Business process gap analysis is an important and powerful technique in your business analysis and business systems analysis toolkit. There are three types or forms of business process gap analysis – and they are highly interrelated. Recognizing that the three interrelationships exist and then cohesively acting on the three types or forms of business process gap analysis is essential to the success of any Business Process Reengineering (BPR), business process integration and/or enterprise application software initiative.
Business Process Gap Analysis and BPR
In the context of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) a gap refers to the distinction between the current state of a business process (or some aspect of the current state business process – work activity, workflow, procedure, decision rule, supporting technology, person/role, etc.) and a notional or aspirational future state of the business process.
I use the word notional or aspirational to describe a future state of a business process because there is only one current state at any point in time but there are infinite future states over time and based on the selection of implementing a wide range of potential change opportunities. Accordingly, I use the term future state to refer to the notional or aspirational future state of a business process based on certain variables – typically a future point in time and based on implementing a defined set of transformational and operational improvement opportunities.
A transformational improvement opportunity results in doing new things in new ways in alignment with organizational strategy. Transformational improvements disrupt and change existing operating structures of an organization – systems, processes, reporting relationships, etc. Operational improvement opportunities provide important and necessary ongoing incremental improvement to existing systems and processes, but do not fundamentally change the existing operating structure of an organization.
Business process reengineering results in a wide range of transformational and operational improvement opportunities. To successfully apply BPR business process gap analysis, process integration and enterprise application software gap analysis must also be considered.
Business Process Gap Analysis and Process Integration
Another form of gap analysis is in connection with business process integration. Business process integration gap analysis is identifying and analyzing the difference between two (or potentially more than two) similar processes to create a hybrid best practice version of the process. For example, Organization A acquired Organization B. Both organizations have a number of similar business processes such as Customer Billing, Talent Recruiting and Onboarding, and Procurement. One of the strategic initiatives in connection with the acquisition is to create hybrid best practice versions of the Customer Billing, Talent Recruiting and Onboarding, and Procurement processes respectively.
To fully and successfully apply business process integration gap analysis, the gap analysis between the incumbent processes should be in the context of the notional or aspiration future state of the processes taking into account BPR improvement opportunities described above and enterprise application software improvement opportunities described below.
Business Process Gap Analysis and Enterprise Application Software
The third type of gap analysis is in connection with developing enterprise application software – or more commonly, selecting and configuring vendor enterprise application software. The concept of enterprise application software gap analysis is to identify your organization’s business systems requirements and then analyze how each of the vendor’s solutions fulfills the requirements. The gaps are the difference between your organization’s requirements and the vendor’s ability to fulfill the requirements with the proposed solution.
Enterprise application software gap analysis is almost always preformed in connection with a BPR initiative. Two reasons: 1) business systems requirements should be identified and analyzed with respect to the future state business process not the current state; and 2) the vendor solution often has functionality that can support future state changes in your business process that you have not yet identified as part of your internal analysis. If your organization is developing a custom specialty purpose application or an enterprise application solution, the key is to reengineer and define the future state business processes and identify and define the business system requirements to support the future state processes.
Related blog posts: 10 Business Process Modeling Best Practices ● Why Do BPR Initiatives Often Fail to Deliver Transformative Results? ● Business Process Reengineering: 6 Key Steps + Some Secret Sauce ● 10 Perilous Misconceptions of Censuring Current State Mapping & Analysis
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Meeting this challenge often requires transformative change - and sustainable on-going improvement in business processes, organizational culture and supporting technologies.
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