Esta técnica consiste en observar y tomar conciencia de la distancia, o diferencia excesiva, que existe entre dos o varios elementos relacionados entre sí, y ver de qué forma podemos zanjar esa diferencia de la forma más eficiente y eficaz posible. Entre muchas otras cosas, este ejercicio implica poder reflexionar acerca de dónde venimos, para conocer nuestra historia; saber dónde estamos hoy, con el fin de realizar un diagnóstico; decidir hacia dónde vamos, para definir el medio externo futuro en el que nos vamos a encontrar inmersos en el futuro; a dónde nos gustaría ir, para fijar nuestros objetivos; a dónde podemos ir, para conocer nuestras capacidades disponibles; qué es aquello que tenemos por hacer, para descubrir la brecha entre lo que queremos y lo que podemos; y qué deberíamos hacer y cómo, para seleccionar nuestros futuros planes de acción.
“¿De dónde venimos?” ® Reconstruir la historia
“¿Dónde estamos hoy?” ® Realizar un diagnóstico
“¿Hacia dónde vamos?” ® Definir el medio externo futuro
“¿Adónde queremos ir?” ® Fijar objetivos
“¿Adónde podemos ir?” ® Revelar capacidades disponibles
“¿Qué tenemos por hacer?” ® Establecer la brecha
“¿Qué deberíamos hacer?” ® Definir la estrategia
“¿Cómo podemos hacerlo?” ® Selección de los planes de acción
¿Cuál es la diferencia entre análisis GAP y auditoría interna?
Una de las principales diferencias entre un análisis GAP y una auditoría interna es que el análisis de brechas se suele realizar antes de la implantación de las medidas. Por su parte, la auditoría interna se suele realizar para evaluar la implantación de dichas medidas. Es decir, la aplicación de estándares de calidad o estrategias comienza con el análisis GAP y termina con la auditoría interna.
Por otro lado, el análisis GAP se centra en detectar lagunas, deficiencias, brechas o aspectos mejorables del negocio. Sin embargo, este es solo uno de los objetivos de las auditorías internas. Las auditorías van más allá y también resaltan el cumplimiento de objetivos, la identificación de oportunidades y reflejan todo tipo de observaciones sobre empleados, productos, procesos, etc.
Beneficios de un GAP análisis
Los análisis GAP suponen una importante inversión, pero a su vez, son una herramienta muy poderosa para conocer el estado de la empresa o identificar sus puntos débiles. Algunas de las ventajas que ofrecen son las siguientes:
- Permite evaluar la situación actual de la empresa y detectar aquellos fallos o deficiencias que impiden llegar al estado objetivo o deseado.
- Puede ser utilizado en diversas áreas de la empresa: comercial, organización, seguridad, logística, etc.
- Identifica los riesgos asociados a los procesos realizados en la empresa.
- Determina las necesidades de la empresa para subsanar sus deficiencias y adaptarse a los estándares que marca la legislación o el mercado.
- Crea una base sólida que permite iniciar una planificación eficiente para alcanzar las metas propuestas.
Cómo hacer un GAP análisis
Un análisis GAP se realiza en cuatro fases:
- Analizar la situación actual de la empresa. Por ejemplo, en caso de un departamento comercial se podría hablar del número de productos vendidos, los ingresos generados o el beneficio obtenido.
- Definir la situación deseable. Al hilo del punto anterior, se trataría de determinar los productos que se espera vender, los ingresos que se pretende generar o los beneficios que se espera obtener.
- Determinar la brecha. Se comparan los datos de la situación actual con la situación deseable, y se detectan aquellas áreas en las que no se han obtenido los resultados esperados.
- Solucionar la brecha. El último paso consiste en analizar las razones que han llevado a no conseguir los objetivos y se ponen en marcha los procesos o estrategias encaminados a subsanar esas carencias o deficiencias.
A priori, los pasos a realizar son sencillos, pero lo realmente difícil es hacer todo el proceso de manera eficaz, detectando todos los aspectos a mejorar y proponiendo soluciones útiles y eficaces.
Más información acerca de cómo realizar un GAP Analysis a nivel externo
In management literature, gap analysis involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance. If an organization does not make the best use of current resources, or forgoes investment in capital or technology, it may produce or perform below an idealized potential. This concept is similar to an economy's production being below the production possibilities frontier.
Gap analysis identifies gaps between the optimized allocation and integration of the inputs (resources), and the current allocation-level. This reveals areas that can be improved. 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.
How to conduct a gap analysis
The first step in conducting a gap analysis is to establish specific target objectives by looking at the company's mission statement, strategic goals and improvement objectives. The next step is to analyze current business processes by collecting relevant data on performance levels and how resources are presently allocated to these processes. This data can be collected from a variety of sources depending on what's being analyzed, such as by looking at documentation, conducting interviews, brainstorming and observing project activities. Lastly, after a company compares its target goals against its current state, it can then draw up a comprehensive plan that outlines specific steps to take to fill the gap between its current and future states, and reach its target objectives.
What's in a gap analysis template?
While a gap analysis can be either concrete or conceptual, gap analysis templates often have in common the following fundamental components:
Identifying the current and future states
Current state: A gap analysis template starts off with a column that might be labeled "Current State," which lists the processes and characteristics an organization seeks to improve, using factual and specific terms. Areas of focus can be broad, targeting the entire business; the focus instead may be narrow, concentrating on a specific business process, depending on the company's outlined target objectives. The analysis of these focus areas can be either quantitative, such as looking at the number of customer calls answered within a certain time period; or qualitative, such as examining the state of diversity in the workplace.
Future state: The gap analysis report should also include a column labeled "Future State," which outlines the target condition the company wants to achieve. Like the current state, this section can be drafted in concrete, quantifiable terms, such as aiming to increase the number of fielded customer calls by a certain percentage within a specific time period; or in general terms, such as working toward a more inclusive office culture.
Describing the gap
Gap description: This column should first identify whether a gap exists between a company's current and future state. If so, the gap description should then outline what constitutes the gap and the factors that contribute to it. This column lists those reasons in objective, clear and specific terms. Like the state descriptions, these components can either be quantifiable, such as a lack of workplace diversity programs; or qualitative, such as the difference between the number of currently fielded calls and the target number of fielded calls.
Bridging the gap
Next steps and proposals: This final column of a gap analysis report should list all the possible solutions that can be implemented to fill the gap between the current and future states. These objectives must be specific, directly speak to the factors listed in the gap description above, and be put in active and compelling terms. Some examples of next steps include hiring a certain number of additional employees to field customer calls; instituting a call volume reporting system to guarantee that there are enough employees to field calls; and launching specific office diversity programs and resources.
GAP Analisys’ dilemma – Case study
It’s an age-old business dilemma: You want to grow your business, but aren’t sure where or how to allocate resources to make it happen. Sound familiar? If so, you may need to conduct a gap analysis.
A gap analysis is an examination and assessment of your current performance for the purpose of identifying the differences between your current state of business and where you’d like to be.
It can be boiled down into a few questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we wish we were?
- How are we going to close the gap?
Conducting a gap analysis can help you improve your business efficiency, your product, and your profitability by allowing you to pinpoint “gaps” present in your company. Once it’s complete, you’ll be able to better focus your resources and energy on those identified areas in order to improve them.
A gap analysis template visualizes the difference between reality and target for your organization, making it easy to show employees where there is still room to grow. In our discussion around the gap analysis template below, we’ll talk specifically about how a gap analysis can be used within a department; it can also be used for your entire business or for a single process. The four steps outlined in the template below will help ensure you know precisely what issues you’re facing and how to go about fixing them.
Gap Analysis Template: 4 Steps to Completion
- Identify the current state of your department.
This may sound overwhelming, but bear with me. Do you have a strategic plan or a Balanced Scorecard? First, identify the priority of that plan or scorecard. For example, let’s say your banking organization wants to increase growth by 30% a year and has been growing at 8% per year.
That puts your “current state” at 8% growth. Or, perhaps you work for a manufacturing organization that is producing revenue of $180,000 per employee, and your goal is to grow that to $250,000 per employee. That would put your current state at $180,000 per employee.
Keep in mind, your current state doesn’t have to be financial. If your nonprofit currently serves 10,000 meals a week to the homeless, that is your current state. Or, if you work for a municipal government, you might have 200 public safety incidents per 100,000 citizens per year—another example of current state.
You are likely now thinking, “We have a lot of current states!” And you’re probably right! You can actually run a gap analysis on each one.
For the purposes of this article, try to stick with the current state that best represents your entire department.
- Identify where you want to be with your department.
This future goal is sometimes called a desired state, future target, or stretch goal. In order to accomplish this, you’ll want to think about how you are doing today in your current state (from step one) and where you really want to be within a reasonable timeframe.
If you are doing a gap analysis within the context of your strategic plan, take a look at the targets on your plan. These targets may be three to five years out, which is ideal. Where are you with them? To answer that, go back to your current state areas of focus.
- Future state for your bank: 30%.
- Future state for your manufacturing organization: $250,000 in revenue per person.
- Future state for your nonprofit: 20,000 meals per week.
- Future state for your municipality: 100 safety incidents per 100,000 citizens per year.
You could even chart it out and see a clear representation of the current state and the future state.
You could even chart it out and see a clear representation of the current state and the future state.
Identify the gaps in your department.
Now that you’ve recognized where your organization is currently and where you want it to be in the future, it’s time to bridge the gap.
Take a look at the chart above; the “gap” is the gray shaded area, which demonstrates the difference between where you are and where you want to be. When identifying gaps in your department, you need to ensure that your goal and your current state exist in the same time period. So if your future goal is three years out, you need to extrapolate your current state out for three years to see the appropriate gap. For example, if you’re growing at 8% and you want to be growing at 30% a year for three years, you’ll want to consider how much revenue you have currently and how much you’ll have in 3 years at your current pace. If you currently have $100 in revenue, you would be at almost $220 with 30% growth in three years, and $126 with 8% growth in the same time period. So, your gap is $94.
Some organizations do not project out three years. Instead, they may say they wish their soup kitchen was serving 25,000 meals today instead of 10,000 meals. Therefore, their gap is 15,000 meals.
This is a great time to figure out why there is a gap.
- Be specific about the gap. For example, if your revenue per employee is $70,000 less than you planned, why is that? Is there some issue with the way you work, with customers, or with your prices?
- Dig deeper and determine why this gap has occurred. Do this by asking questions—and questioning the answers to those questions—until the root causes of the gap become clear. You may have heard about asking “five whys”; below is an example:
- “Why are customers so difficult to work with?” Because they want something custom.
- “Why do they want custom work?” Because they are dealing with a different problem than our company imagined.
- “Why didn’t we imagine the problem the customer is facing?” Because we started out in the healthcare industry and now most of our customers are in the banking industry.
- “Why haven’t we built a product for the banking industry?” Because our product development team isn’t thinking about new product offerings.
- “Why aren’t we thinking about new product offerings?” Because we are too busy building custom products.
Devise improvements to close the gaps in your department.
Now that you’ve discovered why the gap in your department is taking place, it’s time to figure out the proper course of action to close it. Use the following guidelines to ensure the improvements you come up with are solid:
o Base all improvements on the information you discovered while identifying the gaps. For example, if your team is too busy doing custom work, it will be difficult for them to step back and devise a new product offering. Perhaps if you stop taking on custom work for a few weeks, that will free up your team to create a scalable product for your new target clients.
o Consider the cost of implementation for each solution. Perhaps you don’t have the capability to stop working with your current customers. Can you outsource the development of a new offering? Maybe partner with another organization?
o Identify end dates when you’d like to have the gaps resolved. Without setting an end date for improving the customer experience, it may end up being overlooked or ignored. Set a completion date—even if it is years in the future—and then set milestones to ensure success.
Don’t leave your gap analysis on the shelf to collect dust!
Two final pieces of advice! First, once you’ve worked through this gap analysis template and created your own, be sure to follow up on the improvements. Otherwise, there’s a real risk that the solutions you’ve so carefully engineered will fall through the cracks.
Also, be careful about trying to close too many gaps at once. Sometimes they are all related and it’s easy to do so, but other times, you may end up putting too much stress on the organization and find that no gaps are being closed. A gap analysis can also be complemented by other strategic planning frameworks, including a SWOT Analysis. Using these tools together will help set your organization up for success far into the future.
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