What Is Predictive Analytics?

predictive analytics

Predictive analytics refers to statistics, numerical algorithms, modelling, artificial intelligence and machine learning procedures to identify prospects of forthcoming outcomes based on historical records. The aim is to go beyond knowing what has occurred to provide an appropriate valuation of what will happen in future. 

Predictive analytics uses historical data mining statistics, predictive modelling, and analytical techniques to manage technological information and model business processes to predict the future. 

Typically, the historical data and patterns identified in historical and transactional data are useful in identifying future risks and opportunities. This data helps build a scientific model that captures significant trends, such as envisaging what is likely to happen next or suggesting actions to take for optimal outcomes. 

Predictive analytics has caught a lot of attention in recent years due to supporting technology and effectively interpreting big data and machine learning. 

Impact of predictive analytics 

An upsurge of big data 

Predictive analytics is mainly learned in big data, such as engineering data that includes sensors, instruments, and connected systems. Business system data in organizations also entail transaction data, sales results, customer concerns, and marketing information. 

The big data revolution has led to a demand for data scientists and a need for data science information that include data science courses, computer science and business degrees. A majority of organizations reserve huge amounts of money for storage and infrastructure, and that amount is bound to double in a couple of years. 

Companies are spending heavily on systems that help store detailed customer data, customer engagements and internal processes because they believe it presents a lucrative return on investment. However, it remains unclear how big data can drive a positive investment return from surveys and reports. 

Predicting demand 

Predictive analytics is vital in predicting demand for consumer products. Organizations value precise demand predictions because it is very costly to keep stock on shelves, and the stock shortage is detrimental to short-term cash flow and long-term customer engagement. Relying on total sales is a weak substitution because organizations need to distribute products to meet demand. Unfortunately, this method only works well for common brands. 

A big data solution for this challenge is to incorporate cumulative web search linked to each store location. For instance, data scientists at Microsoft have adopted this method that helps an organization predict sales. 

Creating models that include web search data help minimize forecast error and offers a standard measure of prediction accuracy compared to traditional models. In this instance, a big data solution leverages the formerly unused data point to carry out a social inquiry and online research. This improvement in prediction accuracy, in turn, leads to an increase in operational efficiency since the right inventory is in its proper place.  

Web search data is vital and helpful as it is a key influencer for purchasing habits, actions and purchase of consumer products. Though additional data is inadequate, processing search data and linking it with traditional resources is key in generating effective and fruitful predictions. 

Intelligence is vital in identifying which signals to draw from big data and requires insight since the most appropriate practices can be case-specific. For instance, in search data, multiple user questions are more beneficial than a single query.

Improved pricing 

Since it isn’t possible to have a single price that could negatively impact the demand curve, firms are keen in offering regular discounts, product promotions, brand campaigns and segment-based pricing to target specific markets. E-commerce businesses have a distinct advantage in incorporating this methodology because they have detailed information on customer surfing habits that they implement and use to their benefit. 

With this information, they recognize consumer purchasing habits and aggressively adjust prices over time. In association with big data, these price adjustments are a type of testing that allows organizations to get supplementary information about customer’s price responsiveness. 

Entrepreneurs can also incorporate offline strategies such as tracking consumers using smartphone connectivity and logging that customers use to enter stores, the type of merchandises they look for and purchase frequency. 

Machine learning identified from this data can automatically generate customer subdivisions based on price responsiveness and inclinations, significantly improving offline demographic-based targeting. 

Using big data for pricing advertising on search engines can produce considerable benefits by better matching marketing teams to consumers. The success of algorithmic targeting is a key player in generating revenue for firms in online marketing. Advancement in technology progressively enables offline businesses to benefit from this know-how through more resourceful pricing.

Predictive maintenance 

Having an efficient supply chain is crucial for consistent and stable profit margins. Working with faulty or outdated machinery results in minimal productivity, breakdown in the supply chain and short supply of goods and services. 

Administrative directors in manufacturing industries agree that their enterprises’ primary operation risk is their machinery’s unexpected failure. The proper use of data and assimilation of machine-learning models permit industries to foretell when different machinery is likely to stall. 

For instance, commercial airline companies are attentive to envisaging mechanical letdowns in advance to mitigate flight interruptions and cancellations. For airlines to solve flight delays and cancellations, knowledgeable data scientists can predict the likelihood of aeroplane deferments and terminations based on appropriate data sources like maintenance history and flight itinerary information.  

Predictive maintenance solutions also help to track real-time data to forecast useful life-span of an aircraft engine, use sensor data to foretell failure of an Automated Teller Machine, cash extraction operation, incorporating telementary data to predict failure of electric pumps used for extracting crude oil and gas in industries, predicting machine failure in the manufacturing process, foretelling credit defaults, and forecasting energy demand to predict overload challenges in energy grids. Machine learning is beneficial and helps reduce the negative impact on production of goods and services. 

Innovative applications 

Although big data is valuable in improving existing processes such as more accurate forecast demands, better price-sensitive estimates, and more precise machine failure predictions, it also has the probability of being incorporated for disruptive processes. 

For instance, machine learning models contain patient history and can transform how certain ailments are detected and cured.

The capabilities, such as accurately predicting demand, better pricing strategies, and predictive maintenance, are benefits that justify huge organizations to invest in data science and big data infrastructure. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.