In this post, you will quickly learn about the **difference **between **predictive analytics **and **prescriptive analytics. **As data analytics stakeholders, one must get a good understanding of these concepts in order to decide when to apply predictive and when to make use of prescriptive analytics in analytics solutions / applications.

Without further ado, let’s get straight to the diagram.

In the above diagram, you could observe / learn the following:

**Predictive analytics**: In predictive analytics, the model is trained using historical / past data based on supervised, unsupervised, reinforcement learning algorithms. Once trained, the new data / observation is input to the trained model. The output of the model is prediction in form of regression (numerical estimate), classification (binary or multi-class classification), clusters (segmenting the data in groups based on similarity) etc.**Prescriptive analytics**: In prescriptive analytics, one or more mathematical algorithms are applied on the outcomes of predictive analytics solutions / predictions (optional) and business goals, and, the best solution is recommended. The recommended solution optimises the business goal, taking into consideration all decision variables, constraints, and trade-offs. Prescriptive analytics is primarily related to**decision optimization**problems.**Prescriptive analytics builds upon the results of predictive analytics.**It suggests all favourable outcomes and, which courses of action needs to be taken to reach a particular outcome. Recommendation systems are classical examples where prescriptive analytics is applied. Here are some examples of prescriptive analytics solutions:**Google’s self-driving car**: Decision on when and where to turn, whether to slow down or speed up and when to change lanes is done using prescriptive analytics methods.- In
**sourcing**, the factors affecting pricing is considered to get the best terms and appropriately hedge risks.

Here is another diagram which depicts the path from descriptive analytics to prescriptive analytics. Quite a self explanatory diagram. Note the **difference between predictive and prescriptive analytics**.

## References

Here are some good links to understand the concepts of **predictive **and **prescriptive analytics:**

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