To support its shift to a global enterprise model, real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle recently began to unify its approach to customer relationship management at the enterprise level. The company adopted Microsoft Dynamics® CRM as an enterprise standard, replacing Salesforce.com, which had been popular among brokers in local offices in the Americas. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has enabled Jones Lang LaSalle to share customer and account information globally, while still offering functionality tailored to the unique processes of its many business units and more than 700 local offices. Compared to Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers Jones Lang LaSalle global access to consistent customer information, more efficient customization and integration with other enterprise systems, and broader adoption by its diverse international user base.
With more than 30,000 employees and offices in 700 cities worldwide, sharing information and maintaining consistent business processes is a perpetual challenge for Jones Lang LaSalle. To realize its goal of a global enterprise model, the real estate giant implemented several major IT initiatives, including a recent effort to unify its approach to customer relationship management (CRM) at the enterprise level.
When Jones Lang LaSalle adopted Microsoft Dynamics® CRM as the corporate standard for sales and contact management, it was the first time the company had taken an enterprise approach to CRM. The move represented a significant change for the company’s brokers and analysts, many of whom had been using Salesforce.com to manage contacts and leads.
Before adopting Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a standard, Jones Lang LaSalle used multiple, disconnected systems to track leads and manage customer information. This limited the company’s ability to cross-sell products and services across business units and led to lost opportunities. “We were tracking client needs and services at a local level, but we weren’t sharing that information at a global level,” explains David Johnson, Chief Information Officer of Jones Lang LaSalle. “We might have had an opportunity for a client in a different part of the world, but were unable to pass it on because the only people who knew were in the local office.”
The decision to standardize on Microsoft Dynamics CRM resulted from a review of several well-known solutions, including Salesforce.com, which had become popular among individual brokers at offices throughout the Americas. Although widely used, Salesforce.com failed to meet the key requirements of a growing global enterprise.
“The concept of the global enterprise model isn’t supportable in Salesforce.com. It’s possible, but it’s much more difficult. Microsoft Dynamics CRM enabled us to perform more customizations to meet the needs of specific business units—and to perform them faster—than we could have with Salesforce.com”
David Johnson, Chief Information Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle
An Enterprise-Class Solution Specifically, Salesforce.com didn’t allow brokers and agents at Jones Lang LaSalle to share information as they do in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Johnson points out that even though the company has tailored the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to the needs of individual offices and business units, people across the organization have access to the same information. “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we share the same contacts; we share the same accounts.”
“Salesforce.com doesn’t fit the enterprise model,” explains Johnson. “It serves the individual—not the organization. The goals of our CRM initiative extended to the company as a whole.” By sharing customer information in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, brokers and representatives benefit from more opportunity to present their clients, which increases revenue at the local level. Jones Lang LaSalle also benefits at the enterprise level, where access to client information enables the company to mine that data for opportunities that might have been lost under the old system.
Consistency Another limitation that led Jones Lang LaSalle to abandon its use of Salesforce.com was the inability to establish a consistent data structure that would extend the use of customer data across many business processes. The global enterprise model requires a CRM system that enforces consistency in datasets while allowing flexibility to define custom process and workflows across regions and business units.
Riaan van der Merwe, Vice President of Global Architecture and Development, explains, “Salesforce.com had been implemented as a bunch of separate systems. Setup, configuration, and field definitions were all over the place, so the systems were very disparate among the various offices. As a result, it was virtually impossible to cross-sell to customers or share opportunities outside a single business unit. Even among the business units that supported it, our employees weren’t using Salesforce.com consistently or effectively.”
Customization The ability to customize workflows and business processes—without sacrificing consistency in customer data—was also a key consideration for Jones Lang LaSalle. Explains Johnson, “We’re tasked with meeting the demands of a very diverse user base, including different languages, different cultures, and different business models. It’s very difficult to make a single product fit the needs of all those users and still get adoption.”
Jones Lang LaSalle discovered that adapting Salesforce.com to the many unique business processes that consume customer data would be both time and cost intensive. “Salesforce.com allowed a certain degree of customization,” explains van der Merwe. “But in the global enterprise model, it’s not just about fields—it’s about business processes. We could customize Salesforce.com to add fields, but we couldn’t customize the way the application uses those fields. On the surface, configuration and customization appear cheaper in Salesforce.com, but on a project of any significant scale, Salesforce.com quickly becomes very difficult to manage.”
By contrast, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offered both a straightforward programming model and integration with other enterprise systems and technologies, including Microsoft® Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server, and Windows® Workflow Foundation. These systems and technologies enabled Jones Lang LaSalle to incorporate customer data seamlessly into all facets of the operation. “The ability to manage the code behind our firewall, within our Microsoft .NET environment, allowed us to not only customize the fields but also create custom workflows modeled on the processes that drive our real estate business,” explains van der Merwe. “The workflow paradigm in CRM is well ahead of the way it is implemented in Salesforce.com.”
Adoption The success of Jones Lang LaSalle’s CRM initiative also depended on rapid, widespread adoption of the solution. And, with a diverse global workforce, acceptance of new tools often hinges on the ability to tailor those tools to the working style of the local users. “We can’t force adoption,” says Johnson. “We can’t insist that everyone use the same fields, processes, and workflows and that everyone work in the same language. It doesn’t work.”
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Jones Lang LaSalle has deployed an application that supports established local processes and workflows—which vary among regions and business units—in the local languages, while maintaining a single, unified customer database for the entire enterprise.
In addition, integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Office Outlook® helped new users quickly become productive with the new tools. “Ease of use is clearly in favor of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and that’s primarily because of the Office Outlook integration,” states Johnson. “If you can schedule an appointment or send an e-mail message, you can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM. People claim that Salesforce.com ‘looks just like Office Outlook,’ but it’s not Office Outlook.”
Results Since deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the enterprise standard and phasing out Saleforce.com, Jones Lang LaSalle has seen continued growth at the local level and higher revenue per customer at the enterprise level, as its brokers uncover opportunities that span geographies and business units.
“We’ve seen more deals go to different regions, as a result of Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” confirms Johnson. “We’ve seen opportunities presented to clients in other regions that either would not have been done or that would have been done over a very circuitous route. And the speed with which we’ve closed that business has increased as well.”
“Today, I can say that our customer data is much better than it was. We know our customers better,” states Johnson. “Ultimately, our business depends on finding the right opportunities for our clients to make money. By increasing their gains, we earn our own fees, and that leads to higher revenue per customer.”