Predictive analytics: The smart person’s guide


Predictive analytics use historical data to deliver insights and results that predict future events, trends, and outcomes. Business leaders apply these predictions to their enterprise strategies to try to gain a competitive advantage.

IBM Watson is the most well-known use of predictive analytics. Watson is used for a variety of purposes, including helping businesses predict customers’ behaviors and spot cybersecurity risks.

TechRepublic’s smart person’s guide on predictive analytics is a primer on this popular big data practice. We will update this guide periodically with the latest information and tips about predictive analytics.

Executive summary

  • What is predictive analytics? Predictive analytics uses historical data that are relevant to your business, and then applies a combination of statistical algorithms and/or machine learning techniques to determine the likelihood of future outcomes or trends.
  • Why does predictive analytics matter? Predictive analytics give organizations a competitive advantage. Business leaders gain knowledge that helps them make decisions about which processes and products need improving, where to invest in staffing, maintenance, and innovation, how to reduce operation costs, and more.
  • Who does predictive analytics affect? Predictive analytics technology is used around the world in public and private industries by healthcare providers, city planners, sales and marketing professionals, systems admins, and others.
  • When is predictive analytics happening? Companies in virtually every public and private industry sector use predictive analytics.
  • How can I start using predictive analytics? Predictive analytics solutions are available in on-premise and cloud-based systems.