TORCH Business Advisory Service FAQs

TORCH aims to enable businesses, who have developed a data strategy, to find the right data methods and technologies for them through engagement with The Data Lab experts and specialist supplier organisations.

Whilst The Data Lab is already a trusted advisor for businesses trying to identifying the correct data tools and platforms, we understand that there may be questions about how the new TORCH Business Advisory Service works.

TORCH Business Advisory Service FAQs:

TORCH is a business advisory service designed to speed up data-driven innovation and change, whilst encouraging collaborations between businesses. It enables clients who have developed a data strategy to overcome the challenges faced when embarking upon new data projects. The service allows them to trial and become successful with data technologies through engagement with The Data Lab experts and qualified supplier organisations.

TORCH helps to transform the client company from their starting point and addresses the following topics:

  • Understanding of how their business objective could be achieved
  • What efforts would be required
  • Which tools and skills might be appropriate, and which vendors might be used to achieve a successful data project

TORCH is unique in that it supports the development of the intelligent customer in client companies, whilst at the same time, nurturing and growing the Scottish supplier ecosystem.

The service partners with specialist suppliers, attracting interest from those seeking to play a part in supporting Scottish Enterprise. It works to remove any barriers to innovation, and equips the client with the knowledge and expertise they need to accelerate the positive impact they can make with data.

Every business has data and a data strategy provides you with actionable development insights. Everyday, businesses are gathering more and more data. The sooner they manage this, the faster they can utilise it.
Think of your data strategy as a road map, highlighting the direction you must go in to achieve your goals – whatever they may be.

Your data strategy aims to:

  • Improve decision making by using data to validate your assumptions and to identify blind spots you might have.
  • Improve operations by using data to identify where your processes can be optimised, to change your operating model and to make real-time interventions to drive better outcomes.

Often, businesses aren’t sure what data they possess and their first steps will be to look at ways to access or gather data. Your data strategy can be designed to improve all the ways your business obtains, manages, shares and utilises data.

A study by Optimat in 2019 found that over 60% of businesses agreed that their organisation had ambitions to manage and exploit data more than it currently does. Data is one of the most valuable commodities a business can have. It allows you to make educated decisions across your organisation on everything from efficiency and productivity to safety and finances.

Utilising the data you have and developing a data strategy is one of the best ways to guarantee an educated business decision making and create a full 360 overview of your organisation.

Learn more about how data has helped businesses grow with The Data Lab CASE STUDIES and TORCH CASE STUDIES

TORCH is designed for organisations, from any industry sector, who are seeking to take forward a data initiative but are unsure of how best to proceed. This is done by translating strategy into practical actions.

For businesses looking to develop a strategy and improve their understanding of the business opportunity presented by the use of data, we created our LEADERSHIP TRAINING programme. This is typically an interactive 1/2day or 1-day workshop that demonstrates how you can drive value for your business through the better use of data. We also have a free online course – DRIVING VALUE FROM DATA – that will help you to learn, quickly and easily, how to understand the importance of data to your business. Alternatively, our other ONLINE LEARNING courses provide a range of learning opportunities in a variety of areas.​

If you are further along in your data journey, you may be able to benefit from engaging with a professional data scientist. In these cases, support from the Data Lab’s internal experts or collaborating with academic experts can help. For more details please take a look at our COLLABORATE WITH DATA SCIENCE SPECIALISTS information.

The TORCH service supports businesses by:

  • Accelerating the time it takes for them to realise value from data innovation and change
  • Minimising project risks
  • Providing unbiased, strategic advice from The Data Lab team
  • Delivering access to proven approaches to tackling data (innovation and change) challenges
  • Opening access to The Data Lab’s network and wider Scottish ecosystem.

Learn more about the choice of services in our TORCH Process Overview.

CLIENT BUSINESSES – To benefit from the TORCH service, client organisations must be operating and have a registered office in Scotland.

SUPPLIER ORGANISATIONS – To qualify as part of the TORCH Supplier network, organisations must:

  • Have proven expertise in delivering data driven solutions
  • Be able to commit both software, data and staff time in suitable engagements
  • Be open to promote activity to wider Scottish community through case studies etc.
  • Have objectives to engage the Scottish business community and locally-based SME and start-up suppliers
  • Have the technology and operational capabilities to support projects

Suppliers must agree to standard TORCH T&Cs. For full details about these, please contact our team

Research by Optimat  in 2019 showed that 91% of surveyed organisations have undertaken data-driven projects. However, 70% stated that they had experienced challenges in realising the project beyond the piloting and experimentation stage.

TORCH aims to overcome challenges and provides clients with independent expertise in order to:

  • Evaluate their data strategy in order to identify potential technology solutions, implementation methods and expert partners
  • Identify the most appropriate platforms and tools
  • Enable an innovation proof of concept to be created using these tools
  • Enable clients to procure the right solution with confidence

TORCH aims to transform the client from their starting point to an appreciation of how their objective may be achieved, what effort might be required, which tools might be appropriate and which vendors, products and services might be used to achieve this.

The Data Lab is already considered to be a trusted advisor, noted for its independence and neutrality. TORCH has been created by The Data Lab to help businesses who are starting to use data, to identify the correct approach for them, reduce the risk of failure, and to link them with appropriate expert partners and advisors.

We created our LEADERSHIP TRAINING service to help businesses start their data journey, and TORCH aims to enable businesses to successfully take the next steps on their data transformation by translating strategy into practical actions, using the methods and technologies most suited to their needs.

The Data Lab’s extensive network can help navigate the complex, fast changing ecosystem of technologies and organisations to the benefit of your business.

TORCH enables suppliers to tap into potential business opportunities that they may not have encountered without The Data Lab’s broad network. The demand is driven by our clients and the service works to bring suitable partners together in a neutral, supportive and collaborative environment.

As well as new business opportunity, supplier organisations will receive wider exposure to The Data Lab community, offering promotion via case studies.

The key benefits of TORCH to supplier organisations include:

  • Access to new opportunities, both immediate and longer term
  • Access to a new market and network
  • Access to client networks to try new data products (for Scottish suppliers creating new data-driven technologies)

No. The TORCH team will always recommend multiple suppliers and the recommendations made will be based upon the requirements and constraints as defined by the client. The choice of supplier will always belong to the client, hence no definite commitment on selection can be given.

However, TORCH provides access to get involved in wider business and new industry opportunities.  TORCH represents the start of a journey and it aims to build long standing relationships with the potential to work on the first project of what should become many in the future.