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Gap analysis

posted Apr 7, 2013, 7:57 PM by Jageshwar Tripathi   [ updated Aug 11, 2014, 12:53 PM ]
GAP analysis identifies difference between current state and optimal or ideal state. It is a comparison between current capabilities and potential capabilities. Simple form of Gap analysis is also known as need-gap analysis, need analysis or need assessment. Using gap analysis shortcomings in planning, production, architecture or IT systems can be identified.

In case of an architect doing GAP analysis often he compares a gap between "to-be" and "as is" state of companies architecture with respect to strategic goals or objectives of the company. Gap analysis can show that your software systems, infrastructure or network is not sufficient to meet your company's present requirements and future objectives.

How to perform GAP analysis

Define Objectives

Identify the objectives you want to achieve. In case of GAP analysis for a business, its strategic goals or objectives are considered. In case of GAP analysis of a software systems or architecture objectives of that system should be kept in mind but it is important to understand that your architecture should align with business strategy of the organization so strategic goals of the organization are important for GAP analysis of an IT system/architecture too.

As-Is (current state)

Identify what you have in your organization or IT ecosystem considering objectives or goals (to fulfill the goals).

To-Be (ideal state)

Identify what is needed in your infrastructure or architecture to achieve objectives identified above. For example if business is going to grow by 50% in next one year or company is going to launch a new product online consider that new users would require more resources of your IT system and your IT systems should be prepared for online challenges. You may require an eCommerce solution or content management system or even on-demand infrastructure.

Identify the GAP

Look at as-is and to-be and find out the gaps.

 Strategic Objectives
What is needed in architecture
Current standing
 Actions needed to fill the gap

SWOT analysis versus GAP analysis

Both are used to analyze business (or product/solution in case an architect is using them for evaluating a product or solution) but they look at different aspects of the business.

  • SWOT analysis focuses on analyzing competition, how one company (or product/solution) is as compared it its peers/competitors. GAP analysis is focused on what is missing with respect to objectives.
  • SWOT analysis is often done for long term planning (ion case of business or company), GAP analysis is done for short term objectives.
  • SWOT analysis covers many aspects of an organization and its environment while GAP analysis may focus on very specific area or process.

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