Case Study

Engaging automatic drive

As the UK’s leading voice for the automotive industry, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has a unique set of data on vehicle sales going back many years. SMMT wanted to digitise the reports it generates - creating a new data sales platform. Net Efficiency built the product taking its retail experience and knowledge of data manipulation and management to create an easy to use, self-select data store.

Buyers can now get the data they want in seconds and we've converted the process from manual to automatic.

We've transformed data buying.

The Strategy

The SMMT is the country's primary source of news and vehicle data on the motor industry. It has terabytes of data about the UK's vehicle buying history, which can be useful to a variety of different businesses.

The SMMT approached us to create an online data sales platform to address a strategic desire to make that data more available to more people and in a way that (potential) customers could see the wealth of data. The rationale for this was that would provide the optimal route to discovering exactly what customers were looking for, rather than what had been bought previously.

Our approach was to create a sales platform with five main products at launch using a component based engineering model to create the user journeys.

SMMT logo

The Client

A clear rationale behind the platform was to free up the client's time, from fielding in-bound enquires, to data selection and sending reports to clients and dealing with after-sales care. The objective was to put the decision making in the hands of the buyer to ensure that they got exactly what they needed - and that the price they would pay reflected that choice.

The Challenge

There were three main challenges for us.
First, creating a platform fit for now and the future.
Second, developing sensible customer journeys through the data to ensure that the client was always aware of what they were choosing.
Thirdly, the data itself, which is different from product to product and from year to year.

Responsive design

The solution

Our approach to design was to crack both the user journeys and the business data flows in one. We ran a series of discovery workshops (online as during Covid) and used an iterative design process to engage the client and the developers. Overall, we designed more than 1000 component elements based on the SMMT brand guidelines.

Our tools

Selecting the right technology to create the platform and first products was, in hindsight, relatively straightforward. We needed cloud based hosting to enable us to throttle up and down storage, usage and balance costs. And we needed to select software that was based on components, not based on functionality. As such we built the service in Laravel (a PHP framework) rather than in a content management system. This provided us with the flexibility we needed and the SMMT with an industry standard approach for security and sustainabilty.


Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis.


Laravel is an open-source PHP framework, which is robust and easy to understand. It follows a model-view-controller design pattern. Laravel reuses the existing components of different frameworks which helps in creating a web application. The web application thus designed is more structured and pragmatic.


Trello helps teams manage projects by using boards and cards to organise work flow. Everyone in the team can see the status of a task as cards move between lists to Done.

The outcome

"We're delighted that Net Efficiency was able to build this new platform for us. It really has changed the way we can sell our data and also to re-think the way we work too. We are really looking forward to seeing significant growth in our new data business as a result"

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