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Facilities Analytics: Why Should Facilities Managers Care About Descriptive, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics?

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics may sound alike, but they are different types of facilities analytics with different implications.

The rise of smart building technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) represent two of the greatest opportunities for better efficiency and cost reductions in facilities management. Rather than making hunch-based decisions and worrying about uncertainty, facilities managers can leverage the power of facilities analytics and business intelligence, as explained by Siddarth Shetty of Service Channel, to understand what is happening, likely to happen, and how to resolve. In other words, you can understand more about the facility through descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics. However, first, facilities managers need to understand the key differences.

What Exactly Do the Different Facilities Analytics Mean?

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics reflect definitions like their names imply. Broadly, their differences are as follows:

  • Descriptive analytics describe what happened in your facility.
  • Predictive analytics describe what might happen in your facility.
  • Prescriptive analytics describe what is the best solution or outcome for your facility

Facilities Analytics Enable Insights

Keeping the broad descriptions in mind, consider how each type of Facilities Analytics enables insights into the collection and use of data in your facility. Descriptive analytics provide a way of understanding your current operation, including its to-date costs and definitive total cost ownership. Also, most facilities managers using analytics are heavily involved in the use of descriptive analytics, explains Nitin Bangera of Facility Executive, but that does not necessarily translate into the use of predictive analytics.

Facilities Analytics Build Upon One Another

Facilities managers may also want to use predictive analytics, but fail to understand how current operations have led to today’s state. In other words, facilities managers can only successfully begin to think about what might happen by understanding happened thus far. Building automation can be used to simplify data capture, but the benefits of data capture could only be realized by considering what might happen if current operations continue or change course. Also, knowing something may happen is not enough. Predictive analytics must consider the myriad factors that may contribute to a possible occurrence. This is a probabilistic relationship, and predictive analytics place a numeric value, reflecting the statistical likelihood of occurrence, on risks and opportunities in your facility.

Prescriptive Analytics Leverage Predictive Analytics to Enact Change

After understanding what might happen, your organization still needs to know how to ensure opportunities become success and risks are successfully mitigated, if not eliminated. In other words, prescriptive analytics review predictive analytics’ possibilities and determine which outcome is best-suited for your business. Also, prescriptive analytics define what changes or adjustments are necessary to arrive at the best solution. This may include identifying anomalies, estimating facility and asset deterioration, simulating risks and opportunities and acting as a data source for making fact-based decisions. Ultimately, prescriptive analytics lead to better management of your facility and greater efficiency in your operational needs.

Facilities Analytics Are Key to a 360° View of Facility Management

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics is a continuous cycle, enabling continuous improvement and refinement of your existing facility management operation. Facilities managers need to understand their key differences and relationship to drive continued efficiency and take advantage of modern facilities management technology.