Business Analytics Definitions – Descriptive – Prescriptive – Diagnostic – Predictive

  • Descriptive analytics describes a phenomenon through different measures that could capture its relevant dimensions. The purpose is to simply unravel ‘what happened’ or alerting on what is going to happen.
  • Diagnostic analytics evaluates ‘why’ something happened. It needs exploratory data analysis of the existing data or additional data if required to be collected using tools such as visualization techniques in order to discover the root causes of a problem.
  • Predictive analytics seeks options for future business imperatives, predicts potential future outcomes, and explains drivers of the observed phenomena using statistical or data mining techniques – for instance, predicting the sales of a product for the next month or the behaviour of a target segment of the customers.
  • Prescriptive analytics goes beyond describing, explaining, and predicting to suggest ‘what courses of action may be taken’ for the future to optimize business processes in order to achieve business objectives. In other words, it associates decision alternatives with the prediction of outcomes. For prescriptive analytics, decision analysis is used which includes tools such as optimization and simulation.

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