLL brokers found it too complicated for daily usage. They needed a simple tool to enter their search criteria and then get the expected result. Also, Dynamics 365 lacked the functionality to track Properties, Leases, Sales, Listings, and other essentials for their business data.

As a result, many brokers abandoned using Dynamics 365 and JLL was losing valuable business information. Also, with a number of offices worldwide processing tons of data, JLL wanted to improve the work speed of their Dynamics 365. In some offices, brokers needed to wait for almost a minute to get the expected results which inevitably led to a significant drop in the team’s performance.

Chad Lindsey,
Vice President
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Location
Chicago, Illinois, US
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Industry
Commercial real estate, Capital markets
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Services
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Tech Stack
.NET, Knockout.js, JavaScript, Elastic Search, Azure, Dynamics 365

Challenges

Customized their Dynamics 365 CRM business logic

After using out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 CRM features for quite a while, JLL realized that they want to add custom functionality to meet the needs of their commercial real estate business. Moreover, different offices had their own business processes and requirements, so JLL decided to look for a partner that would create a solution that might behave differently for selected locations.

Enhanced search experience of their data

Despite the robust Dynamics 365 search functionality available out of the box, many JLL brokers found it too complicated for daily usage. Besides, with a number of offices worldwide processing tons of data, JLL wanted to improve the work speed of their Dynamics 365 — in some offices, brokers needed to wait for almost a minute to get the expected results. Also, their CRM lacked the functionality to track Properties, Leases, Sales, Listings, and other essentials for their business.

Reduced time on custom report and PDF generation

The company needed an easy-to-use brochure generation tool that would allow them to create visually-appealing and informative PDFs with Properties, Availabilities, and Listings. Further, JLL wanted to allow their brokers to send these reports via email or download them instantly.

Revolutionized the opportunity management process

JLL had inconvenient experience creating, analyzing, and managing opportunities. For this reason, the company aimed to simplify and customize the process of managing opportunities according to their business workflow.

Boosted data analysis with powerful dashboards

JLL required dashboard functionality so as to allow brokers to review activity statistics and build visually appealing and detailed graphs and charts. So, users would be able to convert raw data into visualized content and customize it for each object, identify mistakes, and correct them. Moreover, it was required that brokers had an opportunity to filter search results by specific segments of each graph and chart. In this way, the core goal of the dashboard functionality was to help brokers transform input data into detailed and intuitive graphs and charts to generate better data-driven insights.

Improved document management with CSV and Excel export/import

JLL wanted to transform the way they dealt with documents into a flexible and efficient process with the Excel and CSV export/import functionality so as to allow end-users to upload and download records easily. For example, brokers have several records in CSV format, and they want to add them to a centralized app database without filling in the required information for each item. This goal was achieved with the introduction of an advanced import/export feature that can save much time for brokers and let them focus on major tasks.

Built a tool to avoid generating duplicates in the system

The company aimed to have a duplicate detection feature that would allow brokers to avoid generating identical copies of contacts, companies, properties, availabilities, etc. For example, when users create a new record, they fill in some general information like name, property type, and other data which, thanks to our tool, is then automatically compared to the existing records in the centralized database in real-time. If there is an exact match, the system will autosuggest the existing record for further filling in or notify the user that a similar record has already been created.

Empowered brokers and clients with the stacking plan builder

Another requirement on the company's wishlist was to implement a graphical representation of each floor with colored spaces of availability and lease expiry within a specific real estate property that both brokers and clients could see. In this way, brokers, property owners, and clients would be able to review floors’ capacities and overall space utilization in percentage to maximize workspace and accommodate the unique needs of each tenant through efficient stack planning.

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Our initial challenge involved poor CRM adoption. We needed help integrating our real estate information into our system, so we could track properties, leases, sales, and other opportunities.

Chad Lisney, Vice President Global IT

Technologies We Used

Solutions

1
JLL-Dynamics365-CRM-Customization
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Dynamics 365 CRM Customization

We helped Jones Lang LaSalle customize their Microsoft CRM platform according to their real estate needs. It became possible by integrating our AscendixRE CRM product that provides specific functionality for commercial real estate companies and brokers with JLL’s Dynamics 365 CRM platform.

2
JLL-Custom-CRM-App-Development
Custom CRM App on Top of Dynamics 365

We helped JLL address the different needs of multiple locations and built a custom CRM app — SmartClient — on top of Dynamics 365. Our UI application provides all the needed functionality for commercial real estate brokers and different configurations for each location making it a super cost- and time-efficient solution for hundreds of corporate offices and dozens of countries where JLL operates. For example, some regions may need to have a more advanced tool for contact management, and SmartClient makes it possible to create a specific config for this location embedding more features for managing contacts.

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3
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White-Glove Concierge, 24/7 Support, and Operations Teams

We have been proactively handling all kinds of issues, requests, and errors that could occur during our collaboration with the JLL’s technical support team. Our concierge team helps the company’s brokers master the customized functionality of their CRM platform and transform their daily workflow into a high-performance, automated, and fast working process. Our 24/7 support team is responsible for handling all types of alerts that are configured and displayed in our monitoring system. Finally, our operations team includes multiple experienced software developers that solve production requests and issues both in SmartClient and the JLL’s customized Dynamics 365 CRM.

4
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On-Premises to Cloud Hosting Upgrade

We have helped the company to migrate its data from on-premises hardware to cloud hosting on Amazon. It allowed JLL to cut down on hardware maintenance costs and make its data secure and easy to access around the world. What’s more, cloud migration offers extra scalability and better deployment performance which allows the company to deploy new apps and integrations faster. Finally, we offered JLL to migrate its data from Amazon Web Services to Azure Cloud Computing Service as it has become a more cost-efficient solution for them.

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5
JLL-Opportunity-Management-App-Development
JLL-Opportunity-Management-App-Development
Powerful Opportunity Management Application

We have solved the company’s challenge of ineffective creating, analyzing, and managing opportunities in their CRM system. We built an easy-to-use opportunity management tool that simplifies this process and provides even more flexibility.

6
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Improved Search Experience with Powerful Filters

We developed advanced search and filtering tools that help end-users find desired records in a quick and easy way. Filtering provides brokers and clients with the ability to set multiple search criteria and queries that narrow down the search scope. Moreover, the application allows users to save generated search results and return to them later for consideration. In such a way, we aim to provide end-users with the most accurate and smooth search experience.

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7
JLL-Brochure-Generation-Tool-Development
JLL-Brochure-Generation-Tool-Development
Lightning-Fast Brochure Generation Tool

We implemented the report generation tool which allows brokers and clients to create a visually-appealing and detailed PDF brochure or tour guide. End-users can choose whether to download a PDF file or send it via email to clients and prospects within a few clicks. Besides, the tool provides multiple built-in templates with general information and map view for multiple property types that brokers and clients can reuse in the future for a faster generation of eye-catching brochures.

8
JLL-Dashboard-Functionality-Development
Dashboard with Graphs and Charts

We implemented easy-to-use and feature-rich dashboard functionality which allows brokers and clients to review all statistics data in one place. Besides, users can create visually-appealing and accurate graphs and charts based on the raw data collected by the platform. The cross-object feature allows users to generate visualized content for any object, detect mistakes, and correct them. What’s more, our dashboard functionality allows end-users to filter search results by certain segments of graphs and charts. As a result, brokers and clients can now transform text information into easy-to-understand and detailed chart and graph content to get better data-driven insights.

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9
JLL-Duplication-Detection-Tool-Development
JLL-Duplication-Detection-Tool-Development
Duplication Detection Tool

We developed a powerful tool that automatically monitors the centralized database for similar records while users create a new contact, company, property, availability, etc. This functionality is about a real-time wizard that compares the filled-in data with the existing records in the database. If the system contains the exact match, then it informs users about the existing record. In such a way, our duplication detection tool provides brokers with a flawless user experience and helps them speed up daily workflow.

10
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Map View for Search Results

We created a map view feature that allows end-users to browse generated search results on a map. It provides brokers and clients with the ability to draw custom shapes or use pre-built figures (triangle, circle) to specify the search area. This way, users can see markers of available records on a map and click on each pushpin to find out more information. If users want to review detailed information on a record, they can easily navigate to a separate page for more details.

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11
JLL-Import-Export-Tool-Development
JLL-Import-Export-Tool-Development
Data Import/Export to Excel or CSV

We built the CSV/Excel import and export tool which enables users to upload or download records in the preferred format readily. For instance, brokers want to download several contacts, listings, and properties to their local machine for a detailed analysis or statistics gathering. All they have to do is select the desired records and click the Export button which immediately triggers the Excel file download process. In such a way, our data import/export tool is about high usability for brokers which means that they can save much time both exporting and importing required data and focus on client communication and deal closing processes.

The quality of work Ascendix provides is second to none. They’ve provided CRM solutions that no one else has been able to. Their efforts have helped both our sales force and the dynamics of our practice. The technologies they’ve employed have significantly simplified our CRM usage. Many of our locations require customizations that Ascendix has been able to provide solutions for not available in our native CRM. Their work has driven our adoption, which has increased by about six times what it was before we started working with them.

Chad Lisney, Vice President Global IT

Results

JLL-Six-Time-CRM-Adoption-Increase
Six-Time Dynamics 365 Adoption Increase Through Full CRM Customization for Real Estate Needs

We have completed a great scope of work dedicated to customizing the CRM platform used by JLL and integrating it with our AscendixRE product to provide the company with powerful commercial real estate functionality.

This way, we fully solved the issue of poor CRM adoption for Jones Lang LaSalle and helped them integrate their real estate information that now allows their brokers to track properties, leases, sales, and other opportunities. So, our CRM consulting services helped the company increase their Dynamics 365 CRM adoption by six times.

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JLL-Advanced-Customization-Abilities
Advanced Customization Abilities for Hundreds of JLL Offices

One of the company’s challenges was to fully address different needs for multiple locations — and we successfully helped them.

We have built a powerful custom CRM app — SmartClient — which provides ultimate functionality for real estate companies and can include multiple configurations for different regions. Technically, our CRM app is a program layer that automatically synchronizes and caches data from a CRM to EDGE (Ascendix’s own data source).

This way, hundreds of corporate offices and dozens of countries can now use tailor-made configurations depending on their market needs and regional characteristics. For example, some locations may need a more detailed lease management tool so they can create, analyze, modify, and manage lease opportunities in a more advanced way.

SmartClient can fully solve this challenge and provide specific regions with custom configurations that make it a time- and cost-efficient digital solution for Jones Lang LaSalle.

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Ascendix are true consultants, meaning they don’t just do as they’re told without providing feedback and input where they feel it would be helpful. They actually think through the process and are knowledgeable about the commercial real estate. Not many consulting firms can offer that kind of expertise and industry knowledge.

Chad Lisney, Vice President Global IT