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The people behind the prediction

Forecaster is the creation of Summit, experts in online retailing, focussed on making it more likely customers will buy from clients than anyone else, transforming the way retailers think and deliver. For years our online retail clients asked us the same question on a daily basis:

“How much budget should I spend in which channel, and what return can I expect?”

Over time we answered this with increasing accuracy. We used more data. We learned new analysis techniques. We built better technology. Our results were good, but not good enough. We knew we could do better.

So we sought the best possible answer to this all-important question. This was the inspiration for Forecaster. We investigated ways of using yesterday’s data to predict what would happen tomorrow. This led us to Durham University and the world of predictive analytics. Helped by some of the brightest statistical minds we learned how to apply the science of prediction to the needs of online retailing. Three years later Forecaster was born.

Since 2013, Forecaster has generated over £1 billion of revenue. It tells retailers exactly where and when to spend their money to deliver the greatest possible profit. Forecaster is supported by an in-house team of world-class data scientists and marketing specialists:

Ben Latham

Director of digital strategy


Ben has overall responsibility for Forecaster and ensures its strategic roadmap is aligned with the needs of retailers

Ben Latham

Director of digital strategy

Ben is the Director of Digital Strategy for Summit. He graduated from Hull University, trained as a professional marketer and then followed up with a Diploma in Marketing. His career started in consumer research for Carlsberg-Tetley and Boots, where he later launched www.boots.com and Wellbeing, a joint TV venture with Granada TV. Ben’s move into online marketing took him to E.ON where, together with Summit, he created a successful online strategy that delivered over 40% of new acquisitions.

Having developed a strong relationship with Summit as a client, Ben went on to join as Summit’s Client Service Director in 2006. As Director of Digital Strategy, he is responsible for defining Forecaster’s long-term strategy and product development. He is also in charge of Summit’s Insight Consultancy team.

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Dr Jillian Anderson

Head of insight


Jill has been instrumental in building and developing Forecaster both as an optimisation tool and business intelligence service.

Dr Jillian Anderson

Head of insight

Jill is the head of Insight at Summit. After taking a degree in Geophysics at the University of Liverpool, she moved to the University of Southampton where, as part of the Ocean Modelling and Forecasting group, she completed a PhD in multivariate calibration as applied to climate data. She joined Summit via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Durham University, working closely with Professor David Wooff. She was the first member of Summit’s Insight Team.

Her responsibilities include overseeing Forecaster’s performance, assisting in the development and implementation of diagnostics, monitoring and training, as well as evolving Summit’s consultancy proposition. She has also developed a bespoke attribution methodology. Jill is the lead data scientist for our Client Insight Consultancy team, developing data analysis methodologies and carrying out robust insight projects.

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Prof David Wooff

Lead statistical consultant


David has developed the award-winning statistical methods and predictive analytics that power Forecaster’s prediction engine.

Prof David Wooff

Lead statistical consultant

David is Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Durham University, having recently retired as Director of its Mathematical Sciences Consultancy Unit.

He has worked in the area of applied statistics for around 40 years, with particular interests in Bayesian statistics and applications of statistics to commercial and industrial problems. He has published over 60 articles and books on a wide variety of applications, including a prize-nominated book on Bayes linear statistics. He jointly received the 2007 Donald Julius Groen prize, awarded by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, for his work on using Bayesian statistics to support testing of high-complexity systems.

For the past six years David has been collaborating with Summit to develop award-winning statistical methods and predictive analytics in digital commerce.

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Zdenek Burda

Head of technology


Zdenek heads up Forecaster’s development team and optimises its architecture, scalability and performance as a business intelligence platform.

Zdenek Burda

Head of technology

Zdenek is the Head of Marketing Technology at Summit. He graduated from the Faculty of Information Technology at Brno University of Technology and later trained as a software engineer. His career started in network and infrastructure development for the Czech government. In 2005 Zdenek moved to Summit joining as Development Manager, taking charge of its development teams and later being promoted to the role of Senior Enterprise Architect. For the last 10 years he has been responsible for all technical development at Summit, delivering e-commerce and marketing platforms for a number of leading UK retailers.

As Head of Marketing Technology Zdenek takes responsibility for defining Forecaster’s technology roadmap, architecture and development, and for evolving Forecaster technology into a business intelligence platform.

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Find out the science behind the prediction by downloading our white paper

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