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Some of the best gap analysis tools are effectively compiled data, surveys, and discussion results. Usually these tools are used together in the process of collecting, organizing, and presenting data. Combining these methods can give an organization a clear idea of what needs to be done to fill the gap between its current status and its goals. Depending on the type and amount of information to be analyzed, there are some software programs which may also help with the process.
When choosing gap analysis tools, it is advisable to consider what elements will be studied. If a small number of issues are to be analyzed, then entering data into a spreadsheet will usually suffice. For an analysis that covers a wide array of elements, a software program may provide the extra organization and processing power needed to handle more information.
One of the most effective gap analysis tools is the workforce of a company. Having in-depth discussions about the status of the company in large and small groups can help an organization to gather the data necessary for an effective analysis. The leaders of a gap analysis effort may also find useful information in individual conversations with relevant workers. These conversations can be meetings with one or several discussion groups, or more formal interviews.
Surveys are also often powerful gap analysis tools. They can be used to determine the common problems in and among departments and as they affect the whole company. Depending on the question format, surveys can provide qualitative information, quantitative data, or both. Quantitative data can be further organized into charts or spreadsheets in order to illustrate company status by the numbers. Qualitative data can reveal what kinds of negative trends exist in the company, such as elements that constantly cause trouble or challenges that are difficult to overcome.
Once data has been collected, spreadsheets or software can be useful tools for organizing information so that it can be thoroughly analyzed. A spreadsheet can be filled with data to be examined either on the sheet itself or to be fed into program features which can make graphs, charts, and other visual aids. Charts can be an especially useful way of demonstrating the gap between a company’s status and goals in meetings or reports. Software programs made specifically for different kinds of gap analysis can fulfill a similar function for larger or more complex bodies of information.
Great article, thanks wiseGeek! I use gap analysis a lot and find the best way to display gap analysis results is through a spider chart. It is very fiddly to set up in Excel but worth it.
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