What does As Is vs To Be really mean? For most capturing the As is process is the first step towards creating a new future for the organisation
For any organisation it makes sense to take the time to capture the process as they are currently within the company. All organisations need to know who and how things are achieved within the company.
If you need to start at the beginning and understand how to map a process then you might want to take a look at our Process Mapping Guide for a comprehensive explanation of Process Mapping.
Why map your current processes?
If you’ve been asked to look the As Is process, it may be that your organisation is looking to change something or understand why there is an issue somewhere. Mapping the As Is vs To Be process allows you to truly work through a process and understand who is responsible for each step, make sure there is no confusion or duplication and also check everything is being done in the right order.
Therefore the most important information to get upfront is your current performance, what’s working and what isn’t. A detailed process analysis will help answer that but you will get just as much information asking around. You should be more interested in how people perceive the performance, what the customers think or what our financial position etc. This tells you how things are working today and gives you a glimpse of where you should be going.
Preparation is key.
Before you undertake any change programme you need to understand how to get to where you want to be. Your current state will obviously help decide the direction you take towards the future. However it shouldn’t dictate what you do in the future. It may be that you need to completely change it but its good to get the basics straight first.
Therefore you need to get all the information together to fully understand the business process. Make sure the right people are in the room and follow our process workshop agenda to help you run your workshop with ease. You may find that even by just having everyone together going through the process that it gains much more clarity. Even if it’s not being done correctly it may be the first time that the organisation are able to see any blockages or risks. This already is helping you and the organisation to improve things. Making sure that you have the right tools as well to capture all the information (risks, requirements, costs, links to other documents etc) is key so make sure you have everything noted down or use a software like Skore to do this for you.
Alternatively you may want to consider starting with the To-Be. Potentially controversial – this blue sky conversation could lead to better designs and better engagement from your team.
Remember, your current position doesn’t dictate the future state, only how you get there.
Getting to To Be?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. You simply have no way of knowing what the future is going to hold. This is part of the problem with the process improvement approach starting with a detailed As-Is capture. It gives you a false sense of structure, that process improvement is a guaranteed step-by-step approach to success. A focus on the process misses other environmental factors, such as customer behaviour and market forces that are changeable.
Instead why not map a perfect future state, based on what you know today and design the future you would like to see? Work backward from there to understand what you have already, where the gaps are, what is unrealistic and how does that affect your future. This is your roadmap.
The benefits of a To-Be first approach
A focus on the future first helps stop current bad habits being built into the design. You remind stakeholders you are thinking about a perfect future.
It’s also a lot more motivating to work with a team designing the future than capturing today’s reality with all its warts. The team are invested in this future. When you start with As-Is capture you’re taking busy people away from their work to talk about what they already know is wrong. While helpful it’s hardly exciting and can put people off early in the project. Once you lose buy-in it’s harder to get it back.
In system implementation or automation projects we often believe the As Is must come first. That in As is Vs To be, where manual processes are being automated ,you need to understand the As-Is process in order to understand the requirements. However the To-Be first approach is twice as important here. Manual processes are littered with work arounds and bad habits constantly being corrected by humans. Starting with the As-Is process bakes in these issues without anyone knowing why and therefore over complicating the process.
As is vs To be
Focusing on the As Is in any process discovery allows the organisation to stay in a negative mindset. Of course in any change management programme the current state of affairs must be investigated but we should be mindful of allowing this process discovery to set the tone of the programme. Only by setting our sights on the To Be vision from the very beginning can any organisation truly disrupt and lead the way in delivering change and success.
Need help mapping As Is vs To Be? Click here for a free trial with Skore. Skore’s Software Platform is a process mapping and analysis platform. It engages your organisation through live workshops, instant insights and is easily shareable.
Credit: Cover Photo by Pixabay