Prescriptive Analytics


So, what is prescriptive analytics?

The Harvard Business Review defines prescriptive analytics as “the process of using data to determine an optimal course of action. Considering all relevant factors, this type of analysis yields recommendations for the next steps.” Simply put, it answers, “what’s my next move?” and then recommends a course of action to reach it.

More specifically, intranet prescriptive analytics can help managers drive adoption and engagement. It allows you to listen to your organization’s heartbeat by surfacing employee sentiment, feedback, and behavioral signals. From this data, leadership can develop the best action plan.

What is prescriptive analytics?

AI and machine learning continue to develop, and so do analytics—namely, prescriptive analytics. Forbes refers to prescriptive analytics as “the future of data analytics” and for good reason.

We’ll explore prescriptive analytics, how it works, and how organizations use it, along with the advantages it offers and the challenges it presents. And we’ll give examples of prescriptive analytics in the real world.

Without further ado, let’s dig into this prescriptive analytics primer!

How it works

Prescriptive analytics relies on AI to power machine learning to understand and suggest the best possible action plans from acquired data points. And because it’s adaptive and iterative, the analytics become increasingly competent the more the algorithm is employed.

Machine learning processes a large amount of intel. As new data becomes available, prescriptive analytics adjusts quickly and automatically, allowing organizations to adapt to sentiment or priority shifts and pivot swiftly, as needed.

And because prescriptive analytics provides organizations with in-depth insights, it keeps them focused on goals. It helps organizations take control of their intranet by:

  • Monitoring employee usage and engagement
  • Reviewing searches and content analytics
  • Surfacing relevant data to reflect personalized needs
  • Integrating with external analytics platforms
  • Tracking open rates for critical organizational “must read” items
  • Setting goals and expectations with integrated benchmarks

These are just some of the ways prescriptive analytics help organizations. But let’s look at the benefits it offers more closely.


Prescriptive analytics fills the gap between predictive and descriptive analytics. It helps an organization respond to change, facilitating real-time decisions by bringing an understanding of how to move forward based on the data it provides. In addition, it can cut through the noise and highlight ways to limit risk, increase employee engagement, streamline processes, and more.

And because prescriptive analytics does all the thinking, you can spend more time doing the work. The instant turnaround of data allows you to spend less time locating the issues and more time providing favorable solutions.
Additionally, it reduces human error or bias. Because it utilizes advanced AI-powered algorithms and machine learning processes, organizations end up with amazingly accurate data analyses.

Finally, organizations that use prescriptive analytics can gain better insight into employee behaviors and sentiments that linger beneath the surface. This allows companies to provide any missing support—enhancing a positive employee experience.


Of course, almost everything has at least one drawback—and prescriptive analytics isn’t infallible. However, most of the drawbacks lie in the lap of the organizations implementing it. You need to know what questions to ask, trust the intel offered, and appropriately react to it. And in a perfect scenario, you’ll proactively get ahead of solutions and will not need to “react” at all.

Additionally, this is a short-term solution on its own. Because it offers real-time results, what works today, will likely not work tomorrow. So, organizations will need to monitor continuously for changes to ensure they stay aware and relevant in their responses.

Finally, not all prescriptive analytics offer concrete results, so do your research.

How can it be used

So, how are prescriptive analytics used? There are a myriad of ways that organizations can utilize prescriptive analytics within the workplace. Below, we’ve highlighted how it can capture real-time insights—and what to do with this intel once you have it!

Evaluate and adopt

Because prescriptive analytics builds off historical data it enables businesses to evaluate options quickly, allowing them to adopt the most relevant intel available at any given moment. It’s an efficient option that is repeatable and scalable, so you stay ahead of the curve.

Optimize business actions and ROI

Prescriptive analytics can improve intranet adoption, content consumption, social engagement, and governance based on peer benchmarks and industry best practices. And this, in turn, improves ROI. When you know what is and isn’t working for your employees, you can adjust to meet their needs. And this reduces friction and employee frustration—which means more productive and engaged employees and better ROI.

Identify active and underperforming channels

Prescriptive analytics identifies employee usage patterns to understand the intranet channels and features most effectively driving employees to your content. Additionally, it determines which content and sites are gathering dust, allowing you to remove the unneeded items that could take up space or repromote them as needed.

Monitor usage and engagement

Understand how employees, teams, and departments engage with content across geographies. By monitoring usage and engagement, you can judge the performance of individual departments and make adjustments in those areas to improve engagement.

Realize better agility

Prescriptive analytics allows organizations to be more agile. By understanding what’s happening in real-time and near real-time, organizations can respond to employee needs, wants, and sentiments promptly.

Remove data silos

Prescriptive analytics removes data silos and aligns the entire organization. And this brings teams together, whether they’re working remotely or across the globe, from a single source of truth. It provides a way for teams to collaborate without the frustration of information barriers—and this reduces friction and creates a better working environment for everyone.

Create awareness check-ins

Prescriptive analytics tracks employee interactions with your most critical top-down internal communications. This way, you’ll know when to send them a gentle nudge to review the content, and they’ll know when there’s content that just can’t be missed!

Examples of prescriptive analytics

Now it’s time to translate how prescriptive analytics works in the real world. We’ve brought together a few examples across industry lines of how these analytics help power organizations.


Healthcare can be a little slow regarding the technological revolution; however, it is a prime example of an industry that needs it. Think of the amount of data healthcare processes daily. By connecting to an intranet with prescriptive analytics, organizations could streamline it for better results which benefit doctors and patients.

For example, consider all the data in a hospital, from patients and treatments to appointments, surgeries, and radiology. The insights from prescriptive analytics help with proper staffing in various hospitals or even floors within the same hospital. It also helps patients receive the special care they need quickly, without fear of missing contraindications or previous treatment histories, as it’s all connected in one place.

Additionally, this data could help save on medical supplies, transport costs, food, etc., as levels are monitored and understood via AI-powered algorithms designed to monitor the hospital’s exact specifications.


Prescriptive analytics fits most neatly into this category. After descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive data come in, using prescriptive analytics, sales can direct every step of the purchase path.

It helps the sales team:

  • Maximizing first-contact success rates
  • Identifying where customers are in the purchase path and how to best move them through the purchase funnel with precise offers
  • Enabling sales teams to be more effective at their job with federated search capabilities that capture every point of contact
  • Pinpointing employees who are taking the lead, as well as identifying those who need additional training to enhance their confidence and amplify sales expertise
  • Identifying where sales reps are losing their customers in the customer journey and identifying undiscovered pain points to recover lost leads and attract new ones

And then, prescriptive analytics can offer a different approach to getting employees back on track. There’s so much more that prescriptive analytics can help a sales team accomplish; these are just a few highlights.


With prescriptive analytics, colleges and universities can uncover the optimal way to enroll potential students. In addition, prescriptive analytics could reveal who is likely to register, what approach may get them through the doors, and even how to best support them on their educational journey. For example, some students want a campus tour; others seek scholarships—prescriptive analytics will help guide them.

And it can help with scheduling, ensuring the optimal mix of classes to accommodate a wide variety of students, and optimal staffing to teach the classes. It can also highlight a curriculum that no one is interested in, so the school doesn’t waste any more time and money on something that is just not working.

And housing seems always to be a concern as well. Prescriptive analytics could predict when and where to expand student housing options and if new living models make sense with an evolving and fluid population.

More industries could also benefit from prescriptive analytics, including banking, retail, and sports. It’s an exciting capability that creates possibilities for any category it touches. If you’re curious about how prescriptive analytics can help streamline your organization or revolutionize your offering while improving your workplace, reach out for a demo!