JLL's EMEA CIO Chris Zissis and CTO Andy Crow interview - Skills, data science, and ensuring IT is a value generator

JLL CIO Chris Zissis is bringing together IT and data capabilities in the EMEA region with a group of regional CIOs, Chief Technology Officers and data scientists to help facilitate innovation at scale and generate value for the real estate investment management company.

Zissis told CIO UK in 2017how innovation was the responsibility of every member of the organisation, but more recently was joined by CTO for Development and Delivery, Andy Crow, to discuss the delineation between the CIO and CTO roles, developing an in-house digital capability, the workplace of the future, data science, attracting and retaining skilled technologists, embedding security in its products and processes - and how shifting IT costs into LOB budgets has helped cement the concept of technology as a value generator.

"The last time we spoke, I said that we don't compartmentalise innovation at JLL," Zissis said. "Innovation is part and parcel of everything we do. Our next change, or evolution, has been, we don't compartmentalise IT or technology, and data. They're one and the same thing.

"As more and more technology power is put into people's pockets, they're after data, and technology is the enabling force that give them that data, that information, that insight. So we've brought the teams together."

CIO-CTO delineation

CIO at the commercial property and management services organisation since April 2013, Zissis described a structure under the EMEA CIO of strategy-focused regional CIOs, and with CTOs charged to enable and deliver for those CIOs. Zissis also outlined instances of the CTO tail wagging the CIO dog.

"We created very clearly defined roles, and responsibilities, that gel, and interrelate together," Zissis said. "We have the role of the CIO; and the CIO is responsible for the full value chain of technology and data - which is everything from defining the strategy, operationalising the strategy, putting in the capabilities to build, partner, buy technologies that support the business processes, and the digitisation of those.

"We have a CIO, responsible for everything. Under the CIO we have a number of geographically-aligned CIOs. And we ensure that those CIOs have, on a geographic basis, across all business and client services, responsibility for technology and data. And those CIOs are fully supported, and enabled, and in many cases led, by CTOs and data experts."

CTO for Development & Delivery, Crow, added that it was his role to bring together the needs of the country-level CIOs who understand exactly what the business requires, and enable those business units with new technology capabilities. With the caveat however that solutions should roll out across different geographies.