While many businesses have gotten good at using predictive analytics to make predictions, not so many businesses have figured out how to get measurable benefits from those predictions. Predictive analytics makes predictions about what is likely to happen, while prescriptive analytics tells us what we should do about it. Competitive advantage comes from learning how to turn predictive analytics insight into prescriptive analytics action.
How does a business go from insight to action? Prescriptive analytics can take a decision point in a process, use predictive analytics to determine the most likely outcome for each decision option, and recommend actions based on which has the best likely outcome. Prescriptive recommendations guide employees to actions in line with the goals and values of the business, and ensure that important insights aren't accidentally missed or intentionally ignored. Prescriptive is an especially useful tool when the business goals are well defined and the prescribed tasks for each decision option are finite.
Thus, prescriptive analytics is a tool very well suited to a repetitive, process-intensive business domain like asset maintenance. Asset maintenance has well defined goals; for example, most maintenance operations need to maximize availability, minimize failures, and optimize costs. Asset maintenance has well defined roles, workflows, decision points and action plans. And every day, many times a day, specific decisions need made for each asset.