Azure innovation guide: Predict and influence

Predict and influence

As an innovator, your company has insights into the data, behavior, and needs of its customer base. Studying those insights can aid in predicting your customers' needs, possibly before your customers themselves are aware of those needs. This article introduces a few approaches to delivering predictive solutions. In the final sections, the article introduces approaches to integrating the predictions back into your solution to influence customer behaviors.

The following table can help you find the best solution, based on your implementation needs.

Service Prebuilt models Build and experiment Train and build with Python Required skills
Azure Cognitive Services Yes No No API and developer skills
Azure Machine Learning Studio Yes Yes No General understanding of predictive algorithms
Azure Machine Learning service Yes Yes Yes Data scientist

The fastest and easiest path to predicting customer needs is Azure Cognitive Services. Cognitive Services allows predictions to be made based on existing models, which require no additional training. These services are optimal, and effective when you have no data scientist on staff to train the predictive model. For some services, no training is required. Other services require only minimal training.

For a list of available services and the amount of training that might be required, see Cognitive Services and machine learning.


To use a Cognitive Services API:

  1. In the Azure portal, go to Cognitive Services.
  2. Select Add to find a Cognitive Services API in Azure Marketplace.
  3. Do either of the following:
    • If you know the name of the service you want to use, enter the name in the Search the Marketplace box.
    • For a list of Cognitive Services APIs, select the See More link next to the Cognitive Services heading.

Go directly to Cognitive Services in the Azure portal.