Forecasting (Predictive Analysis) is the process of predicting, estimating, or extrapolating values into the future based on historical data. It is a critical part of strategic and operational planning. In a business setting, this includes the study and analysis of historical market data to predict business trends for the future. When the result of an action is of consequence but cannot be known in advance with precision, forecasting may reduce the risk by supplying additional information about possible outcomes. Forecasting plans find application in many different areas and functions of the enterprise.