Set up by Oldham-based entrepreneur Gary Cheetham, System Pioneer is a team of software developers who create innovative content management systems and websites for a range of businesses.
Gary needed specific IT and business analytics support to help bring a new online motorbike sales comparison website to market. The site is based around machine learning, a field of artificial intelligence that uses data and statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to ‘learn’ and improve performance around a task, without being specifically programmed.
Karen Dudley, an innovation advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, introduced Gary to the Alliance Manchester Business School at Manchester University. The school is ranked sixth in the world by the global QS Ranking, and first in both Europe and the UK.
He began working on a six-month collaboration with University student Anna Komodromou, who was working towards an MSc Business Analytics and had been put forward by her tutors because of her expertise in the area.
Anna, who was able to use the research as part of her dissertation, led the work into the algorithm that allows the new website - MotorbikeValuation.com - to accurately predict the prices of used motorcycles.
“No other company in the industry has a system like this,” says Gary. “It just goes to show that Manchester is a great place to do business and somewhere where a world-class University can work with a small local business on a real-world business problem, and together create something as ground-breaking as this.”
“This is the start of an on-going relationship between Gary and the University,” adds Karen. “As an organisation that continually innovates, keeping ahead of competitors by harnessing academic input into future projects will be key to business growth and maintaining a competitive advantage.”
As well as continuing to work on enhancing the new valuation software, Gary is also looking to start working with graduates from the University’s Computer Science faculty, as well as exploring the possibility of using a similar model in the car industry.
He is also set to take on two new members of staff, and is expecting the site to increase company turnover by 20%.
Anna said: “It was good to be given a chance to apply what I have learned at Manchester Business School as part of my dissertation and create a useful algorithm for a real company. It was very challenging for me to work and find an algorithm for accurately forecasting the price of used vehicles. The help of Gary and, of course, the guidance of my lecturers was invaluable in completing this innovative project.”