Interview – William Chong, Snr. Director of Workplace Analytics & IoT, JLL


William heads up JLL’s Workplace Analytics and IOT (Internet of Things) practice in APAC, a full-time multi-disciplinary group dedicated to delivering innovative and ethical Analytical/IOT solutions to drive better design, provisioning and management of real estate through data.

His practice enables real estate owners and occupiers to understand real space needs and take actions to optimize their spaces for cost reduction, workforce efficiency and revenue generation.

William has been managing the strategic use of technology to enable business growth in the Asia-Pacific region for over 2 decades. His experience spans several industries including real estate (since 2003), e-commerce marketplace, technology and product internationalization (I18N).

Since 2016, William’s focus has been on using the Internet of Things (IOT) and data analytics to solve pressing issues in real estate. His work includes advanced IOT sensing platforms (machine vision, radar) and data science to deliver actionable insights from facts. He has successfully delivered solutions to real estate developers, landlords, co-working space managers, and occupiers in the banking, technology, automotive, pharma, services and FMCG sectors.

William holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and a Diploma in electronic engineering with additional certificates in visual analytics design (DataViz), strategic IT planning and Six Sigma.


Interviewer: What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with?  

William: Sprawling mandate. Today, technology leaders can create value in numerous areas of business – perhaps too many. This results in a demand crunch for the best IT leaders and talents. However, there is never enough of these to cover all areas and so those demands end up being filled by pseudo-tech leaders, often outside the span of technology leadership. Apart from the risk of these roles being filled by less-than-qualified candidates, the larger issue is the fragmentation of focus and overlapping roles.

Interviewer: As a leader in the IT industry, what do you feel businesses can work on when it comes to their IT strategy?

William: Focus on business and collaborate with proven technology leaders. The incessant commentary on “Digital Transformation”, “Innovation” and “Technology Disruption” very often drowns out the purpose of it. Sometimes, people end up saying “we need to continuously innovate and digitally transform our business to avoid being disrupted by technology”. That’s all fine and dandy… but what does that mean for your business? What does the to-be or new business look like? What are the chances that new business can be viable? These are areas that business leaders excel in – sensing the market, finding arbitrage between demand and supply to create a profitable business. This, when combined with technological know-how, is how market-beating businesses are created.

Interviewer: Things change so quickly in the IT industry, what does it take to stay on top?

William: Free up time to think about business and get really interested in it. What moves the market, what makes profit, why we are in business. On the flip side, non-tech folks are thinking and talking about technology more than technologists! Many are talking themselves into a tech leaders’ position – when that happens, IT leaders get relegated to “keeping the lights on” roles.

Interviewer: Where do you see the industry headed within the next one to five years and what do you feel will be the biggest game changers?

William: I believe that in the next 5 years, we will see companies where skilled technology leaders collaborate with astute business leaders that have begun to manifest profitable business. These examples will rise above sundry commentary and perhaps give more form and substance for others to follow. As it stands today, very few organisations have successfully transformed a traditional business into a new one. The poster child we hear talk about are mostly digital natives or new businesses that have exploited an imbalance in a traditional industry.

Interviewer: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

William: Never stop questioning and pushing. With wisdom garnered over the years, to do this tactfully and politically.

Interviewer: What advice would you give to someone trying to excel in the IT industry?

William: Be more than the talk. Be great at your craft and learn to be a good businessman.

Interviewer: What do you feel is the hottest topic right now in the industry and what is its effect on the industry?

William: Talent. Because after all the talk and the models and the “5 steps to focus on 3 things and get 8 things right to power your Digital Transformation” are people who make these plans and theories work, and this means course-correcting on the fly.

Interviewer: What do you feel the most passionate about within your business?

William: JLL is a business that is constantly evolving and adapting. Given our size, we continue to innovate and change the market. We’re as focused on our current market as we are in the next market. And we push the boundaries toward those new markets. For example, we’re currently pushing the industry towards a more ethical and efficient way making the office smarter without infringing into personal privacy. The current market norm is to put an IOT sensor under everyone’s desk (see if you have one under your desk). With innovative use of technology, you can do away with these in the majority of cases!

Interviewer: What is one key takeaway you hope our CIO audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?

William: Be great at your craft, become an astute businessman and be the inspiration for follow-up generation of technology leaders.

About JLL

“We’re here to create rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces around the globe where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we are building a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. ”

JLL is a world leader in real estate services, powered by an entrepreneurial spirit. They buy, build, occupy and invest in a variety of assets including industrial, commercial, retail, residential and hotel real estate. From tech startups to global firms, their clients span industries including banking, energy, healthcare, law, life sciences, manufacturing and technology.