Gap analysis for business process improvement is a vital step to meeting strategic business goals. Here’s what you need to know to perform an effective gap analysis.
What is a business process?
A business process is a series of tasks that employees within an organization repeatedly perform to create a product or service. It starts with an objective and ends with the achievement of a goal, which provides value for the stakeholders.
What is business process improvement?
Business process improvement is the collection of methodologies to identify, analyze and improve on the existing processes within an organization so as to achieve organizational objectives in a more efficient way. Examples of business process improvement initiatives include automation of manual processes using workflow, reduction of waste in production processes, redesigning of employee responsibilities and streamlining of the approval processes. Typical methodologies that are used for business process improvement include Six Sigma, Lean, Scrum, Kaizen, and Total Quality Management.
The steps typically involved in business process improvement are:
- Identifying the business process – After deciding on which process needs to be improved; the process can be documented using a process flow diagram.
- Analyzing the business process – Use the process flow diagram to investigate the problems within the process.
- Redesigning the business process -The process is now redesigned to eliminate the problems that have been identified.
- Acquiring project resources – Resources needed for implementing the improved process will need to be secured at this stage and can be part of the project team.
- Implementing the changes – After acquiring the necessary resources, the changes to the business process can be implemented and may involve changing existing systems and processes.
- Reviewing the business process – To ensure continuous improvement after implementing the changes, there is a need to monitor the progress to ensure that the process is performing according to expectations.
What is a gap analysis?
Gap Analysis is the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance i.e. the current state with the desired future state for a business process. Current performance of a process is compared to key metrics such as costs, time, and quality. Knowledge of the existing gaps in a business process can help the business analyst implement programs to address the shortcomings in the current business processes.
Steps to perform during a gap analysis
Step 1: Understand the current state – e.g. review business processes and discuss problems in the current environment.
Tapera Mangezi, PMP, PMI-PBA, SMC, is the founder and director of Proximate Academy, a project management training and consultancy company. He is also a certified senior SAP plant maintenance consultant and project management consultant with many years of experience in working on various projects within the utilities, energy, and public sectors, and the manufacturing, logistics, facilities, and mining industries. Tapera has a strong engineering background and also holds various other certifications. He is currently working towards his MSc in Business Management with a specialization in Project Management at the Edinburgh Napier University. Tapera writes about business analysis and business processes.