How to Analyze an “As Is” Business Process

As a business analyst, it’s your job to analyze the As Is Business Process in your organization to help everyone get on the same page. If customers are getting frustrated with your organization’s level of service or if business users are confused about the right process and steps to take in a given situation, this is your sign that it’s time to analyze the As Is Business Processes in your organization.

In this short video, you’ll learn the definition of an As Is Business Process, as well as how and when to analyze an As Is Business Process.

The best news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. When you download our free Business Process Template, you can:

  • Help business users from multiple departments clarify their actual step-by-step workflow
  • Avoid wasting money on software solutions that don’t solve the right business problems
  • Help new business analysts figure out what questions to ask when starting on a new project

Thousands of business analysts are already using this free template– add this tool to your toolbox today!

Are customers getting frustrated with your organization’s level of service? Are business users confused about what the right process is or what steps they should take in what situations? If so, as a business analyst, it’s your job to analyze the as-is business process and help everyone get on the same page. So stick with me and I’ll share exactly how to do just that.

Hi, I’m Laura Brandenburg with Bridging the Gap, where we help you start, succeed, and excel in your business analyst career with weekly videos on business analysis tips and techniques.

Today I’m discussing the As-Is business process and how business analysts can analyze different organizational processes to help improve business operations and really provide more clarity to all members of the organization.

Definition of an As Is Business Process

An As-Is business process defines the current state of the business process in an organization. Typically, the goal when putting something like this together is to clarify exactly how the business process works today, flaws and all. So mistakes, errors, redundancies, whatever that is.

How to Analyze an As Is Business Process

Now, the As-Is business process contains all of the elements of a typical business process model – the description, the list of roles, a list of steps, exceptions, and a workflow diagram or a process map. To get a rundown of all of these elements, you can download our free business process template.

Now, when you’re putting together an As-Is process, access to the business stakeholders who perform the business process is key. Business analysis never happens in a vacuum. You need access to stakeholders so you can actually understand what they are doing.

Secondarily, access to business stakeholders who understand the process, such as a manager or a subject matter expert can be helpful as well even if those individuals don’t routinely perform the business process. Often they can provide another perspective on what the business process should do, and they might be really surprised to learn what is actually happening. So often it’s important to have people who are actually doing the process involved as well as management or people who have the idea of what the outcome of that business process should be, and how they believe it should be performed.

What’s really important, though, is that you’re going to need at least one stakeholder to represent each role in the process.

For example, for a process describing how a new customer gets set up, you might need a representative from sales, from customer service, and from fulfillment, maybe even accounting, if that’s part of the process as well. Once you determine who needs to be involved, you can elicit information about the current state using a variety of different methods. Interviews and observation tend to be the best elicitation techniques for understanding the current state and then you’re able to put a draft together and then review that or do a document review that can confirm your understanding and fill any knowledge gaps.

We’ve done a great video on elicitation, and I invite you to check it out if that’s something you want to learn more about.

When to Analyze the As Is Business Process

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is whether or not you always have to do the As-Is. We’re actually going to improve this process. Can’t we just start with the future state or the to be or the desired state process?

I find that it almost always makes sense to start with the As-Is because this brings a lot of clarity and it gives your team a solid foundation to build from. There are some scenarios, though, where the As-Is is particularly necessary and I would say really a non-negotiable in your analysis process.

For example, if there are known issues with the current state process such as order is not getting processed or customers being frustrated with your organization’s level of service. Often the clarity that comes from a good business process document is going to help you identify the gaps that are causing those issues in the first place. The analysis helps you define what your future state should be.

Also, if you find that business users are confused about what the current state process is or what steps to take in current situations, it makes sense to start with the As-Is so you can get everybody on the same page about what they should be doing currently. It avoids a lot of disagreements and confusion and back and forth discussions about trying to define a future state when we’re really not already on the same page about what we should be doing right now.

Finally, if your organization was to automate or streamline the current processes but, again, that current state is not well understood or documented, you need to start here. By analyzing the current state, you are going to discover redundant steps and opportunities for automation.

If all of this seems like too much, don’t worry. You don’t have to start from scratch. We have a free business process template that you can download today and that will help you get business users from multiple departments on the same page and clarify their actual step-by-step workflow.

This download can even help new business analysts figure out what questions to ask when starting a new project or working in a new domain.

Click the image below to claim your free business process template.

There’s a lot more to analyzing a business process, and I have another video that goes into this technique in more depth.

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