Formed in 1976 by Sir Edmund Happold, Buro Happold is an engineering consultancy which provides design, planning, project management and consulting for building and environmental projects. Set up in Bath because the founder moved to the city to take up a professorship at the city’s university, today the company has offices in seven countries.

Buro Happold serves sectors such as aviation, civic authorities, commercial developers, the culture sector, education, energy providers, healthcare, retail, sport, transport and waste.

Buro Happold have been instrumental in the creation of some of the world’s most striking buildings, including:

  • The Louvre Abu Dhabi.
  • The O2 arena and Emirates Stadium in London.
  • The Cooperative Group’s new Manchester headquarters.
  • The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and Knowledge in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Hawaii Preparatory Center.

The judging panel were highly impressed with the agility and adaptability of Shaun Mundy and Buro Happold, which they felt justified his inclusion in the top 30. The size of his organisation though did enable that agility, especially when compared to some of the behemoths in the CIO100.

IT leader: Shaun Mundy, Group Director of IT.

In role since: September 2008.

Reporting line: CEO.

How often does the CIO you meet with the CEO: One-to-one monthly. Monthly project meetings, leadership meetings three times per month and ad-hoc project-focused communications.

Board level seat: The board structure is made up of two boards:

  • GX: all MDs.
  • XT: All Business Services heads with the COO, CFO and CEO. I sit on this board.

I regularly present to the GX and work with the members on project activities.

IT budget: £5.2 million – reduced by IT from £9.5 million over four years through efficiency and procurement activities. This represents 5% of revenue.

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: Accounts are around 1600 – with laptops, desktops and corporate smartphones. All staff rely on centralised Business Systems, the engineering toolset (including central collaboration and model sharing systems), large reliance on desktop (PC) communications for chat, audio and video to all desktops globally across the global WAN.

Financial and Project Business Intelligence reporting drives decision making, and the IT platforms are relied upon for all client deliveries on a global basis. Often, projects are delivered across multiple distributed offices, through collaboration across timezones and systems.

Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 100%.

IT staff currently employed: 40.

Split between in-house/outsourced staff: 30 positions have been outsourced mostly legacy application support and development, but the size scale of support and consultancy is constantly varying. We use third parties now to drive and speed up technology deployment.

IT management team and reporting structure: The IT Management team consists of the following direct reports:

  1. IT operations Manager: Global infrastructure, communications, desktop and helpdesk – leading on account management with the Business Units and implementation of the governance framework to allow me to focus strategically.
  2. Business Systems Manager: Global business systems and business process.
  3. Engineering Services Manager: Global engineering support and procurement.

IS Development and Business Intelligence: Global business intelligence development for governance and reporting, bespoke business solutions.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Agresso Financials, Sage CRM, Ciphr HR system, with Microsoft SharePoint for Knowledge and Exchange for email. This forms the operational backbone of the company.

Microsoft Lync for communications as part of the convergence strategy (already converged with Polycom HDVC). Now about to pilot integrating this with the phone system as the first step to removing the phone system.

Desktop: Windows7 conversion 90% deployed which yielded a 30% performance improvement for the engineers.

Communications: Lync becoming the dominant internal collaboration toolset.

WAN: Global Verizon.

Cloud-based solution for video and image content management.

Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft, Autodesk, Lenovo, Dell, Agresso, Polycom, Sage.

Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: Only one major deal due to the cycle of our contracts: Autodesk licensing was the most significant deal, for which we took licensing only and rejected a global deal with associated consultancy, as we have chosen to educate on BIM ourselves. This decision/recommendation was taken to board level.

We are midway on our Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

Currently focused on early adoption of Microsoft Wave15 (Sharepoint 2013).

  • Lync trials – worldstone as our main partner.
  • BI – Ridgian as our main partner.

The coming year will see:

  1. Data centre and storage consolidation.
  2. Enterprise Content Management – likely move to sharepoint 2013 as part of our Wave 15 take up.
  3. Sharepoint 2013 to deliver people focused intranet with social, mobile, search and video content.

Mobile review – our mobile strategy is now clearly integrating with our business systems strategy.

Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud:

  • Private Cloud: Agresso, CRM, Ciphr, Sharepoint.
  • Public Cloud: Content Management (Image Library).
  • Hybrid Cloud: Lync – 19 companies now federated.

Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: Agile Engineering phase 1 has been completed – this was the piloted introduction of the Agile Development / Project Management approach into Engineering which was produced many hard and soft benefits. This is IT practise specifically being driven out to impact client delivery and led by IT. We are now working with the business to build on our platform of improved project communications, to drive a culture (and measurement) of continuous improvement.

Lync upgrade, connected to our HD VC has further transformed operations in the way we work with partners.
We are now federated to 19 companies and it has become a condition of working as an engineering outsourcing partner of Buro Happold as the volume of partners is being strategically reduced. IT are part of the definition of the criteria and selection of our engineering outsourcing partners.

Phase one of our Business Process re-engineering has been completed. This has generated the backbone of our process definition programme leading to an ERP change. It is also generating a SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) style governance manual for the business – due for presentation in September 2012. The initial focus has been process definition for Finance.

Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: Agile – the first phase was to establish whether the methodology worked. This has been achieved. Has it achieved the hard benefits I would have expected? Not yet – but the next phase is about driving that continuous improvement rather than an arbitrary target.

The HD VC / OCS introduction initially achieved an ROI in three months – way ahead of its original plan. However, the Lync upgrade did take longer than expected due to complexities with the Polycom integration – but we have been fully transparent, have completed the work and are now driving to eradicate all other meeting tools (GotoMeeting / Webex etc.) from global internal meetings – something we have full board backing to achieve.

Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: Agile Engineering  – owned by IT.

BIM – we are leading how the programme is defined, challenging for approval on the structure and then partner in deployment. IT are challenging the business to deploy BIM first in the areas where we can realise maximum commercial benefit.

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: To lead outside of IT – challenged to increase this by the CEO to assist the COO.

Non-IT Areas of focus:
BIM: A member of the Executive Team leading the transition of BIM in Buro Happold and responsible for introducing a Maturity Model approach to frame and target the global change programme.

IT Areas of focus:
Convergence: We are now looking to connect our Lync and HDVC setup to fixed and mobile telephony
Consumerisation: Our study is complete and to be presented to the board for approval

External Areas of focus:
Proposed formation of AEC user group for Microsoft with Account Management team, to foster Engineering related development of the Microsoft stack with partners such as Autodesk. Autodesk and Microsoft do not yet work closely together (that we can see), and we are leading testing of Autodesk server products on the Azure platform as we look to create search and re-use of BIM models.

Strategy in the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and how social networking is impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation: Some staff have connected personal iPads and Smartphones using ActiveSync – and this is then under our security profile.

Social Networking discussions are in progress with BD&M – no firm strategy yet.

Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: Engagement model will be to network the output and then present to the GX for policy approval (likely to focus on tablets and smartphones rather than PCs in the first stage).

Technologies being considered to enable transformation: SharePoint 2013 – as a platform for a 3 year knowledge strategy and internal social networking.

Azure – to drive BIM hosting and re-use into the cloud.

ERP – to drive process improvement and mobile.

Lync – for further comms convergence.

Autodesk Revit and Revit Server – true and global BIM.

Transformational inspiration sources:  Mainly external – HBR and Gartner would be two major sources, and also a personal focus on bringing our biggest suppliers together to drive progress in the industry.