By Dorothy Ball,
Four Thought Group
This article describes how to use gap analysis in Business Process Improvement (BPI) strategies, relating the method to Health Care organizations. In this summary, I have attempted to relate the gap analysis process, as the author uses it, to the intelligence field - identifying and overcoming intelligence gaps.
Dorothy Ball, a senior policy and business consultant at Four Thought Group, Inc., states that gap analysis is an effective solution for businesses and organizations that have a service orientation (which includes for-profits, non-profits, and government agencies). To paraphrase, gap analysis is a method for an organization to improve performance or make gains by identifying the potential needs for that organization to move from where they are (or what intelligence you have) to where they want to be (or what intelligence is still needed). Ball describes gap analysis as a method to develop a roadmap that gets you from “where you are now (As Is) to where you want to be (To Be).”
- Identify what your organization looks like now (or what intelligence/information you currently have available) and what you want your organization to look like (or what intelligence/information you desire). Needs for improvement (more intelligence) is often indicated by changes such as policy, resources, environment (or events that spark inquiry). Changes may be event-driven, or ongoing.
- Understand the Business Process (or collection process). Ball describes the business process as “a collection of related, structured activities, or chain of business functions, activities and tasks, that produce each specific service or product… Each business process consists of inputs, method, and outputs. The inputs are required before the method can be put into practice to achieve the outcome. When the method is applied to the inputs then certain outputs will be created.”
- Use comparative analysis techniques to identify what is needed to get you from where you are (the Intel you have) to where you want to be (the Intel desired). Examination of the current process, and the modeling of the new process, may be necessary in order to discover the interrelationships/interconnectedness of how the current process can get you the desired results.
- Create a plan for implementation.