To thrive in today’s dynamic business climate, companies must be able to enhance their capabilities to continuously deliver value, adapt to change, and meet business objectives. By helping businesses identify performance shortfalls and develop targeted solutions, a fit-gap analysis can be a powerful tool in the fight for competitive advantage.

No matter what line of business you’re in, a fit-gap analysis will reveal gaps in your operations, allowing you to take action to drive increased profits and success. That’s why we’ve used our expertise at Business2Community to explore everything you need to know, including how to perform one, its key use cases, and relevant examples.

Fit-Gap Analysis – Key Takeaways

  • A fit-gap analysis is a type of gap analysis used to identify gaps in business performance, systems, knowledge, solutions, strategies, or processes.
  • It’s a comprehensive analysis of the ‘fit’ or ‘gaps’ in proposed solutions or existing processes to guide strategic decision-making and continuous business process improvements.
  • When applied effectively and combined with other analyses, businesses can identify performance gaps, pinpoint resource constraints, and optimize for ideal outcomes or a desired future state.

What Is a Fit-Gap Analysis?

A fit-gap analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps businesses compare their current processes, systems, or strategies against business requirements by revealing areas of alignment (fit) and improvement (gaps).

Fit gap analysis

Who Needs to Do a Fit-Gap Analysis?

While a gap analysis is a general approach for identifying discrepancies in various business areas, a fit-gap analysis is a special type of gap analysis used to ensure system, software, or process alignment with business needs.

Therefore, business owners and management teams wanting to identify functional gaps, enhance overall efficiency, and remain competitive amid future challenges can benefit from a fit-gap analysis.

For example:

  • CEOs and executives can use gap analysis to understand where ongoing business processes are lagging or performance is falling short of strategic goals, enabling more effective planning, resource allocation, and organizational transformation.
  • HR managers can use gap analyses to identify existing gaps in talent management to align human resource efforts with overall business objectives.
  • IT managers can use gap analysis to measure how well new systems or software solutions meet organizational needs and where adjustments are necessary.
  • Sales and marketing managers can use gap analysis to understand how current strategies align with market trends, customer needs, or sales targets, allowing them to adjust their tactics for better organizational fit.
  • Project managers can use gap analysis to identify areas where project objectives are not aligned with business goals, leading to more effective project planning and execution.

High level fit gap

Fit-Gap Analysis Use Cases

Whether you’re planning a major transition, evaluating an existing process, or determining the suitability of a newly planned system, fit-gap analysis reveals discrepancies in organizational fit, highlighting areas of improvement for optimal performance.

Optimizing Business Processes

To uncover the reasons behind falling outputs and rising production costs, a manufacturing plant uses a fit-gap analysis to evaluate the efficiency and consistency of its production line. This reveals inconsistencies with daily operations, leading to targeted actions for streamlining main processes and reducing costs.

Evaluating New Systems

As part of a digital transformation initiative, a consulting firm’s IT department wants to implement new systems. Using a fit-gap analysis, IT managers compare the features of various systems against specific business requirements. This helps them determine if a particular system or solution ‘fits’ or if it requires modification or customization.

Determining Software-Organization Fit

A small marketing company wants to upgrade its software solutions to handle certain tasks and boost employee productivity. Using a gap analysis, the management team evaluates other software solutions to find one that aligns with business needs and goals.

Evaluating Project Suitability

A company wishes to implement new customer service technologies to enhance customer satisfaction. The project manager uses a fit-gap analysis to identify which emerging technologies the team should use and key gaps that need to be addressed.

How to Perform Your Fit-Gap Analysis

The steps involved in performing a fit-gap analysis are discussed below.

Step 1: Define Objectives

Clearly define what you hope to achieve with your analysis, ensuring your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART).

Step 2: Establish Evaluation Criteria

Determine the criteria you will use to evaluate your current state against your desired state. This could be based on efficiency, cost, time, quality, or other business-relevant factors.

Step 3: Determine Your Current State

Understand your current processes and systems. Map out workflows, resources, tools, and technologies while evaluating their capabilities and limitations. Where possible, seek input from stakeholders such as employees, managers, and customers.

Step 4: Determine your Desired State

Consider your ideal result or desired future state. This should align with your business needs and strategic objectives.

Step 5: Identify Gaps

Use a structured and consistent approach to conduct your fit-gap analysis. Document and analyze the data, ranking gaps according to their impact or importance.

Step 6: Root Cause Analysis

With your findings ranked and documented, the next step is to understand why these gaps exist. Is it due to process inefficiencies, technological limitations, resource constraints, or skills gaps? Conducting a thorough root cause analysis will provide deeper insights, ensuring more targeted and effective solutions.

Step 7: Develop Solutions

Identify how to bridge the gaps, carefully considering each solution’s feasibility, cost, and impact. Then, develop a detailed implementation plan. Remember to include timelines, the resources needed, responsible parties, and milestones to ensure better integration.

Step 8: Implement Solutions

Implement the solutions and evaluate their results against your desired outcomes. It’s also important to be flexible and allow for modifications or course corrections based on ongoing feedback and changing circumstances.

Examples of Fit-Gap Analysis

Below, we’ll demonstrate how to use fit-gap analysis to refine processes and strategies.

Example 1: New Software Implementation in a Retail Store

Current state: A small retail store uses traditional cash registers and manual inventory management systems.

Desired state: The business owner wants to enhance efficiency and accuracy by implementing an integrated point of sale (POS) and inventory management system that automates these processes.

Fit-gap analysis:

  • Fit: The owner finds a new software solution that efficiently integrates point of sales (POS) with real-time inventory tracking, offering streamlined operations and improved data accuracy.
  • Gap: Employees are not familiar with the advanced features of the new system, and the software doesn’t support a specific sub-process used by the business on a day-to-day basis.
  • Solution: The business owner organizes comprehensive employee training and works with the software provider to customize the solution, ensuring it aligns with specific operational needs.

Example 2: Improving Existing Software in a Financial Services Provider

Current state: A financial services provider uses customer relationship management (CRM) software primarily for data management and routine client interactions.

Desired state: The company wants to improve client engagement by using predictive analytics to offer more personalized customer service.

Fit-gap analysis:

  • Fit: The existing CRM software excels in managing client data, ensuring efficient data handling and communication.
  • Gap: The current system lacks the predictive analytics capabilities that are necessary for providing personalized services.
  • Solution: The financial services provider upgrades the CRM system, choosing a software provider that integrates advanced analytics into its features.

Example 3: Migrating to a Cloud-based Infrastructure

Current state: A leading manufacturing company relies on on-premises servers and legacy applications for its operations.

Desired state: The company wants to modernize its infrastructure and improve scalability, flexibility, and remote access capabilities through cloud computing.

Fit-gap analysis:

  • Fit: A selected cloud service provider offers excellent scalability and flexibility, with robust support for remote access.
  • Gap: Some of the company’s critical legacy applications are not compatible with the cloud environment.
  • Solution: The company goes with a hybrid cloud computing approach allowing some applications to remain on-premises while others move to the cloud.

Fit-Gap Analysis Template

Whether it’s a short report, simple table, or PPT template, using a consistent and structured fit-gap analysis template will help you conduct and present your findings more efficiently.

You can customize this gap analysis template by Project Manager for a more detailed approach to your own analysis.

Gap analysis Template

For a simpler fit-gap analysis, consider this template by Smartsheet.

smartsheet template

To analyze processes, marketing strategies, human resources, and more, use Smartsheet’s free library of downloadable templates. We’ve included a sample below:

Process Gap Template

How to Adjust a Fit-Gap Analysis

To adjust your fit-gap analysis, manage your company resources and capabilities effectively to bridge possible gaps before they adversely impact your performance. For example, consider:

  • Optimizing marketing strategies.
  • Reducing overheads.
  • Enhancing product quality.
  • Prioritizing employee development.
  • Boosting overall operational efficiency.
  • Keeping up with market trends, customer needs, and competitors.
  • Consistently updating systems, processes, and technologies.

Limitations of Fit-Gap Analysis

While fit-gap analyses help identify gaps in alignment or organizational fit, they don’t explain why the gaps exist or how to address them.

For a comprehensive understanding of each gap’s origin and contributing factors, consider using a Fishbone/Ishikawa diagram to identify underlying causes and brainstorm potential solutions.

Fishbone diagram

A fit-gap analysis can’t tell you which factors contribute to business success or a sustainable competitive advantage. Consider using a VRIO analysis to identify the internal resources and capabilities that are crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.

Lastly, fit-gap analysis doesn’t look at competitors or external factors. For more effective strategic planning, consider using Porter’s Five Forces model and PESTEL analysis to evaluate the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors that directly affect your competitive environment.

The Value of Fit-Gap Analysis

A well-crafted fit-gap analysis could be the difference between a thriving business and a struggling one. It helps companies identify business elements that aren’t up to standard or ‘gaps’ allowing them to make adjustments to ensure operations ‘fit’ business requirements and objectives.

To get the best value out of fit-gap analysis, you need to regularly review your analyses and look for ways to better optimize your business. This can help give you the edge over your competitors who may still be unaware of the market opportunities you’re identifying to exploit.

Leverage this valuable tool to align your processes or systems with your operational requirements and strategic goals. For comprehensive insights that drive a stronger competitive edge, combine your fit-gap analysis with other strategic analysis tools like VRIO and PESTEL.


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