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How JLL Ensures Performance of Business Critical Applications

By Alex Henthorn-Iwane
| | 14 min read


In this update from ThousandEyes Connect in Chicago, we’ll summarize the presentation made by Jim McKinstry, Global Project Manager at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle). McKinstry explained how ThousandEyes helps his team to maintain the performance of business critical applications that are at the heart of their worldwide $6B real-estate management and professional services business.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Jim McKinstry, Global Project Manager at JLL presenting at ThousandEyes Connect Chicago.

At JLL, Business Analytics Applications Drive Business Success

Jim started out his presentation talking about how JLL relies on a core set of analytics and reporting applications that help manage global real estate investments. These applications address real estate challenges for corporate and investor clients, as well as 70,000+ employees in 80 countries, across 280 offices. Jim noted that JLL employees are known for the way they collaborate–with each other and with their clients. Domain-specific JLL applications enable employees to blend their skills with valuable data, empowering them to gain a deep understanding of real estate and capital markets. The result is one-of-a-kind client advice and solutions that drive more valuable client assets and portfolios.

JLL depends on ThousandEyes across multiple use cases to meet the challenge of providing uninterrupted access and performance of their suite of business-critical applications.

Needed: Actionable Insights for Revenue-Critical Apps

Jim discussed how JLL had produced a suite of analytics tools they call JLL RED (Real Estate Data) that have become critical revenue drivers. Jim explained, "RED applications address a wide range of analytics use cases because they can answer questions like, Should I raise the rent of my building right now? Is now a good time to raise rent, or lower rent? Should I buy that property? What’s the market look like?"

Figure 2
Figure 2: JLL’s RED applications provide an analytical lens to real estate data.

But the challenge for JLL was ensuring that these applications were always running at scale worldwide to serve their customer needs. While JLL had invested in a traditional monitoring tool, the visibility it provided was insufficient. “We’d sometimes only find out that an application had gone down when our CIO got a call asking what was happening. Worse, our previous monitoring tool didn’t give us many details to answer that question. That would turn into long nights trying to figure things out.”

Jim highlighted two significant challenges with their legacy monitoring product that prevented it from providing actionable insight in a timely fashion. The first was that reporting was too manual: “We could get reports from the product, but we still needed a group of people in different locations updating multiple spreadsheets with availability and other data points to create usable baselining information.” The second was the weakness in automated monitoring. “The scripting tools provided by our earlier product just didn’t work with our single-sign-on (SSO) solution, which we heavily relied on,” said McKinstry, “and beyond that, the scripting was quite weak in general.”

Automated, Proactive Visibility with ThousandEyes

ThousandEyes has significantly enhanced JLL’s visibility into application issues across their global network. With ThousandEyes, the JLL NOC now gets proactively alerted to application performance issues before users notice and report on them. App owners receive alerts as well, allowing them to gain insight on their own without having to call the NOC. And even if the CIO does get a call, the NOC is ready with detailed diagnostic information to answer his questions.

Jim highlighted the ease of automating application monitoring with ThousandEyes. “We monitor any app that has a web interface, and creating these scripts is really easy,” said McKinstry. “Without being an app engineer, as a project manager, I was able to find the how-to directions and create a monitoring script myself.”

Figure 3
Figure 3: Page load waterfall views help JLL identify performance issues impacting their RED applications.

Application monitoring with ThousandEyes offers the JLL team waterfall views that make it easy to identify performance bottlenecks such as persistent slowness that JLL confronted while accessing their cloud-based SSO integration. “Our ThousandEyes monitoring was consistently putting a big spotlight on this as an area of concern,” said McKinstry. “But when we consulted with our SSO vendor, they told us there wasn’t any problem. Finally, when our APAC CEO complained about very slow access to Sharepoint from the Asia-Pac region, we knew we had to figure out what was going on. We ultimately found that authentication requests were being bottlenecked by a JLL-written script in the authentication flow to our SSO provider. By fixing this script, we saw response time for Sharepoint drop significantly from APAC. We would never have gotten there without ThousandEyes showing us where to look.”

Monitoring at Global Scale

Jim gave some specifics regarding the scale of their ThousandEyes deployment in several dimensions that are making its usage highly effective on a worldwide basis, including:

Figure 4
Figure 4: ThousandEyes deployment snapshot within JLL.
  • Monitoring agent scope:
    • 18 Enterprise Agents used for both worldwide and regional applications
    • 10 Enterprise Agents in North America dedicated to monitoring RED apps
  • Application monitoring scope:
    • 71 applications monitored by 462 tests including:
      • 18 RED applications
      • 24 global enterprise applications
      • 29 regional applications

Jim further addressed agent deployments saying that, “ThousandEyes Cloud Agents can be set up and running fast. Even if I didn’t have Enterprise Agents, I could start monitoring from a Cloud Agent in Sydney, within seconds. If you need to be able to move a test all over the world, you can, with a couple of clicks. It’s very fast.”

Planning New Depths of Visibility

Even given the broad deployment thus far, JLL has just scratched the surface of ThousandEyes capabilities. “We’ve just completed a pilot of the Endpoint Agent and are proceeding to deploy that,” added McKinstry. “We’re also working on new VoIP monitoring tests. Not to mention that we haven’t even really touched all the network-layer visibility, which we plan to use as well.”

Jim concluded by saying, “We are finding all kinds of cool things to do with ThousandEyes that we wouldn’t have been able to do before. So we’re real happy with it.”

If you’d like to learn more about how ThousandEyes customers are taking control of their application and network performance in the cloud era, read up on monitoring connectivity to AWS at Intuit and benchmarking service providers for application delivery at PayPal. Stay tuned for additional posts from our latest ThousandEyes Connect events.

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