Friday, September 8, 2017

Gap Analysis: A Simple Tool For Achieving Your Business Goals By Ott Niggulis

Written by Oddinigwe Onyemenem

According to the author, gap analysis addresses two questions in relation to the present state “where are we” and the target state “where we want to be” of a business. Gap analysis has various names used to describe it; however, its core principle is to find solutions to problems that are holding back a business. The process of conducting a gap analysis relies on the objectives of the business embarking on it.  The process involves comparing current/actual performance with planned and/or desired performance. Furthermore, a gap analysis can be performed by evaluating results in comparison to industry averages to find gaps in performance relative to competition. Niggulis points out the tendency to attempt to close every identified performance gap which will be a mistake. He suggests prioritizing the gap by focusing on the gap that has the most immediate impact on the business.

The article identifies three main steps for conducting a gap analysis which is prefaced by identifying the area of focus for the analysis. The first step is identifying the current and future states which involve taking an in depth look at where the present business results and/or performance and the most desired result and/or performance. The second step involves identifying and describing the gap. Niggulis suggests using the “five-whys analysis” tool to narrow down the possible causes of the identified gap. The third step is bridging the gap. It is important to note that there may be costs involved in implementing the necessary steps to close the identified gap. A properly executed gap analysis gives a business the ability to identify problems, the causes of the problems, and possible solutions to go from the present state to the target state. 

Niggulis explains gap analysis in a clear and concise manner. The identified steps are easily practicable for any business size. The article focuses on the main objective of a gap analysis, which is to get a business from where it is to where it wants or can be. Gap analysis provides an objective overview of the state of a business for decision makers. There is no concern for bias and it helps to uncover underlying issues that exist.  In examining the areas of focus, it is important to remain consistent and avoid straying into areas that are out of scope.

The article fails to address any complexities that may be encountered by a business in conducting the gap analysis. In a situation where the implementation costs to bridge the gap for a business is way beyond the financial or human capabilities of the business, will the business shift its focus to less expensive gaps which will in turn result in less impact for the business or abandon the process? Some insights relating to such complexities that may arise will be beneficial to address.  Overall, the article provides easy-to-follow steps and explanations about conducting a gap analysis for a business.



  1. This is a good concise description of gap analysis. The steps provided help understand how to use it. I agree that gap analysis provides an objective overview of the state of business for decision makers. It does seem that when using gap analysis bias does not come into play at all. It can be a very effective methodology for any business to use.

  2. In my opinion, this article was an easy read and it provided simple explanations to help conduct Gap Analysis. One thing I found interesting was the technique of the “5 Ways”. I find this process very helpful to help root out the problem or the gap. It helps brainstorm the problem and helps you think outside the box. However, this technique is limited to the knowledge and persistence of the problem. Despite having its setback, I still think it’s a useful technique to help identify the problem within the gaps.

  3. It is all too common that these cursory studies do nothing to dig deeper into the real meat of the issues. 'Why?' is an important question but not explaining 'How?' or 'What if?' makes this study no more helpful than wikipedia.

  4. "will the business shift its focus to less expensive gaps which will in turn result in less impact for the business or abandon the process?" This brings out important question in gap analysis. How do you prioritize this gap. Would a gap which is less expensive gets higher priority over an expensive crucial one, as the budget is not favorable. This is pretty much true in medical industry where old operating system are running, which are susceptible for cyber threat.

  5. The author makes a good point emphasizing that attempting to bridge every identified performance gap is a mistake. The study that I looked at expressed the same view. Organizations must prioritize gaps by examining and focusing on which gaps will have the biggest impact. Due to financial costs and other constraints, it is often unrealistic for a business to attempt to close every identified gap, at least in the short term. I share your concern with regards to the implementation costs of closing gaps for businesses. In this situation, businesses likely assess their current capabilities, and then perform a cost-benefit analysis of closing a particular gap.

  6. Gap analysis can be performed easily and fast with gap analysis templates. SWOT & Gap are analysis’s that’s done manually. Find these helpful gap analysis templates to be used freely. They can be used to create gap analysis diagrams for using in business documentations and presentations.

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  8. In management literature, gap analysis gap analysis templates involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance.