Buro Happold

At a Glance

  • Global collaboration
  • Company-wide use of video
  • Saves £250,000 Monthly
  • Reclaims 3,000 Hours a Month

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Buro Happold Engineers a Better Way to Work

Travel costs reduced significantly (up to £250,000 per month); 3,000 hours a month gained in productivity; over 90 percent of staff now video-enabled

There is much to be said for doing more with less, and few say it better than Buro Happold. The renowned engineering consultancy is known for its lightweight, tensile structures and its determined approach to energy and water efficiency. Its engineers have helped design or build some of the modern world’s most iconic structures – the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Royal Shakespeare Theater, and London's Olympic Stadium – and its bridges, transport hubs, urban living projects, and other achievements shape the quality of life for millions of people in more than a dozen countries.

But efficiency is far more than a value proposition for Buro Happold executives; it's practically existential. After all, when you have more than 1,500 employees working in 24 locations, coming up with more efficient ways to defy the distance posed by geography, time zones, and cultures is, in the words of its executives, "a game changer."

For Buro Happold, the game changed in 2012 when the company upgraded its unified communications and collaboration environment to Microsoft Lync Server 2010, integrated it with the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform, and equipped more than 90 percent of its employees with desktop cameras and speakers. Now virtually all Buro Happold employees can join a video meeting at any time, right from their desks, and engage directly with colleagues or clients from San Francisco to Beijing. The Polycom environment also lets engineers working on projects several time zones away collaborate face-to-face from home using laptops or mobile devices.

Shaun Mundy, group IT director at Buro Happold, says the environment has become central to how the firm works. Every day, engineers arrive at crucial decisions sooner by sharing complex designs, models, and structural analyses over video, and by conducting design reviews in real time. Staffers engage face-to-face with clients to review project plans. Business development teams train employees on new enterprise applications. The human resources team interview candidates. And executives meet with key personnel across the firm’s multiple offices.

Saving £250,000 and 3,000 Hours a Month

Shaun Mundy, group IT director at Buro Happold, says the firm invested in video collaboration to reduce the time and budget burden that comes from managing large-scale engineering projects in far-flung locations.

And video collaboration delivered.

"The results we've achieved were quite amazing," says Mundy. "We've reduced our travel costs by £250,000 a month." What's more, he says, the company is now reclaiming up to 3,000 hours of productive time a month – which frees up time for engineers and executives to focus on other things, both at work and at home.

Mundy points out that the savings have come without compromise – a particular benefit in a field where the smallest details sometimes matter the most. "We wanted to enable collaboration without it getting in the way of the engineering and design process," he says, "to get to the heart of the engineering process, even as we link individuals wide groups of people.

"Polycom talks of defying distance, and we've done that to a great degree."

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