Innovation Centre launches new business advisory service to accelerate data innovation

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab

THE DATA Lab, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data science and artificial intelligence (AI), has launched a new business advisory service to accelerate data-driven innovation and collaboration between businesses.      

TORCH has been created by The Data Lab to link businesses who are starting to use data, with expert partners and advisors. It forms part of the Innovation Centre’s “Support to Innovate” objective and is a matchmaking service for businesses building on The Data Lab’s proven successes in forging relationships between academia and industry.

Funded by Scottish Enterprise and University of Edinburgh, TORCH will work with data specialist suppliers to support businesses from all sectors to overcome the challenges faced when embarking upon new data projects, including lack of in-house skills and knowledge, navigating the complex data technology and services marketplace, and being unable to find the right resources, tools and components. According to a survey by Gartner, 60-85 percent of big data projects fail, something TORCH aims to address by assisting more than 250 companies over four years.      

The months ahead will see The Data Lab grow the team responsible for delivering TORCH, which will include the initial recruitment of five new members of staff, including solution architects, business development and marketing experts.

The project is being spearheaded by Rhona MacLennan, Principal Solutions Architect at The Data Lab. Commenting on the new business advisory service, Rhona said: “TORCH will provide a guiding light along the best path to data success for businesses. The service will help to transform the client company from their starting point, to an understanding of how their business objective could be achieved, what effort would be required, which tools might be appropriate and which vendors, products and services might be used to achieve a successful data project.”

Gillian Docherty OBE, Chief Executive of The Data Lab, said: “We are excited to launch TORCH, an initiative born from The Data Lab’s core mission to support others to innovate. Every business has the potential to innovate with data, regardless of size or sector, and we want to make sure they know where to go to get the help, tools or support they need.

“Data presents unprecedented opportunities for businesses, but we recognise it also comes with its challenges. We created our Executive Education service to help businesses start their data journey, 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.”

Scottish Enterprise Director of National Opportunities, David Smith, said: “We continue to work with The Data Lab to ensure that we support businesses across Scotland to become more digitally agile and seek opportunities around data.

“This new service launched by The Data Lab, with support from Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh, means that companies can easily access tailored interventions to meet their needs at whatever stage they are at. I look forward to learning more as the TORCH project delivers its ambition to help companies to understand and work with data to benefit their business.”

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