Predictive Analytics vs. Prescriptive Analytics Explained

Predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics are two forms of analytics that can help drive business growth. If you want to know how predictive analytics differs versus prescriptive analytics, and the different data tools available, this guide is for you. 

What are predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics use advanced analytic tools and techniques to effectively capitalize on historical data with the aim of uncovering and identifying real-time insights, which can help a business predict and plan for possible future events – and avoid risks. Per Wikipedia: 

“Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining, predictive modelling, and machine learning, that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events.”

Predictive analytics can transform your business operations by combining classical statistical analysis with artificial intelligence (AI). This can help you close the gap between different and critical data sets, delivering predictable business outcomes. 

What are prescriptive analytics?

Prescriptive analytics can attempt to predict what will happen and why it will happen. Prescriptive analytics “prescribe” a variety of possible actions to data, which can lead towards a positive solution or outcome. Using prescriptive analytics, businesses can quantify the impact of future decisions. Per Wikipedia – 

“Referred to as the “final frontier of analytic capabilities, prescriptive analytics entails the application of mathematical and computational sciences and suggests decision options to take advantage of the results of descriptive and predictive analytics.”

What’s the difference between prescriptive and predictive analytics?

Both prescriptive and predictive analytics support robust business decision-making by providing businesses with insight and by enabling them to plan ahead. Both forms of analytics involve a number of processes and strategies including statistical modeling, data mining, and machine learning to deliver deep actionable insight into customers and overall business operations. However, there are several fundamental differences between the predictive and prescriptive analytics:

Predictive Analytics involves the use of statistical models and forecasting tools to deliver an understanding of future events. It essentially answers the critical question: “What could happen?”  It is important to note that predictive analytics only offer probabilities – delivering the possibility of a future event occurring. The core pillars of predictive analytics include:

  • Decision analysis and optimization.
  • Profiling of transactional and historical data. 
  • Predictive modeling. 

Prescriptive Analytics involves the use of both simulation and optimization algorithms to deliver recommendations into possible outcomes. It essentially answers the question: “What should we do?” Prescriptive analytics advance beyond simply predicting options delivered by the predictive mode. They deliver a wide range of prescribed actions, while offering potential outcomes for each of the recommended actions. Because the prescriptive model can effectively predict possible consequences of different actions, it can also provide businesses with an ideal pathway for a predetermined outcome.

What are the most common predictive and prescriptive analytics tools? 

Choosing the right technology tools for your business can be critical to your success in achieving business goals. For any business, the best place to start is by identifying and specifying their needs with absolute clarity. The following questions can help you when making a selection of which tools are best suited to meet your business needs:

Who will use the predictive and prescriptive analytics tools?

What business purpose do you want your analytics tools to address?

Do you plan on expanding the use of your predictive and prescriptive analytics tools in the future? 

Will your analytics tools be required to integrate with and support your current technology platform?

What is your budget?

Different businesses will obviously have different needs and goals for their predictive and prescriptive analytics tools. A popular analytics tool that works for one business might not be ideal for your business requirements. So, assess your chosen analytics tool on every critical parameter before making a buying decision. To help you along, here is a list of some of the top predictive and prescriptive analytics tools that you might want to consider for your business. 

Top Predictive Analytics Tools

  • Tableau.
  • PowerBI.
  • IBM SPSS Statistics.
  • BOARD.
  • SAS Advanced Analytics.
  • Incorta Data Analytics.
  • SAP Predictive Analytics.
  • TIBCO Statistica.
  • H2O.
  • Oracle DataScience.

Top Prescriptive Analytics Tools

  • Improvado.
  • IBM Prescriptive Analytics.
  • Alteryx.
  • Sisense.
  • KNIME.
  • Ayata.
  • NGdata.
  • River Logic.
  • AIMMS.
  • Looker.

What are the most popular cloud data warehouse solutions? 

We recommend a cloud-based data warehouse solution for your business analytics requirements. So, consider the following top cloud solutions. 


Powered by real-time analytics, Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse is designed to deliver easy data access in a single, globally-available platform. The solution’s architecture is capable of effectively supporting all business analytics demands while also addressing compliance and regulatory requirements and supporting data-driven decisions.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google’s BigQuery is a serverless and highly scalable cloud data warehouse solution. BigQuery has been designed to address the analytics requirements of business with superfast, real-time, and predictive insights. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS again is a leading cloud-based data warehouse solution that can support all your business analytics. The solution can also effectively meet all security, compliance, and regulatory requirements of any industry. 

Microsoft Azure

Azure is among the top cloud data warehouse solutions in the market today with advanced analytics and AI tools. The platform is capable of delivering robust risk management and analytics support for any business.  

IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud delivers data and AI services and tools that can help address the analytics requirements of businesses across all industry types. 

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse 

Oracle analytics cloud is designed to provide fast access to any advanced set of analytics that can enable businesses to effectively and seamlessly extract data insights to make critical real-time business decisions.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

SAP cloud data warehouse solution is again a leading name in cloud-based data warehouse solutions designed with advanced analytics tools and services for business. 

Do I need a cloud analytics solution partner near me?

There are advantages to bringing a cloud analytics solution provider on-site, including clearer communication and faster timelines. However, because the solution is in a cloud, your analytics solution provider can be working from anywhere, IF they have an effective communication process and the experience of working with companies across the country and around the world.

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About NextPhase is evolving the way companies utilize data. Our mission is to assist our clients in harnessing the power to turn data into insights – that drive growth. Whether you’re developing a cloud data strategy, migrating terabytes of data to the cloud or implementing a brand-new cloud data warehouse contact us to request a Free Workshop. Let our experts show you how easy it is to get started unlocking your enterprise’s data for actionable insights. Some of the Clients in our portfolio that we have successfully partnered with include – Apple, Google, Ellie Mae, US Bank, Visa, Wells Fargo, Stanford University, Equinix, Genentech, Fisher Investments, Pandora and Twitter. Have questions on cloud data initiatives for your business? We can help. Contact us at or Schedule Workshop to know which of today’s Modern Data Platforms is best suited for your business needs.