Gartner recently published a research note entitled "Combine AI Techniques to Solve Business Problems." (Idoine, Carlie and Brethenoux, Erick, "Combine AI Techniques to Solve Business Problems," Gartner, 2018). It's an updated version of an older research note (ca. 2015, I believe) that covered a similar topic, combining predictive and prescriptive to drive high impact decisions
The research note summary is as follows: "Organizations are struggling to speed up the process of making critical decisions, which are growing in their complexity. Data and analytics leaders should combine two data science capabilities, predictive and prescriptive analytics, to help shape the future of their organizations."
Data and Analytics Leaders Must Go Beyond BI and Predictive Analytics
In the research note, they call out an issue that we (and our global network of Partners) see all too often: Business decisions are becoming more and more complex, and the need for making faster decisions continues to increase. Unfortunately, the standard OLAP-based or hypothesis-driven planning tools that business leaders have relied on are falling short, unable to provide decisions that result in financial performance improvements. Whether it's descriptive, diagnostic, predictive or all of the above, none of these forms of data analytics actually leverage data to tell or advise decision makers on what to do (i.e., none of those analytics capabilities provide executable plans).
The research note goes on to suggest Data and Analytics leaders need to better familiarize themselves with the capabilities of analytics techniques beyond BI and predictive analytics — techniques like prescriptive analytics. Not only that, they should invest in learning how both predictive and prescriptive analytics tools — in combination with other artificial intelligence techniques — are being used to address more complex decision-making challenges.
Business Executives Need to be Held Responsible for Data Analytics Tools, Too
While the research note does a fantastic job of pointing out a major issue in the planning and analytics space, it fails to hold business decision makers (those who don't necessarily hold data and analytics roles) responsible for informing themselves on the need for prescriptive analytics capabilities. After all, business leaders are the ones that understand the ins and outs of the decision-making process, the nuances of the business itself and what's involved in collaborating with other decision makers to determine what actions are in fact executable.
Business executives are the ones that stand to see the most value from more advanced data and analytics tools.
Note: This post is in no way meant to endorse the purchase of Gartner Research Notes.