When considering change, it is necessary to explore the gap between the situation that exists and the potential future situation. It is the differences between these two states that provide the foundation for defining the actions required to implement the desired option.
There are many ways to identify priority areas which should be subject to a gap analysis first. You may already have a good understanding of the business and which areas to prioritise from discussions with stakeholders, in which case you should follow this prioritisation.
If you do not already have areas of priority, you can use your business activity model(s) (BAM) to help prioritise. To do this, you can go through each activity in the BAM and categorise them using one of the following labels:
Labelling each activity in this way allows you to prioritise the activities that should be subject to a gap analysis first; those where the activities are not yet in place.
You will have already investigated the current ‘as is’ situation, using the techniques described in the ‘investigate’ phase, and have a good idea of the systems, processes etc. currently in place. You also will already have a good idea of the potential future situation by using the techniques described in the ‘analyse needs’ phase, as well as from general stakeholder discussions. Both the ‘as is’ and potential ‘to be’ (or ‘could be’) situations should then be described in your gap analysis.
You should then consider the gap between the ‘as is’ and potential ‘to be’ situations and note this down. Taking a holistic approach, options should be formulated for how to implement the change. The POPIT model can provide a good framework to ensure that all elements of the business are considered when conducting such an analysis.
The last output from the gap analysis would then be a list of high-level business requirements. This could be, for example, a list of what features a system should have or what essential things a prospective new process should contain.
Although the example here illustrates a relatively simple gap analysis exercise, they can often be very complex, especially when related to IT projects involving lots of system developments. Gap analysis when complex, should be given considerable amount of time and effort.
A gap analysis can be used to help consider the various options available to the business, but it can also be used to detail the specific steps required to implement the option once it has been chosen. The level of detail required at a gap analysis when considering options would be a lower than when the option has been chosen.
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