JLL is one of the biggest commercial real estate service providers in the world. They operate in 80 countries and employ over 100,000 people. They are also no strangers to tech. Back in 2017, the firm tapped two Silicon Valley veterans to head up their technology investment group called JLL Spark. In 2018 they hired a Chief Digital Products Officer, a Google engineer who helped create Google Maps, to head up their tech development. Shortly after, they started a new arm of their corporation, JLL Technologies, which helps its clients deploy a growing array of technology solutions.
But now technology is making its way all the way up to the highest level of the organization. JLL has just appointed the company’s first Chief Technology Officer who will oversee the company’s entire technology strategy. I talked with their new CTO, Yao Morin, to ask her about the company’s buy/build/partner strategy and how they prioritize their tech spend.
Morin’s background is in electrical engineering in a field that is now called data science. After getting her Ph.D., she worked for a defense contractor and then moved to the private sector helping the accounting software company Intuit build out their data science team. She was then appointed the CDO and Head of US Engineering at StubHub before being brought on by JLL.
Coming from industries outside of real estate gave Morin a refreshingly honest perspective. “We have a data problem,” she admitted. “The technology to do what we want already exists but we first have to
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