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Uncorking innovation: crafting compelling cases for tech transformation

In the complex and nuanced world of the beverage alcohol industry, where tradition meets innovation at every turn, the adoption of specialized software solutions can be a game-changer. As businesses strive to refine their operations, from vineyard management to distribution, the need for a tool that understands and addresses industry-specific challenges has never been more critical. However, before embarking on the digital transformation journey, it's essential to lay the groundwork by carefully scoping out requirements and building a compelling business case.

Identifying the opportunity

The need for new software can come from a variety of triggers. Business process projects may have a software element, outdated software may be being replaced, new business opportunities may need new software to realize, or the features of particular software may present opportunities to optimize certain business functions.

Regardless of how the need arises, a careful approach to measuring software features against business needs is required. To do this task properly, three steps of analysis are needed; Scoping, Options Analysis and Business Case Development.

We've put together a set of steps you can follow in each of these phases to assist you whenever you are looking at adopting new technology. Following this set of clear steps will help you make sure that all the decision makers involved have a better understanding of why the technology is needed so everyone can feel confident along the journey and stay on the same page.


Our example below uses the selection of forecasting software for the beverage alcohol industry to illustrate how each step can be applied.

Project scoping


The first phase of any project should be scoping. Without a clear picture of what you are looking for in a solution, it is difficult to assess options and understand the scope of the project and what you are setting out to achieve.

In a supply chain technology project, spending time understanding how a piece of technology can support your organization is fundamental. What do you want the technology to do? What are the key functions you are looking for?

Scoping requirements is not just about listing desired software features; it's about delving deep into the unique pain points and aspirations of your business. It involves a thorough analysis of your current process, pinpointing inefficiencies, and envisioning how a platform can revolutionize your supply chain, inventory management, and overall operational efficiency. This initial step ensures that the selected software not only fits like a glove but also propels your business toward its strategic objectives.

Forecasting software scoping

When searching for and implementing forecasting software, our 6 scoping steps could be used as follows.

1. Background

  • Briefly describe the current state of your supply chain operations.
  • Highlight your challenges with your current sales forecasting processes, including reliance on spreadsheets, incompatible software, or homegrown solutions.
  • Acknowledge the complexities and unique characteristics of the wine industry that impact your supply chain.

2. Objective

  • Define the primary goal of implementing new sales forecasting software. Consider objectives like improving forecast accuracy, reducing stock-outs and overages, enhancing overall supply chain responsiveness, and aiding Finance in budget building.
  • Explain how achieving this objective aligns with your organization or company's broader business goals and strategic priorities.

3. Scope

  • Outline the key functionalities and features you need in sales forecasting software to meet your objectives. This may include demand forecasting, inventory optimization, production planning, and scenario planning capabilities as well as the need for a 'single source' of truth.
  • Specify any industry-specific requirements, such as forecasting challenges within the distributor network and forecasting direct-to-consumer (DTC).
  • Discuss the integration requirements with existing systems (e.g., ERP, CRM, VIP) to ensure seamless data flow and process alignment.

4. Constraints

  • Identify any potential limitations or constraints that may affect the implementation of the software. This could include budgetary restrictions, IT infrastructure limitations, or timeline considerations.
  • Acknowledge the importance of a solution simplifying complexity without requiring extensive customization or prolonged implementation phases.

5. Assumptions

  • List any assumptions you are making about the sales forecasting software implementation, such as expected benefits (e.g., savings, efficiency gains), stakeholder support, and availability of internal resources for the project.
  • Highlight the assumption that the chosen software will be adaptable to the evolving needs of the beverage alcohol industry and scalable as your business grows.

6. Evaluation criteria

  • Define the criteria to evaluate potential sales forecast software solutions. Consider factors like alignment with industry-specific needs, ease of use, flexibility, integration capabilities, and total cost of ownership.
  • Emphasize the desire for a partner who understands the beverage alcohol industry and can offer clients a software solution, guidance, and best practices.
  • Prioritize the criteria. Make sure everyone agrees on what are "must-haves" as opposed to features that are "nice-to-have"

Need a template doc to get started?
Get a copy of this free Project Scoping Template document

(Microsoft Word file)

Options analysis

Options Analysis

Once the groundwork of scoping is laid out, the next pivotal phase is Options Analysis. This stage is about exploring and evaluating the various software options available that meet the outlined requirements. It's a meticulous process of sifting through potential tools to find the one that best aligns with the project's defined parameters. By conducting a thorough Options Analysis, businesses can make informed decisions, ensuring the chosen solution not only fits their current needs but also accommodates future growth and changes.

Assessing solutions for the beverage industry

When assessing forecasting solutions against your agreed scope, you can use the following 5 steps.

1. Solution exploration

  • Utilize the background understanding of your current supply chain and forecasting challenges as a foundation to sift through forecasting solutions. This ensures the options considered are equipped to tackle the beverage industry's unique challenges, and improve forecast accuracy, ultimately contributing to better decision-making and cost savings.

2. Software selection

  • Evaluate forecasting software options based on their potential to enhance forecast accuracy, reduce stock discrepancies, and increase supply chain agility — i.e. meet your requirements. This targeted analysis ensures that the chosen solution directly supports your goals, aligning with your broader business objectives and delivering the expected benefits.
  • Build a shortlist for a more detailed analysis. Be sure to include Claret in your shortlist!

3. Feature assessment

  • Rigorously assess each software option for features that align with your defined scope, ensuring the new technology seamlessly integrates with existing systems and supports demand forecasting processes. This careful evaluation helps to identify any blind spots in current processes and ensures the the new software solution addresses these challenges effectively.

4. Criteria-based evaluation

  • Use your defined evaluation criteria to methodically compare software options, focusing on their potential to bring cost savings, improve cash flow, and enhance overall business efficiency. The ideal solution should not only meet your technical and process needs but also emerge from a provider with a deep understanding of the beverage alcohol industry, offering a comprehensive guide to navigating the challenges and maximizing the value of your investment.
  • Make sure constraints and assumptions are also taken into consideration
  • Select your preferred option from the shortlist

By systematically connecting the Options Analysis phase to your foundational scoping work, you ensure a holistic and informed approach to selecting sales forecasting software. This process not only aligns with your company's immediate needs but also positions you for future success, enabling you to feel confident in your investment and its role in driving your business forward.

Need a template doc to get started?
Get a copy of this free Options Analysis Template document

(Microsoft Word file)

business case development

Business Case Development

Once a desired solution is selected, creating a robust business case for adoption involves several critical components.

Building a strong business case transcends mere cost-benefit analysis. It's about weaving a narrative that aligns with your company's vision, showcasing the tangible and intangible benefits of software adoption. From improving decision-making with data-driven insights to enhancing agility in response to market dynamics, the business case for a platform must resonate with stakeholders across the board. It's this compelling combination of meticulous requirement scoping and persuasive business case development that sets the stage for success in project management and implementation.

Building a forecasting solution business case

There are 6 areas you can cover in your business case.

1. Value proposition

  • Highlight how the chosen forecasting software directly addresses the pain points and challenges identified in the Scoping phase and emphasize the software's role in enhancing forecast accuracy and supply chain responsiveness.
  • Discuss the expected benefits in terms of savings, improved cash flow, and increased efficiency, making a compelling argument for the investment. This approach ensures stakeholders and decision-makers understand the clear link between the software's capabilities and the company's strategic objectives.

2. Strategic alignment

  • Use data and insights from the Assessing Solutions phase to show how the selected software aligns with broader business goals and strategic priorities, such as driving sales growth, managing risk, and supporting future initiatives.
  • Present the software not just as a tool, but as a key enabler of the company's vision, ensuring all team members and investors are on the same page regarding its value.

3. Financial impact and ROI

  • Provide a detailed analysis of the total cost of ownership of the new technology, including upfront costs, annual cost, and any ongoing expenses. Consider both operating expenses (opex) and capital expenses (capex).
  • Contrast these with the quantifiable benefits, such as efficiency gains, demand forecasting improvements, and the positive impact on budget and cash flow, to present a solid business case for the software's ROI. This financial justification is crucial for securing buy-in from budget holders and finance teams.

4. Project management

  • Outline a clear plan to implement the platform that builds on the foundations laid in the Scoping and Assessing Solutions sections, specifying key tasks, timelines, and the resources required for a successful rollout.
  • Discuss the importance of a solid project management approach to track progress and keep the implementation on track by monitoring it, addressing potential challenges and ensuring alignment with the original scope and objectives.
  • Include a team member from key business functions, such as sales and finance, to ensure the implementation takes into account the availability of key resources

5. Risks and mitigation strategies

  • Building on the constraints and assumptions discussed in the Scoping phase, identify any risks associated with implementing the new solution, from integration challenges to user adoption hurdles. Offer clear mitigation strategies for each challenge, demonstrating proactive risk management and reinforcing the business case's strength by showing preparedness for potential obstacles.
  • Each of these points should be backed by data, research, and, where possible, case studies or testimonials from similar beverage industry businesses or companies that have successfully implemented the software and increased forecast ability and forecast accuracy.

Following a clear path from Scoping through to Business Case development will ensure you focus on gathering all the data and information you need to ensure success when selecting and implementing a forecasting tool.

For some more details on the benefits you can gain by implementing a forecasting tool such as Claret, read our article on "The art and science of forecasting in the beverage alcohol industry".

Frequently asked questions

What are the 3 phases we should work through before we implement a forecasting tool?

Where can I find info on possible solutions that may meet my requirements?

Can the team at Claret help with building a business case for our company and identifying cost savings?

Can I find document templates anywhere for these steps?

I have an idea for a project, but don't really know how to start scoping. Where should I start?

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