TLDR: Many organizations have analysts who tell what happened in the past while some may even get close to predicting what may happen in the future. But new BI tools are helping management to make calculated outcomes, to finally realize revolutionary prescriptive analytics.
Much is being made these days of the new capabilities of business intelligence platforms. Analysts can mine ever greater value from all manner of available data to conquer a new frontier of prescribed business outcomes. The potential for proactive master data management through prescriptive BI is significant and will depend much on how organizations approach their Business Intelligence and Planning & Analysis environment(s) – and set their respective expectations.
To understand the context and power of this new transformation to prescriptive analysis, notice the three stages of Business Analytics:
- Descriptive Analysis: Tell what happened. Data is of past events. Most common form of business intelligence data.
- Predictive Analysis: Tell what is likely to happen in future. Data is present-tense, as close to current as possible.
- Prescriptive Analysis: Tell the outcome of a measured action; define the future within a limited scope. Comprehensive data points describe the future.
Not that long ago, only data scientists and economists could attempt to predict business outcomes. Most business executives could safely only describe what happened; they needed data geeks and economists to figure out how to predict likely outcomes. Only data scientists understood how to develop statistical models, usually by hand, based on data they could compile from various sources. They were the primary users of complex tools such as R or Python who understood their arcane models and data points.
Like the weather service, data scientist’s predictive models became more accurate and less obscure. The technology that supported their work became more user-friendly and accessible.
People who know the business best should manage its outcomes with data intelligence.
Today, Busines Intelligence (BI) technology and the means for using it have put very powerful predictive analysis in front of business managers. Microsoft Power BI, for example, can seamlessly embed complex R and Python code into its dashboard visualizations. But even these advances constrain the analysis to a one-way interface. Analysts can see what might happen ceteris paribus, but they could not “make it so” by revising or changing conditions. They could not prescribe an outcome.
However, modern technology, especially cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, has brought proactive BI closer to realization. In fact, many data scientists will say prescriptive analytics has arrived, fueled by AI. Customized Machine Learning (ML) models are being trained to predict what happens when certain resources are allocated differently, and to different market segments, and by certain marketing channels.
The potential is staggering. According to Forbes’ Daniel Newman, prescriptive analytics can allow users to make real-time decisions about human capital, investment planning, and capacity scheduling. Prescriptive analytics can even allow organizations to maximize profit margins in real-time by changing prices during the day to maximize profit.
However, such new AI developments have challenges. They typically have a large time-to-value factor. Their cloud-based infrastructure and engineers can be expensive. And because they are customized to the unique environment of their respective organizations, they are silo solutions; they are inefficient enterprise solutions.
Prescriptive Analytics from Inside Power BI
Ironically, by confining analysis to AI, organizations are missing a significant opportunity.
Artificial Intelligence, by design, is an inferior initiation of actual intelligence. Humans still have the edge on intelligence. And it is that asset that Power ON’s Visual Planner leverages with tremendous ROI for organizations using Microsoft Power BI.
The most favorable ROI any business can have is when its managers accurately measure outcomes before they occur.
Using the advanced business intelligence technology of Microsoft’s Power BI, Visual Planner™ from Power ON allows business subject matter experts to craft the story of their future from right inside their Power BI screen. By engaging with the data, molding it within their BI system, they can prescribe outcomes through change.
Visual Planner is built to engage users into the data. And because Power ON supports write-back to any data source supported by Power BI, it empowers business subject matter experts to prescribe realistic, favorable business outcomes. It makes data more valuable, and more accessible to decision-making. It brings prescriptive analytics out of the box.
Opportunity is what your BI can prescribe to it.
Learn how you can bring dramatic performance and competitiveness to your organization through Power ON for Power BI.
More Prescriptive Analytics resources to improve your business outcomes:
1 – Discover how Stewart Title is driving their business story with data collection and writeback in Power BI.
2 – Tech Republic provides background and guidance on the power of Prescriptive Analytics: A cheat sheet.
3 – Learn Why The Future of Data Analytics is Prescriptive Analytics from Forbes.com.