What is a Gap Analysis?
Wikipedia defines a gap analysis as something that involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance. According to Searchcio, a gap analysis is a method of assessing the differences in performance between a business’ information systems or software applications to determine whether business requirements are being met and, if not, what steps should be taken to ensure they are met successfully. Put more simply, Gap refers to the space between “where we are” (the present state) and “where we want to be” (the target state). A gap analysis may also be referred to as a needs analysis, needs assessment or need – gap analysis.
No matter how you define it, essentially it is looking at where you are and where you ideally want to be, the target.
Components of a Gap Analysis
In my mind and experience, there are three phases:
- Assessment – present state, where are we today
- Implementation – getting started
- Re-assessment – target state, what is the end goal
I will liken the process of a gap analysis to that of building a puzzle. Not a small puzzle like 10 pieces, but to that of 2,000 pieces, as those are the ones I like to build. Most gap analyses, in whatever industry it is applied (and I do it in healthcare), are typically complicated processes. As stated above in the definition, it starts with where you are and ends with where you want to be. In puzzle language it starts with the pieces and ends with the final picture/product:
Gap analysis is essentially building a Puzzle
Can you imagine taking 2,000 pieces and putting them together without knowing what the final picture is? It reminds me of an old expression that has to do with goal setting. “If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know when you get there” (Author unknown). Usually, with a process, the end point to achieve is a best practice.
There are many ways to build a puzzle, how to start, and, three come to mind:
- Put the edges together first, the outline – Most common method
- Put all of the pieces out on the table face up – Least common and most difficult in my opinion
- Build sections at a time and then assimilate into the big picture – Best way to get started, again in my opinion
Keep in mind…
Throughout the entire process there is one thought that must persist throughout, to get to the final picture – what are and where are the missing pieces?
How will YOU perform your next gap analysis????
If you are interested in more information contact me
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