Managing your processes efficiently translates to better business outcomes. Business process management (BPM) is defined as a structured approach to improving the processes that run the organization. Business processes are used to get work done, serve the customers, and generate business value.
The 4 main phases of the BPM discipline are –
The document phase sets the tone for the entire BPM process. Documentation is all about process modelling. Modelling the existing processes helps identify the redundancies and bottlenecks. The as-is process flow chart and the to-be process flow chart are two ways of process documentation. Explore what as-is workflow is and ways to document it on this blog.
Understanding the as-is to-be Process Mapping?
Knowing how to document business processes is an essential element of BPM implementation. Without proper documentation, it will be tough to understand and formalize how the business value chain works. This understanding helps map the process as-is and how it will be in the future, after improvements to-be. As-is and to-be process flows provide a point of formal reference for BPM implementations. The purpose of understanding and documenting the value chain is to describe the processes in the form of activity flow that culminates in the delivery of the final product.
Whatever the reason for mapping out processes, we need to be clear about whether you are mapping as-is or to-be. The as-is process mapping is about understanding the here-and-now of business processes.
The as-is process map provides answers to the questions,
What is happening in the process right now?
How does it work today?
Analyzing the process based on its current state provides answers to several questions about the business. The as-is process map helps investigate what can be improved, document processes for compliance and training purposes, and understand requirements for process improvement.
The as-is-to-be process mapping is used as a management tool for the description and improvement of internal processes. The participants of the as-is mapping are the users involved in the day-to-day operations of the process. Let us understand better with an as-is process example. Consider an online shop that sells goods.
The process starts when the sales representative receives the purchase order. The next step is to check the stock level. When there is enough stock to fulfill the order, the representative will pack it for shipping. The process ends with shipping the product along with the invoice.
The above is an as-is document of the way in which online orders are handled. When you analyze a process using the as-is mapping it shows where improvements are needed, and the area’s prime for change. The to-be process map on the other hand needs to be created by business analysts for solving problems in existing processes and improving business outcomes.
The as-is document acts like a manual to understand the existing processes. Comparison of the as-is and to-be process mapping helps in identifying the difference between current and target (future) business states. Identification of these gaps forms the basis of any business process improvement or reengineering initiatives.
The steps involved in the As-Is/To-Be Mapping process are listed below:
1. Defining the key users or process owners –
The first step to understanding/mapping out a process is to identify the key users of the process. Key users or stakeholders are all those who have complete knowledge about the rules of a business process. They are also the ones that perform/use the process on a regular basis.
2. Identifying and mapping steps of the process –
This step is also referred to as the As-Is survey. The current process is modelled as it is, without focussing on any changes or improvements. Defining key users, kicking off a meeting with key users to gather data, and conducting interviews with users of sub-processes to gather data, are steps involved in mapping the process. You can also use questionnaires, polls, or surveys to gather information.
3. Reviewing mapping finally –
Meeting or interviewing users and gathering information happens in several steps. So, a final review of all the gathered data and the as-is process map is required to ensure that every step in the process is covered.
4. Redesigning the process –
The future requirements or changes in the existing process or areas of improvement become evident from the as-is process map. The to-be process map defines the solutions to the problems identified in the as-is analysis. A new version of the process model is defined in the to-be map with a new process manager, scope, objective, rules, activities, and roles.
In addition to these definitions, activities that add value to the process are highlighted and those that do not add value are removed from the workflow. The use of BPM tools to organize and structure the workflow is very effective in this step.
5. Analyzing effectiveness –
Gathering feedback from the stakeholders and measuring KPIs help evaluate the effectiveness of the to-be process changes. Based on these inputs, the new changes can be fine-tuned to get the desired results.
Developing an As-is To-be process mapping
The as-is diagram represents the present state of the organization’s processes, culture, and capabilities. The as-is document captures an accurate visual picture of the organization’s processes, which helps visualize process breakdowns and areas of risk and improvement. The as-is mapping only shows the current state and areas of improvement, but not how to improve the process.
There are several goals or motivations for implementing the as-is process modelling. The first goal is to save money by cutting out process redundancies. Improving existing processes or creating new ones can be done based on the as-is mapping. Improving business processes, in turn, improves the quality of products and customer service.
The advantages of analyzing the as-is process mapping are:
- Creating a solid foundation for the organization’s processes
- Aligning operations with overall business strategy
- Improving operational efficiency, process communication, and training
- Increasing control and consistency across the organization
- Gain competitive edge
The steps of the as-is process analysis are listed below.
A full current state analysis of a business is done to get an overview of the company’s main products/services. Start by compiling a list of products and services to understand the business value chain. Identify all the processes that the company uses to generate those products and services and note them down chronologically. The start and end of every process and the teams or individuals involved in each process must be clearly noted. All this information can be gathered via personal interviews, direct observation, group meetings, or surveys.
Using a process map or an as-is flow chart the data collected through research should be documented. The business process flow chart example model and notation (BPMN) are the standard process modelling system. There are other visual representations of the process such as DevOps process flows, account maps, and ITIL/ITSM processes. Irrespective of the way you choose to represent the process, at the core is the as-is process analysis.
3. Identify process gaps, weak areas, and bottlenecks
Based on the inputs received from the as-is mapping, the bottlenecks, areas of weakness, and gaps can be identified. Bottlenecks in a process are areas where the process stalls. Too many meetings or nested hierarchies for approvals etc are examples of process bottlenecks.
The as-is diagram helps identify these spots. Gaps in a process are steps or areas where the process deviates from expected performance or outcome. Weak areas or areas that can be improved are tasks that are in the right place but need improvement or modifications. For example, improving communication or handoffs are examples of how you can improve weak areas in a process.
4. The basis for the to-be process
Identification of weak areas, gaps, and bottlenecks forms the basis for the to-be analysis or to-be mapping. Once you identify where the existing process is lacking or deviating or can be improved, the planning for the to-be states begins.
The as-is (current) state and to-be (future) state analyses go hand in hand with process improvement. The as-is to-be template for documentation helps businesses identify process areas that are prime for improvement or modification and designs a path to achieve these improvements. The by-products of improving business processes are saving effort and costs, better business collaboration, and improving customer engagement and satisfaction.
Also Read: 3 ways an individual can improve at work
Difference between As-is and To-be Process Maps
The current state and future state process analyses go together with business process analyses. The key differences between the as-is to-be process mapping are given in the table below.
|As-Is Process Mapping||To-Be Process Mapping|
|The as-is analysis maps where your processes are.||to-be analysis maps where you want them to be.|
|The as-is phase outlines the current state of your processes and any gaps or issues with your current mode of operation.||The to-be process mapping documents how you want your processes to be.|
|Use the as-is document to work with stakeholders to develop improvements||The to-be analysis is used as a guide for implementing changes in the process|
Both the as-is and to-be analysis documents can be used by everyone in the organization to maintain process consistency and track progress and outcomes more effectively.
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Process Improvement and As-is to-be Process Mapping
How important is the as-is-to-be process mapping for the business? Not every business requires an in-depth analysis of the As-Is and To-Be processes. How does one identify the need for as-is to-be analysis?
Here are a few scenarios where to-be analysis as-is is a must:
- It is known that current state processes have inherent issues. Issues could be reported by employees or customers
- Customers or business users are confused about the correct steps to be taken to complete a business process
- Key stakeholders are looking to automate business processes
- Current processes are not well documented
- Business processes are not streamlined across different departments
- Management looks to create a functioning business model
- Management is trying to move from paper-based operations to mobile process mapping solution
If your business encounters any one of the scenarios mentioned above, then there is a need for as-is to-be analysis. Continuous improvement is important for any business. The as-is-to-be model is a highly useful tool for making continuous process improvements. How can this model be used in making process improvements?
Involve all stakeholders –
The as-is mapping requires the gathering of complete information about the process from the users and stakeholders. Involving all the stakeholders in this process is necessary to gather detailed information.
Capture details accurately –
Deep insights into the process can be gained only when the as-is mapping is accurate. Inaccurate information complicates the business improvement process that follows process mapping.
Identify gaps and deviations –
Once the process is mapped accurately, the process outcomes can be compared with the expected results to identify process gaps and deviations. Any bottlenecks in the process can also be identified by the as-is mapping. Where time, effort, and money being wasted in the process can be identified by the process mapping.
Create a to-be process model –
The as-is process map is the starting point for the to-be analysis. Once the process deviations and bottlenecks are identified, changes and improvements need to be designed to overcome these issues. The to-be process map shows how the process will be in the future after all the improvements have been made.
Compare the As-is and To-be process maps –
Comparing the current state and future state of the process helps the leadership determine the changes or improvements that need to be made. The methods to be adopted to achieve improvements are made clear by the to-be mapping.
Determine the changes to achieve the to-be state –
The comparison between the as-is and to-be state helps determine the changes needed to reach the to-be state. For example, approval bottlenecks in the process can be eliminated by automating the approval step.
Estimate and analyze the business risks of the new changes –
Process improvement requires effective change management. Before new changes are implemented in business processes, it is important to do a thorough risk analysis. Proper risk analysis ensures that new changes do not disrupt business operations.
Implement the to-be process map –
Process improvements must be backed by thorough research and risk analysis. Implementing the to-be process changes enables businesses to achieve expected business improvements.
To-be map becomes as-is –
The new process now becomes the as-is process map. The effectiveness of the new process must be analyzed and fine-tuned wherever applicable. The as-is process map is created for the new process and another to-be map is created from new process data.
The most important thing to bear in mind during process improvement initiatives is to get the process team on board. Only when all the stakeholders are on the same page, and they share common business goals can process improvement be 100% successful. Involving employees in all the process improvement initiatives ensures that they stay motivated.
Companies are heavily dependent on their business processes to meet their business goals and objectives efficiently and effectively. That is where the as-is workflow mapping or analysis comes into play. An as-is to-be template is a two-pronged approach to process improvement, where the former mapping helps identify areas of improvement and the latter design ways to go about process improvements/changes.
Once you have the as-is document ready, you can take the help of workflow automation solutions like Cflow to implement process improvements. Automating and streamlining key process workflows can be effectively done with Cflow. To explore our cloud-based no-code BPM solution, sign up for the free trial today.
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