What is it?

Gap analysis is a management technique used to compare actual performance with potential or desired performance, helping organizations identify discrepancies and areas for improvement. It assesses whether an organization is making optimal use of its resources and whether it’s meeting its objectives.

Key aspects of gap analysis include:

  1. Current State vs. Ideal State: Gap analysis involves comparing an organization’s current state, which represents its existing performance, with its ideal state, which signifies the desired or potential performance.
  2. Business Goals: It helps organizations determine how to achieve their business goals by highlighting gaps between where they are and where they want to be.
  3. Performance Assessment: Gap analysis evaluates various aspects such as processes, strategies, technologies, and skills to identify suboptimal or missing elements.
  4. Strategic Planning: It plays a crucial role in strategic planning, enabling organizations to prioritize and implement changes to bridge the identified gaps.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Gap analysis is an iterative process, fostering continuous improvement as organizations work towards narrowing the identified gaps.

How does it work?

Gap analysis is a strategic planning and management technique used to assess the difference (or gap) between an organization’s current state or performance and its desired or ideal state. It helps identify areas that need improvement and guides decision-making to bridge those gaps. Here’s how it works:

  1. Define Objectives and Goals: Start by clearly defining the objectives and goals you want to achieve. These can be related to business growth, performance improvement, efficiency enhancement, or any other aspect of your organization.
  2. Assess Current State: Evaluate your organization’s current state, including processes, resources, capabilities, and performance metrics. Gather data and information that reflect the current situation accurately.
  3. Determine the Ideal State: Define what the ideal or desired state looks like. This represents the optimal or target condition you want to achieve. It’s a clear picture of what success looks like in the context of your goals.
  4. Identify Gaps: Compare the current state with the ideal state. Identify gaps or discrepancies in various aspects, such as processes, skills, technology, resources, and performance metrics. These gaps are areas where improvements are needed.
  5. Prioritize Gaps: Not all gaps are of equal importance. Prioritize the identified gaps based on their impact on achieving your objectives and goals. Some gaps may be critical, while others may have a lower priority.
  6. Develop Action Plans: For each prioritized gap, create action plans outlining the specific steps, resources, and timelines required to bridge the gap. These plans should be actionable and measurable.
  7. Implementation: Execute the action plans systematically. Allocate resources, monitor progress, and ensure that the necessary changes are being made to address the identified gaps.
  8. Measure and Monitor: Continuously measure and monitor your organization’s progress toward closing the gaps. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track improvements.
  9. Review and Adjust: Periodically review the effectiveness of your gap-closing initiatives. If necessary, make adjustments to the action plans based on new data or changing circumstances.
  10. Iterate: Gap analysis is an ongoing process. As you make improvements and reach certain goals, you may set new objectives and repeat the gap analysis cycle to continuously improve your organization.

Gap analysis is a valuable tool for strategic planning, process improvement, and decision-making, as it helps organizations focus their efforts on areas that will have the most significant impact on achieving their objectives. It provides a structured approach to aligning current performance with future goals.


Let’s use a chocolate shop as an example to explain how gap analysis works:

Scenario: Imagine you own a chocolate shop, and you want to improve your business operations and customer satisfaction. Here’s how gap analysis would work in this context:

  1. Define Objectives and Goals:
    • Objective: Increase customer satisfaction and revenue.
    • Goal: Improve chocolate delivery service.
  2. Assess Current State:
    • Evaluate your current chocolate delivery service, including delivery times, order accuracy, and customer feedback.
    • Collect data on delivery times, customer complaints, and order accuracy rates.
  3. Determine the Ideal State:
    • Ideal State: Deliver chocolates within 30 minutes of order placement, achieve a 99% order accuracy rate, and receive consistently positive customer feedback.
  4. Identify Gaps:
    • Gap 1: Average delivery time is 45 minutes, exceeding the ideal of 30 minutes.
    • Gap 2: Order accuracy rate is 85%, falling short of the 99% ideal.
    • Gap 3: Customer feedback shows frequent complaints about late deliveries and incorrect orders.
  5. Prioritize Gaps:
    • Prioritize Gap 1 (delivery time) as it has the most significant impact on customer satisfaction and revenue.
  6. Develop Action Plans:
    • Action Plan for Gap 1:
      • Hire more delivery drivers.
      • Optimize delivery routes.
      • Implement a real-time tracking system for orders.
  7. Implementation:
    • Hire additional drivers and train them.
    • Implement the real-time tracking system.
    • Continuously optimize delivery routes.
  8. Measure and Monitor:
    • Track delivery times and order accuracy rates.
    • Use customer feedback and online reviews to monitor improvements.
  9. Review and Adjust:
    • Regularly review the data and customer feedback to assess progress.
    • Adjust the action plan as needed based on performance data.
  10. Iterate:
    • Once you achieve the 30-minute delivery time goal, set new objectives (e.g., reduce delivery costs) and repeat the gap analysis process.

By using gap analysis in this chocolate shop example, you can systematically identify areas where your current performance falls short of your goals, prioritize improvements, and implement changes that align your business with your desired outcomes, leading to increased customer satisfaction and revenue.