Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Their mission is realised through their groundbreaking science, their active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and their two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
ZSL had reviewed the market options for a number of years to automate their purchase to pay process, but were unable to find a solution that met their business requirements whilst at the same time being financially justifiable.
Addressing the commercial barriers
Nick Napier IT Director explains "There is always significant competition for funding within ZSL, as there are so many just causes and never enough money and resources to do everything we would like. Whilst we were fully aware of the potential benefits of automating our entire procurement process, the projected project costs made it very difficult to secure funding. Compleat's approach in our very first meeting was refreshingly different."
Compleat immediately highlighted the problem within most organisations of winning approval for a P2P project in their own boardroom and explained an alternative approach that could address the problem.
Nick continues "The challenges of starting a P2P automation project are both political and financial. By definition, the process will change the way that the budget holders (senior management) and a large number of their staff operate, whilst consuming funds that could be utilised elsewhere in the organisation. Unless we could address these challenges, it was unlikely the project would be sanctioned".
Compleat's unique approach
Compleat offers a single application that can be deployed either as a CLOUD solution on a monthly subscription fee, or as a perpetual license deployed locally and purchased outright with recurring support and maintenance costs. The unique benefit is that a customer can very easily migrate from the Cloud solution to a local deployed solution, taking all of their data, configuration and experience with them. The attraction of the CLOUD Compleat solution is the low costs, low risk and very fast deployment, whilst the advantages of a perpetual license are the tight real time integration into Infor SunSystems and a much lower total cost of ownership over a 5 year term.
The Compleat proposal was to start with a 20 user CLOUD Compleat Professional Edition pilot scheme and three days of consultancy to deploy the working solution. The pilot scheme would cover four departments of ZSL (Estates, Development, ICT and Finance) and demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the suitability of the solution.
Nick Napier says "Our objective was to create a "beachhead" implementation that clearly demonstrated that purchase automation could be easy to use, provide budget holders with real time information on spend and deliver a formal approval process prior to generation of a formal order. As important, Compleat will also simplify the purchase invoice approval process, as all the information required for the approval was immediately to hand with differences highlighted".
The Implementation Project and Costs
The pilot scheme of 20 CLOUD Compleat Professional users, with INFOR SunSystems integration cost just £500 per month and took three consulting days to deploy. The commercial commitment was for just 3 months, so if there was an unforeseen problem ZSL could walk away with minimal costs.
The project started with a Compleat consultant walking through the comprehensive and detailed project planning and management documentation. This enables ZSL to understand the functionality available and make decisions on the configuration for security, workflow and other aspects of the system. Every decision is documented and enables the Compleat consultant to deliver the working solution. It also provides a systematic approach to user acceptance testing (UAT) and is an excellent reference document for the future.
The project documentation and build / deployment process was completed in less than a week. The structured UAT process was completed in 2 days (including some changes to processes) and the Compleat solution was taken live on the 1st of October 2012.
Compleat – a strategic solution
Neil Robertson, CEO of Compleat explains
"We are well aware of the challenges and frustrations of senior finance and IT management. They recognise the need to improve control over spend and how that will lead to savings, but too often the P2P project dies in the boardroom at the last hurdle. Compleat's innovative approach, pricing and technology enable organisations to address the internal competition on funds and resources and start the journey of Spend Control automation."
"Whilst many of our customers initially contacted us regarding a specific pain point, usually based on spend visibility, budget control and purchase invoice approval automation, the conversation nearly always broadens to include ways to pro-actively reduce costs. This includes term contract management, quotation automation, supplier lock down and catalogue management as well as automation of electronic purchase invoice capture and processing with zero touch.
Robertson continues; "Compleat is focused on delivering Purchase to Pay solutions to the mass market by making the application extremely easy to use, very fast to deploy and pricing it at a level that is affordable to all, whether they turnover £3m or £3bn. The size of our market is purely driven by the cost of ownership and Compleat is unique in the functionality, ease of use and speed of deployment at our price points."
Nick Napier concludes "Compleat is a very powerful application, but the flexibility and configuration delivers a very simple user experience. A good example of the sophistication of Compleat is that we have complex VAT rules and Compleat was able to address these "out of the box" including the automated update to SunAccounts. Moreover, the ability to start with the CLOUD model and convert to a locally deployed perpetual model provide a cost platform that made the project possible".
The initial pilot is live, on schedule, within budget and addressing ZSL's requirements. A positive beginning!
The objective is to roll Compleat out across the organisation over the coming months (as time and resources permit) and start to reap the undoubted rewards of Spend Control – simply making funds work harder and enabling ZSL to invest more into a world where animals are valued and their conservation assured.