The Sea Spyder team have worked together for years, their experience covering all aspects of the Whisky sector.
There are 133 operating Scotch whisky distilleries across Scotland and, in 2019, their produce accounted for 75% of Scottish food and drink exports (and 21% of all UK food and drink exports). At this time, the industry provides £5.5bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, and its popularity continues to grow every year.*
However, despite all this opportunity, the Sea Spyder team spotted a gap in the industry’s market. There was real value to be had in the accurate pricing of spirits, particularly high-value single malts. Traditionally, products were priced based on business knowledge and comparative pricing. The Sea Spyder team wanted to develop a system which allowed those decisions to be more evidence based.
Their goal is to create an online platform that provides easy access to information regarding premium spirits pricing. They want to offer a dashboard with actionable insights, allowing users to tap into data that helps them answer questions like, “What price should we launch with? How many bottles should we launch? What channels should we launch in?”
Sea Spyder want to create a tool that allows them to communicate with customers in an easy-to-use, intuitive way; a platform that companies could make high value decisions with.
The Challenge: Objective technical expertise
Having completed multiple entrepreneur programs and workshops, the team felt like they’d lost momentum: “We were not moving forward at a rate we were comfortable with. We knew what we wanted to achieve and were gathering data, but we weren’t actually transforming it and making it useful, and we didn’t have a clear route to get there”, explained Sea Spyder’s Co-Founder Laura Anderson.
On approaching the TORCH service, they had proven the concept of what they wanted to do, but it was in a developed form. As a result, taking the next steps was becoming difficult. Their data wasn’t easily accessible to allow them to understand what they had (and what they didn’t have). As time went by, they were gathering more and more data, but it wasn’t yet adding any more value. The Sea Spyder team had agreed they needed a step change. They recognised they had gaps in their team, and after gathering advice from different people and organisations, they were still not confident what the right next steps were.
Reflecting on their initial discussion with the TORCH team, Laura explained, “We were asked what we wanted out of this. We wanted something to confirm we were using the right platforms and the right tools, to have confidence that we had technical expertise that had looked at everything objectively. We wanted to know we hadn’t gone to one company who were an expert in one thing, and gone down their route without knowing the pros and cons and what else was out there.”
After conducting an initial discovery session (analysing everything from current positioning through to business strategy and future goals), TORCH began to identify the gaps and opportunities in Sea Spyder’s plan. They required a roadmap highlighting the stages they’d need to go through to reach their end goal, providing recommendations across people, process, data, technology, and funding.
The team were also in the process of applying for funding, and required guidance on the resources needed, indicative timelines and costs to move forward with the roadmap. The Data Lab has extensive experience in helping organisations apply for grants and complete applications, and therefore recommendations were straightforward for the TORCH team.
Finding a supplier to help execute Sea Spyder’s project came with a core objective: To find someone who matched the way in which they wanted to work …
We didn’t want someone to bake us a cake, we wanted somebody to help us buy the ingredients and then let us see how it’s baked
Vicky Dewar, Co-Founder of Sea Spyder, had expressed a great interest in understanding the data technology and methods behind their project. It was important that TORCH identified a supplier who worked with her so that she could explain what their system did. Vicky wanted to be able to show a customer what their platform was doing and why it was the right answer for them (rather than simply trust it was doing what it was supposed to).
The Result: Empowerment & knowledge transfer
In the case of Sea Spyder, one of the proposed suppliers went beyond just fitting the requirements. For Revelator IT, knowledge transfer was included as part of their proposition (a service they incorporate into any engagement they do). Speaking with us, the consultancy’s Founder Alan Wood explained that it was important for clients to feel empowered and learn about what had been built for them. It was a perfect fit; a sustainable model allowing Sea Spyder to work independently until their next significant development.
The TORCH service is about supporting and driving business collaboration, and we were keen to hear about Revelator IT’s Supplier experience with the team. They told us, “The sign-up/on-boarding process was really smooth and straightforward (which was refreshing).”
They also praised the way in which TORCH made the introductions to Sea Spyder; the focus was on the people involved, rather a complicated documentation process. This personal approach was key to building a good working relationship from the very start.
The introduction to Alan came at an ideal time. Sea Spyder had just taken advantage of The Data Lab’s MSc programme. During his MSc placement, our student, Spyros Anastasiou had supported Vicky as she grew her data technology knowledge. As this engagement came to an end, Revelator IT picked up the reins, supporting Vicky in learning about the Microsoft products being used to build the Sea Spyder data platform.
Working towards goals
With customer discussions already in the pipeline, it looks like Sea Spyder’s plan to become a successful business with scalable tools is well underway. Summarising their TORCH experience, their team told us,
It’s been enormously beneficial for us and we’d recommend it to anyone looking to make a step change. The experience has been very open, collaborative, objective, focused and interactive. We had ideas and sometimes they challenged us, asked us, “Is this right at this time? Is it a priority?”, and that was helpful to keep us on the roadmap we had developed. That’s what we needed. Sometimes we needed reigned back in. I can’t see any negative outcomes from the TORCH service!
How can TORCH help you?
Do you think there’s opportunity to move your business forward with data? Our team are here to provide impartial advice around your project goals & help you identify the right service partners to get started. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org