See also: Sean Mundy is a keynote speaker at the 2012 CIO Summit\nIt is thought that it was the Roman Emperor Claudius who first commissioned engineers to drive oak foundations into mud that surrounded a spring in Somerset.\nIn doing, so those workmen began a long association between the city of Bath and the engineering industry.\nToday, tourists flock to Bath to enjoy the architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage site and bathe, not in the spa waters which are out of bounds to the public, but in the city\u2019s Roman temples, Georgian splendour and its Jane Austen connections.\nMost snap-happy visitors will probably never consider the engineering that has gone into the building of the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, the Assembly Rooms or Pulteney Bridge.\nNor will they notice one of the former mill buildings and realise it is the world headquarters of engineering firm Buro Happold, whose skills have been instrumental in the creation of some of the world\u2019s most striking buildings, including:\n- The Louvre Abu Dhabi- The O2 arena and Emirates Stadium in London- The Cooperative Group\u2019s new Manchester headquarters- The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and Knowledge in Saudi Arabia- The Hawaii Preparatory Center\n\u201cIt\u2019s nice to work where you are proud of what they do and of their flagship projects,\u201d says Buro Happold\u2019s Group IT Director, Shaun Mundy.\nWe are sat in a meeting room named after a famous engineer, and on the walls around us are images of buildings that Buro Happold has brought its considerable engineering expertise too.\nMundy joined Buro Happold in September 2008 and has re-shaped IT to reflect the fast-reacting engineering company it is a part of, so that IT, like Buro Happold itself, is agile, leading edge and operates as a partnership.\nFormed 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.\nSet up in Bath because the founder moved to the city to take up a professorship at the city\u2019s university, today the company has offices in seven countries.\nBuro Happold serves sectors such as aviation, civic authorities, commercial developers, the culture sector, education, energy providers, healthcare, retail, sport, transport and\u00a0waste.\n\u201cThe organisation is made of engineers and consultants and they work not only on the buildings, but also in the environment around it on issues such as sustainability and population growth,\u201d he says.\n\u201cThere are very few architects here: our people are all engineers of different descriptions and it is a very global team.\n\u201cThat means its smart group of people, they develop their own software at times and create a lot of shadow IT,\u201d Mundy says of the user base he and his IT team have to support.\n\u201cAs engineers and as an organisation they don\u2019t work on commodity projects, so our customers don\u2019t do commodity IT,\u201d he adds, connecting the complexity of designing a rail hub in Germany to the IT needs of the engineers working on it.\n\u201cThey are creative and very challenging and they want the best and they want to be leading edge or even bleeding edge. When we want to make a change they challenge us and that is good,\u201d he says.\nThis creates an interesting dynamic for Mundy, one that is being debated widely amongst CIOs in terms of consumerisation.\n\n\nFor Mundy, his user base isn\u2019t just buying and adopting mobile devices. As technologists themselves they are also procuring software for their projects.\n\u201cThe immediacy of their challenges and roles means they will find a way to do things and if a niche provider has the application for it, they will adopt it,\u201d he\u00a0explains.\nMutually challenging\nAlthough many IT chiefs would baulk at the thought of giving staff free rein, Mundy is relaxed with it and works with the users to help outline their choices and meet their demands.\n\u201cTheir knowledge and boundaries challenge us and the challenge is to be a little bit more challenging back," he says of the open-minded approach to hardware and software procurement that he readily\u00a0adopts.\n"There is nothing worse than being told that something is \u2018IT policy\u2019. I don\u2019t want to set an arbitrary group of applications. We can\u2019t and shouldn\u2019t do that as an organisation otherwise we end up in the commodity space.\n\u201cWe will use what they like, but as IT we must work out how we rationalise applications to what is most effective. IT must be enabling. I would like to think that we are on the other side of the fence, over with them.\u201d\nMundy not only enables a high degree of application choice to satisfy immediate needs, he asks the organisation to let him know what applications they would like to try and then asks them to share those tools and the best practices for using them with the rest of the organisation.\n\u201cThe key is timing. My challenge is to understand when I can challenge them, where I can influence and when to put things outside of my unit,"\u00a0Mundy explains.\n"But, not challenging the organisation will let everyone down, and challenging the organisation is the core challenge of the CIO role.\u201d\nOne way in which Mundy ensures that the IT department is on the engineers\u2019 side of the fence is to put a lot of effort into making sure his department knows enough about the business, especially the new entrants to the organisation.\n\u201cWe are re-educating the whole team about the needs and role of the business. The airline BMI did a lot of this and they knew they had done the right thing when there was a poster in the department that said \u2018It\u2019s about flying aeroplanes\u2019,\u201d he explains.\nMundy has a team of 40 and four direct reports spread globally.\n\nBuro Happold doesn\u2019t have a follow-the-sun-style IT operation and support, and its Hong Kong office works without any IT support for a few hours every day until the Dubai office, which is where the general IT helpdesk is based, logs on.\nHis UK team focuses on providing the specialist engineering IT applications and support.\nOne of Mundy\u2019s first roles when he joined Buro Happold was to create a single global IT environment.\nThis has been achieved by standardising the desktop environment onto Windows 7, but also by removing a management layer and instead creating a series of monthly service reviews with the rest of the organisation where every part of the IT service catalogue is re-assessed.\n\u201cThe service review gives us a firm steer across their pain points and a clear picture of how we need to respond. And we really take notice, it is not just a paper exercise and we try to be transparent about the service levels,\u201d Mundy says.\nMundy reports directly to the CEO, a chain of command that has also changed since he joined. The Buro Happold board wanted a central IT under a single umbrella rather than the regional direct reporting line it had previously operated.\nNew business model\nHaving such a centralised technology resource will enable Buro Happold to respond to the UK government\u2019s introduction of BIM (building information modelling), which is creating a defined protocol for the creation, management and sharing of digital building information.\nThe standard should ensure that digital information becomes a shared knowledge resource for all those involved in the creation of the concept, build stages, operation and use of a building, and even ultimately its demolition.\nIn June 2011 the UK government published a BIM strategy that will require all projects from 2016 onwards to be BIM-compliant and indeed the Royal Institute of Architects found that 31\u00a0per cent of architects in 2011 were already using BIM. Similar information initiatives already exist in the car manufacturing sector, Mundy explained.\n\u201cWe are working on that government initiative and what it will mean to us as a business to make sure that the way we model is then used and shared across the organisation. It will drive efficiency through the business,\u201d he says.\nMundy explains that linking computer-generated descriptions of a building to all the different stages of its construction and its working life will make the information more effective. That's great news for any CIO.\nOrganisations like Buro Happold will see their initial design stages become more rapid, which will again suit this CIO. Mundy is an advocate of Agile methodology and believes that as with his service reviews, agile creates transparency in the organisation.\nBuro Happold uses stand-up meetings for service desk and infrastructure teams and there are retrospectives every two weeks to look at ways of improving, which in turn acts as a form of training.\n\u201cIt helps the teams all around the world as they all get to meet and request what they want done. It\u2019s better to know that something will not happen and why, rather than expect that it will happen,\u201d says Mundy.\n\nHe and his team have transformed a great deal, but as ever in an engineering environment, the zeal to experiment, create, test and improve remains strong.\nContinuing from the benefits of BIM, Mundy is analysing efficiency at the firm.\n\u201cWe can be more efficient at measuring and planning the impact of moving a project from one area of the business to another. And we are taking a good look at our back-end processes,\u201d he says.\nThis study includes assessing how Buro Happold extracts value from applications like Aggresso for its financials and working with the business development and marketing departments on their use of CRM.\nIn tandem with the HR team, he is also carrying out a study into consumerisation.\n\u201cWe want to partner with our users, so the study with HR is to ask how we can enable consumerisation. We already have iPads about and we are neither sponsoring them nor stopping them. The study will find how we can go forward and benefit the business.\n\u201cYou can be too tight with the restrictions or too blas\u00e9, so we need to understand the risk profile now.\n\u201cTake cloud computing. I\u2019m not sure most organisations have looked at their existing risk profile. I ask, do you really know how secure you are now as an organisation? With cloud providers there could be an assumption that they are more secure than you are, but they are also a bigger target.\u201d\nAs well as the recent migration to Windows 7 across the organisation, Mundy has rolled out Microsoft Lync and Office Communications Server to provide Polycom video conferencing to all Buro Happold operations.\nWith major projects under way in the Middle East, Mundy says these technology upgrades have been very well received.\n\u201cPeople are on the move all the time, but we have cut the travel bill as it stops people having to travel at short notice.\u201d\nAgile background\nBefore Buro Happold, Mundy headed IT at marketing services company CPM, an organisation that first allowed him to learn and use Agile. Being in marketing taught him vital skills in business intelligence and financial management.\nMundy has the air of an engineer about him; he meets you with detailed notes, methodically records items that need to be checked and is clearly passionate about pushing the boundaries of the technology he engineers into a business and its processes.\nAs a successful brass band musician in his free time, he is also creative himself. He followed in family footsteps in this regard and his son continues the tradition.\nAgain the passion shines through as Mundy explains that the typical vision of brass bands is the mining band picture painted by films such as Brassed Off staring Ewan McGregor. Mundy, though, tells a very different story.