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Combine GAP and SWOT analysis to improve business performance

These two types of analysis are both valuable techniques that can be used in tandem to help your company increase visibility, better support strategy, and reach company goals.


Illustration: Lisa Hornung, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

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Knowing your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as gaps in performance can help take your organization to new heights. During a crisis–such as a worldwide pandemic– it’s even more important to stay on top of your company’s needs.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

GAP analysis compares your company’s actual business performance to a desired level of performance, while SWOT analysis helps assess your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By conducting both of these powerful techniques in tandem, your company can ensure it is better positioned for success.

Comparing GAP and SWOT analysis goals

GAP analysis

SWOT analysis

Focuses on your company’s internal state

Your company vs. external factors

Identifies your company’s current state

Identifies your company’s strengths

Determines your company’s desired state

Identifies your company’s weaknesses

Identifies any gaps between your current and desired state

Identifies potential opportunities, risks, or threats.              

Two techniques working together to improve performance

By taking a close look at your company’s current operating state, it helps your leaders develop the foundation or baseline to build from. Your company can start to identify any gaps that may exist, potential from a threat-and-opportunities standpoint, and devise strategies to close those gaps. A part of determining the right strategies involves conducting a SWOT analysis to figure out your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

SEE: Inside UPS: The logistics company’s never-ending digital transformation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

By conducting both types of analyses, it ensures that your company has done a thorough evaluation of its internal and external environment to flush out all strategic factors that might impact performance. This also helps your leadership team clearly identify the people, processes, and technologies that align with strategic goals and facilitate better communication and decision-making. 

Using this combination is much more important in a crisis 

The introduction of COVID-19 has created a global crisis that has and will continue to negatively impact businesses around the world, and this means the health of your business has never been more at risk. By combining GAP (Good, Average, Poor) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, your business can find ways to reduce current and potential threats and seek out new opportunities that may not have been present before the pandemic. 

It can change a company’s strategy and direction, become much more agile, and step up its performance. Many companies have done this and continue to do this during the pandemic to not only survive but change course toward a new state of excellence. The pandemic has unearthed many issues, including a lack of accountability, communication gaps, and logistics issues. On the other hand, it has also shed light on a new direction for many companies as well. 

SEE: The tech pro’s guide to video conferencing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

From private companies to large institutions, SWOT and GAP analysis have become a vital tool in restructuring operations to keep up with the changing environment and impacts due to COVID-19. Despite the devastation of the pandemic, hospitals, and private clinics, as well as many product- and service-based companies, have leveraged techniques like SWOT to re-evaluate and pivot their operations. Even the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Task Team has recognized the need for rapid GAP analysis to identify urgent gaps in guidance and support for the COVID-19 response.

GAP and SWOT analysis will increasingly become commonly used techniques that companies of all sizes and industries go to as they look for ways to stay relevant and improve their business performance. 

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