A SWOT analysis and a GAP analysis are types of business reports used to evaluate the current position of a business in relation to its potential success. While both assessment reports are compiled with the intent of fostering future growth, there are likenesses and differences between the two.
A SWOT analysis, which stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats," compartmentalizes a business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, from both an internal and external perspective. A gap analysis assesses the current position of the business in the marketplace, the desired position, and the "gap" in between, which unfolds as as a plan of getting from A to B.
Strategic and Tactical Planning
Strategic planning is shaping specific objectives, such as "gaining 50 percent of the market share within five years." Tactical planning involves laying out the specific steps and procedures to achieve the strategic plan's objective(s). A SWOT analysis is used to develop strategy, while a gap analysis involves tactical planning.
While a SWOT analysis evaluates all aspects of a business, including finance, operations, marketing, and human resources, a gap analysis is primarily focused on marketing, which includes price, product, promotion, and distribution.
Present and Future
A SWOT analysis presents current external and internal business information that describes the company's current position in the marketplace, useful for management to shape strategic plans. A gap analysis presents the company's current position, future standard, and the steps between intended to lead the company from "point A to point B."
Use and Distribution
Both reports are compiled and used by top management. Both reports are for internal use, and are distributed to shareholders or other external parties as official company documentation, such as financial reports.