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The basis of gap analysis is this-we look at the current status, i.e., where we are and then compare it to where we want to be, and try finding ways to reach the goal. In simple terms, we basically try to bridge the gap. According to Wikipedia, Gap analysis identifies gaps between the optimized allocation and integration of the inputs (resources), and the current allocation-level. When an organization is not able to, or does not make the best use of its current resources, or forgoes investment in capital or technology, it may lead to performance that is below its potential.

This analysis helps in revealing shortcomings in an organizations’ working. Gap analysis involves determining, documenting, and improving the difference between business requirements and current capabilities. Gap analysis naturally flows from benchmarking and from other assessments. Once the general expectation of performance in an industry is understood, it is possible to compare that expectation with the company’s current level of performance. This comparison becomes the gap analysis. Such analysis can be performed at the strategic or at the operational level of an organization.

It can be conducted, in different perspectives, as follows:

  1. Organization(e.g., Human Resources)
  2. Business direction
  3. Business processes
  4. Information technology

The need for new products or additions to existing lines may emerge from portfolio analysis, in particular from the use of the Boston Consulting Group Growth-share matrix—or the need may emerge from the regular process of following trends in the requirements of consumers. At some point, a gap emerges between what existing products offer and what the consumer demands. The organization must fill that gap to survive and grow.

Gap analysis can identify gaps in the market. Thus, comparing forecast profits to desired profits reveals the planning gap. This represents a goal for new activities in general, and new products in particular.

It is commonly used for-

Project planning

Project appraisals

Marketing

Strategy development

The process of gap analysis includes-

  1. Describing the area under the consideration
  2. Identifying the improvement areas
  3. Determining the targets
  4. Describing the improvement steps
  5. Implement and review

For example, 5% of the staff is trained to use a particular software, but the goal is to make sure that at least 40% of the staff is trained appropriately. So, the improvement steps or measures to be taken would be to employ skilled personnel to train the staff over a certain period of time as well as making sure that there are enough devices in place for the staff to learn and use the software.

While evaluating results, we get qualitative proof of whether the goals have been achieved or not. In this case, the technical prowess of each individual can be measured on a scale on poor to excellent with marks being awarded for each category.

Also, various illustrations and graphs can be used to show the gradual improvement over the stipulated time period. Forecasts can also be used to predicts future performances. Further, you can identify gaps between the forecast and your targets. It is also important to review your progress at every step.

Manual gap analysis may be cumbersome since there is a need for constant vigil and tracking. Which is where software tools like VComply can prove to be helpful. VComply keeps track of your organization’s performance and hence lets the organization identify gaps easily and efficiently leading to better fulfilling of goals in the long run.

 

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