We make predictions and act on them all the time. I predict that if I jump into the path of a moving bus, I will be hurt – so I won't jump. I'd conclude that my prediction had been in alignment with my goals, but if I had to, I could only prove it by using the laws of physics or examples of other people's encounters with moving buses.

If done well, predictive analytics help companies avoid business situations analogous to being struck by a bus. Business situations, however, are usually less dramatic and much more nuanced than avoiding a moving vehicle. And, unlike the bus, a company will often not even know there was a situation worth avoiding.

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