Before commencing on a project, or business, it is always necessary that you come up with a conceptual work plan objectives and ambitions. Earlier planning helps in the execution of the project to the rightful direction. However, due to some external forces, the thing might not work as earlier planned. Understanding whether or not your project is on the rightful track is as important as good. Therefore, if you need more insight on your project progress, you will have to conduct a data gap analysis.
How can we define Data Gap Analysis?
In its simplest definition, a data gap analysis refers to a tool used by businesspeople or project managers to compare their actual performance against what was earlier expected or desired. It is beneficial as it helps identify some of the strategies, structures, processes, technologies, skills, or practices that are missing in the current implementation. Also, through such comparison, the managers are able to determine what they need to adjust to make their performance better. A data gap analysis tends to respond to the following broad questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we wish to be now?
- How are we going to reach where we wish to be?
In an attempt to respond to the above questions, companies find themselves improving their efficiency and profitability. Also, the above questions help improve your focus as a company by concentrating all your energy and resources on areas that need improvement.
The purpose of Data Gap Analysis
The primary purpose of DGA is to improve project efficiency. Through data analysis, a company gets in a better position to understand its operations. Besides, it identifies the missing data that would otherwise cause inefficiencies.
Secondly, a data gap analysis helps identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Plus, it helps the stakeholders to formulate better strategies for solving the identified vulnerabilities.
Tools for Data Gap Analysis
- SWOT Analysis
- McKinsey 7S
- Nadler Tushman and
- Burker-Litwin Causal Model
What are the benefits of doing a Data Gap Analysis?
There are several benefits associated with a data gap analysis. For instance:
- A Data Gap Analysis helps an individual, group, company, or organization find shortcomings and how to overcome them.
- Also, a Data Gap Analysis helps improve the efficiency of the business by pinpointing any unusual or inappropriate activities.
- Doing a Data Gap Analysis provides you with a clear overview of the entire business. This helps you know whether the organization has enough resources to meet its operations without strain.
- Data Gap Analysis provides you with a path that an organization can take for operational improvement.
- Data Gap Analysis can result in the creation of SWOT analysis as a way of strengthening the company.
When should you use the Data Gap Analysis?
Data Gap Analysis can be used on a number of occasions. Here are some of them:
- Product launching- when new products are introduced into the market, and the sales aren’t going as expected, companies can do a Data Gap Analysis to determine what went wrong.
- Product evaluation: In cases where a company’s production isn’t meeting customer demands, a Data Gap Analysis can be done to assess the situation.
- Supply management: a Data Gap Analysis can be used to identify frequent shortages of supplies in an organization.
- Sales performance: Data Gap Analysis can be sued to know which products are not selling and why.
- Also, when checking a product portfolio, a Data Gap Analysis can be used to find new sales opportunities, i.e., to identify new products to sell.
How to develop a comprehensive Data Gap Analysis
There are a lot of factors that can hinder a business from reaching its maximum potential output or production. Therefore if you want to identify and rectify these factors, you should always develop an exhaustive Data Gap Analysis. If you don’t know where to start, here is a step by step guide that will help you through.
Step 1: identify your current state
Every Data Gap Analysis should start with self-analysis. Therefore, in your template, you should start with your current state before moving to something else. The moment you can understand where you are, you will always be in a position to come up with more realistic action plans. Therefore, list down all the features you would want to improve. Remember, always be factual and specific enough when identifying your weaknesses. For instance, you may want to know why your company is declining in sales each year. In such cases, you should formulate your goals, such as –to identify causes that contribute to reduced sales.’ Remember, when formulating your goals, they should always be precise, clear, and realistic.
Step 2: Identify your future state
Once you’ve noted your current state alongside the aspired attributes, you now need to identify your future state. You can develop a future goal or ideal condition you would want your organization to be in the future. For instance, you would want to reduce absenteeism by 30 percent or improve production by 50 percent. Note that you should always be specific enough when identifying your future state.
Step 3: Identify the gaps
At this point, you are expected to compare where you are now and your ideal state and ask yourself, ‘is there any gap?’ well, a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No; the answer can suffice. Continue with your scrutiny and determine why the gap happened. How far from the target was your actual production? For instance, you expected to produce 10,000 units per day, but you only managed to produce 9,000 units daily. What happened?
Step 4: Identify ways to bridge the gap
Once you’ve identified and quantified the existing gaps in your production, the next thing is to focus on how you eliminate the gaps. Conduct a candid and exhaustive discussion with other stakeholders to identify possible ways of eliminating the gaps. Decide on what must be done to improve your production. Also, make sure you come up with a time deadline in which you want the gap resolved.
Step 5: Summarize your Data Gap Analysis
After you have decided on the appropriate action plan that will best resolve the issue, you need to proceed with the implementation. Ensure your implementation is done appropriately and within the allocated timeframe. Also, ensure you have a follow-up activity to ensure your newly formed strategies work smoothly.
Data GAP Analysis Example
Gap Analysis Spreadsheet
Data GAP Analysis Template
Gap Analysis Template for PowerPoint
Gap Analysis Tool
Perfuming a data gap analysis is very beneficial to the operation of any company. They help a company compare between the actual performance and the potential or desired performance. It acts as a potential tool for figuring out the shortcomings within the company. What’s more, it helps to empower workers through the quick diagnosis of problems and inefficiencies. Therefore, if you want to improve your organization’s profitability and efficiency, always endeavor to conduct a Data Gap Analysis.