Gap Analysis: Process & Documentation

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Are you trying to figure out how to get where you want to be from where you currently are? A gap analysis may be the answer. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the gap analysis process and how to document the journey.

Making a Plan

The New Year is coming, and you're making plans for things you want to accomplish. One of your goals is to get in better shape and complete your first marathon. In order to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to take a hard look at your future plans and your current situation and figure out ways to bridge the gap. Perhaps that includes weekly sessions with a personal trainer, walking on your lunch break, or altering your diet. Analyzing how you can meet the objectives you set for yourself can help you create a plan to reach your goal successfully.

In a business setting, there is a similar process for looking at your current state, determining future objectives, and then identifying actions required to get from point A to point B. This process is called a gap analysis.

What is Gap Analysis?

Imagine you want to expand your chain of pizza storefronts into five new geographic areas. This won't happen in one day by simply waking up, purchasing new buildings and turning on the 'Open For Business' sign. There are multiple steps in between that must be completed to help turn future plans into actionable goals. A gap analysis can be a useful tool for helping a business navigate to where they want to be.

Gap analysis, defined, is a plan for bridging the distance between a current situation and a future state. In it you can compare current business performance against desired performance and then figure out a plan to bridge the gap between the two.

A gap analysis might help in any of the following situations:

  • A call center that wants to move from a five-minute resolution rate to a two-minute resolution rate
  • A customer service desk that wants to decrease its returns from ten per day to three per day
  • A salesperson who wants to move from a $5,000 goal to a $10,000 goal
  • An e-commerce business that wants to increase its web visitors from 50 per day to 150 per day

A gap analysis, sometimes also referred to as a needs analysis or needs assessment, consists of three distinct parts:

1. An examination of current business performance (including staffing, abilities, and attributes)

2. A future plan (something you want to achieve, a new process you want to implement)

3. The gap (what are the roadblocks to getting to your future plan and how will you surpass them)

Process and Documentation

Building a gap analysis for your business does not have to be a daunting process. Follow this simple formula and you can start planning for future improvements or changes easily

1. Develop future objectives. What is your goal? Do you have a plan for something you'd like to accomplish? Maybe it's expanding your e-commerce business or implementing a new business process in your existing stores. Set a goal or objective you'd like to work toward in the future.

Example: Triple Z Sleep Store wants to grow its online presence by 25 percent next year.

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