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Austin BlackMar 6, 20235 min read

What is a gap analysis & how does it work?

What is a Gap analysis and why should I do it?

A gap analysis is a valuable framework used to identify the gap between an organization's current performance and its desired performance. In the context of corporate intelligence, a gap analysis helps identify an organization's level of preparedness in relation to prioritized trends in the business environment. The process involves evaluating each trend's importance to the organization and the organization's degree of preparedness using a matrix. By identifying any performance gaps, organizations can develop an action plan to close these gaps and prepare the organization to take advantage of the prioritized trends. Monitoring progress and adjusting the plan as needed helps ensure the gap is closing, and the organization is prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.

Why should I perform one as an Intelligence professional?

As an intelligence professional, performing a gap analysis is a crucial step in evaluating an organization's preparedness for prioritized trends in the business environment. By conducting a gap analysis, you can identify areas where the organization may be falling behind in terms of preparedness, and develop an action plan to address any performance gaps. This can lead to improved organizational performance and a competitive advantage in the market. Moreover, a gap analysis can help identify potential risks and opportunities, which can inform strategic decision-making and enhance the organization's overall success. Therefore, performing a gap analysis as an intelligence professional is a proactive approach to identifying potential areas of improvement and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-changing business landscape.

The 6 steps to a successful gap analysis

1. To conduct a successful gap analysis, the first step is to identify and compile the most important trends relevant to your organization. These trends can help you stay on top of market shifts, technological advancements, or regulatory changes that impact your business. To identify these trends, conduct thorough research and analysis of your industry and competitors. This may involve reviewing industry reports, conducting surveys or interviews with customers, or analyzing data from internal and external sources. By identifying and understanding these trends, you can ensure your organization is prepared to take advantage of opportunities and avoid potential risks.

2. When conducting a gap analysis, evaluating each trend's significance to the organization and the organization's level of preparedness is crucial. To assess this, market intelligence professionals can use a matrix that examines the importance of each trend and the organization's readiness. Gathering and analyzing data on key performance indicators such as revenue growth, customer satisfaction, or market share, and analyzing internal processes, organizational structure, and workforce capabilities can help determine the level of preparedness. Try to answer these questions:
- "How important is each trend to us?"
- "How prepared are we to meet the trend?",

With these answers, a comprehensive evaluation of the organization's preparedness can be made. This step helps to provide a clear picture of where the organization currently stands in relation to the identified trends and helps identify gaps that need to be addressed to stay competitive in the market.

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3. After evaluating the importance of each trend and the organization's level of preparedness, the next step is to identify any performance gaps. This can be done by analyzing the matrix and identifying patterns. If the organization is well-prepared for critical trends and less prepared for less important trends, then there is no gap, and it is on the right track. However, if the matrix shows that the organization is well-prepared for less important trends but less prepared for the critical ones, then there is a gap that requires further investigation. It is essential to identify and address these gaps to ensure the organization is adequately prepared for future trends and to stay ahead of the competition. A gap analysis is an effective tool for identifying performance gaps and areas for improvement, and it can help intelligence professionals make data-driven decisions that benefit the organization's success.

4. To perform a thorough gap analysis, it's crucial to identify the specific factors or causes that are contributing to the performance gap. This step can be achieved by conducting surveys or interviews with employees, reviewing business processes, or analyzing data to identify patterns or trends. By understanding the underlying causes of the gap, intelligence professionals can gain insights into the root issues that need to be addressed to close the gap. For example, if the performance gap is related to a lack of employee skills or training, the organization may need to invest in training programs to improve workforce capabilities. Or if the gap is related to outdated technology, the organization may need to upgrade its systems to keep up with technological advances. Determining the causes of the performance gap is essential for developing effective strategies to close the gap and improve organizational performance.

5. Developing an action plan is a crucial step in closing the identified performance gap. After determining the causes, it's important to create a plan that outlines specific steps for the organization to take in order to address these issues. This may include implementing changes to business processes, upgrading technology, providing employee training programs, or other initiatives. The action plan should prioritize the most important trends identified in the previous steps, and the steps should be tailored to the organization's specific needs and capabilities. It's important to create a realistic and achievable plan that can be effectively implemented within the organization. The plan should also include timelines, milestones, and measures of success to ensure that progress is being made toward closing the gap and achieving the organization's goals.

6. The final step is to monitor the progress of your action plan. This is essential to ensure that your organization is moving in the right direction to close the performance gap. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress and adjust your plan as necessary based on the data collected. By monitoring progress, you can identify areas that are working well and areas that need improvement. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your plan will help your organization stay on track to meet its goals and take advantage of opportunities that arise. Be sure to communicate progress updates to stakeholders to keep everyone informed and aligned with the plan.


In conclusion, performing a gap analysis is crucial for intelligence professionals to identify the trends that will impact their organization's business environment, evaluate the organization's degree of preparedness, identify any performance gaps, determine the causes of the gap, develop an action plan, and monitor progress regularly. By doing so, organizations can align their operations with market trends, stay ahead of their competition, and drive sustainable growth. By following the steps outlined in this article, intelligence professionals can take proactive measures to close performance gaps, ensuring their organization is well-prepared to tackle current and future business challenges.

Ready to level up your competitive strategy? Explore 6 ways to map your competitive landscape with our competitive analysis matrix, or download our free ultimate framework for competitive intelligence.