James Donaldson Jan 18, 2021 10:39:16 AM 36 min read

Dealing With Company Politics In A P2P Automation Project

Compleat & Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Have Been Working Together For Many Years, 

but it has not always been this way; ZSL had been put off finding a finance & accounting automation solution for many years after having reviewed the market options & struggled to deal with the company politics in a P2P automation project 

Background: ZSL 

ZSL is an international scientificconservative & educational charity working in over 50 countries; their mission of ground-breaking science & active conservation projects is realized through their two zoos (ZSL London Zoo & ZSL Whipsnade Zoo). 

This means they could not find a finance & accounting automation solution that met their business requirements while also being financially justifiable 

Money was spread thin as there is significant competition within ZSL for many important causes & research.  

Being a charity, there is never enough money for everything & automation was put on the back burner for a future date.  

Charities have the same financial burdens just like any business, which means they must make every penny count; after analyzing the strengths & weaknesses & getting a better understanding of procurement &invoicing processes within ZSLcompany goals were then created achieve a more efficient & cost-effective process. 

ZSL Had A Set Of Main Goals Similar To Most Companies: 

  • Streamline the Procurement Process  
  • Save on invoicing costs 
  • Improve finance efficiency 
  • Win consensus across the board & pool users by providing the efficiency & effectiveness with ROI forecast analysis    

Before any work could be done on improving the processcompany politics in a p2p automation project must be worked through 

As anyone might know, working with senior management & budget holders can feel like pulling teeth with scorching hot pliers... The job will get done, but it will not be what you planned; it looks worse than it was before & all the innovative ideas you had are now all their innovative ideas.  

Nick Napier, IT Director at ZSL, is no stranger to this struggle: 

The challenges of starting a P2P automation project are both political & financial. By definition, the process will change the way that the budget holders (senior management) & a large number of their staff operate, whilst consuming funds that could be utilised elsewhere in the organization. Unless we could address these challenges, it was unlikely the project would be sanctioned". 

Most companies know of the benefits of automating procurement & invoicing processes. Still, if company culture, bias, & or sticks in the mud won’t budge then, it’s going to be a very rough process. When dealing with company politics in a P2P automation project, the most important aspect is getting the stakeholders on the sideThere will be some people you will impact with this project & the more people you disrupt, the more likely some of these people will have influence & power.  

Identifying Stakeholders 

The first thing to do is identify these stakeholders, who will have an interest & who will be affected. Knowhow.ncvo.org.uk recommend writing up a list of stakeholders & how they may use said influence:  

  • How will they measure the success of this change? What is it that they want to see? 
  • How much influence do they have? 
  • Could they stop or seriously undermine the change if they wanted to? 
  • How important are they? 

Another way, suggested by www.projectsmart.co.uk, is to create a power interest grid. This would allow you to find the people who may have low interest but a lot of influence, meaning you may need to spend more time building a relationship with more nurturingAlternatively, someone with high influence & high interest may need more attention to keep them up to date with reporting & the benefits of what they are trying to achieve 


Once you have identified your stakeholders, the next step should be to get a better understanding of key goals as well as to learn of any objections. 

The most important aspect is communication, as it is key to the understanding of each requirement from each stakeholder. 
Who you may need to communicate with may change over time as they may shift depending on the phase of the project, waning interest, or something else that comes up unexpectedly. 

You may need to think about how they like to be communicated with, what the most important part of the project is to them, what they need to know & more importantly, what they don’t need to know, & even when the best time to contact them is.  

Managing Expectations 

With thright lines of communication open to the right people, the next step is to set & manage expectations; this will help create project timelines & find which stage each stakeholder will be part of. 

Try to be as thorough as possible by letting people know what you will need from them & when stakeholders are normally busy, so it’s best to be clear about what you need from them &, more importantly, how you will be able to help them.  

A fantastic way to do this is to create a project management plan - head over to projectmanager.com to learn how to build a management plan; they already have a listed page to get you started 

Company Politics in a P2P Automation Project 

Company politics, culture & opinion is hard to change, but the effort is worth it. 

In the end, we are all human & we are all doing what we believe to be the best for ourselves & the company. We are all in the same car yet have different directions to the same destination 

Everyone wants the same thing, the company to succeed & a healthy Christmas bonus at the end of the yearGetting people on the main page should be a top priority for any project to succeed. 


To Find Out More About ZSL's Journey With Compleat,
Download The Case Study Here:

Download Case Study



James Donaldson

I hate bio's but I was told to write one, I kinda actually enjoy my job, creating content for social media purposes and reviewing analytics to increase efficiency to build social platforms. What would I rather be doing? Inside an art studio creating contemporary art that take minutes to make but go for millions (see banana taped to wall for example).
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