The Basics of Documenting and Analyzing Your As-Is Process | Lucidchart Blog
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Companies rely on solid processes to efficiently and effectively meet objectives. But without strong processes, your business could be losing money, talent, and even clients.

That’s where as-is process analysis comes in.  

Studying your current state helps organizations document, track, and optimize their processes for better performance, greater efficiency, and improved outcomes. 

Here’s how you can take your business to the next level by documenting your as-is process.

Lucidchart helps streamline your processes and keep everyone on the same page from start to finish. Put the "pro" in process manager. Try Lucidchart for free today!

What is as-is process analysis?

As-is process analysis or current state analysis is a process management strategy that identifies and evaluates a business’s current processes.

As-is process analysis can focus on an entire business organization or on one or more specific processes within a department or team.

There are several key goals or motivations for implementing current state analysis, including:

  • Saving money
  • Improving existing processes or creating new processes
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Improving business coordination and organizational responsiveness
  • Complying with new regulatory standards
  • Adapting processes following a merger or acquisition

The number-one reason businesses cited for using a process management system was to save money by reducing costs and/or increasing productivity followed closely by the need to improve customer satisfaction to remain competitive, according to a 2015 survey conducted by BPTrends.

As-is vs. to-be process analysis

As-is and to-be process analysis go hand-in-hand when you are evaluating business processes. Simply put, as-is maps where your processes are and to-be maps where you want them to be.

The as-is phase outlines the current state of your processes and any gaps or issues with the current mode of operation. Once you have that mapped out, you can enter the to-be phase of process management.

To-be process mapping documents what you want the process to look like. Using the as-is diagram, you work with stakeholders to develop improvements to the current process and outline those changes on your to-be map.

Keeping records of both documents will help everyone in the organization maintain process consistency and track progress and outcomes more effectively.

Use layers in Lucidchart to document and visualize both the as-is and to-be processes. Hotspots let you toggle between the layers so you can clearly see the differences between the two and easily present your documentation to others.

as-is and to-be process map
As-Is/To-Be Process Map with Hotspots (Click on image to open interactive template)

Benefits of analyzing your as-is process

The main advantage of as-is process analysis is creating a solid foundation in an organization’s processes. As-is analysis allows a business to evaluate the current state of its processes and identify opportunities for improvement.

Without this fundamental information, it is difficult to manage and improve processes. In other words, if you don’t know where you’re starting from, you’ll have a hard time getting to where you want to be.

By conducting as-is and to-be process reports, businesses can also expect to:

  • Align operations with the business strategy.
  • Improve process communication and training.
  • Increase operational efficiency.
  • Increase control and consistency across the organization.
  • Gain a competitive advantage.

Steps of as-is process analysis

As-is process analysis consists of two primary phases: research and documentation.

Research

For a full current state analysis of a business, you’ll need to get an overview of the company’s main products and activities.

Start by compiling a list of all products and services to get a clear outline of the business’s value chain. Then, identify all processes that the company uses to generate those products and services at each level and order them chronologically. (Some processes may occur in parallel.)

Be sure to note when each process starts and ends and identify which teams or individuals are involved in (or responsible for) those processes.

Higher-level stakeholders and managers can help you with the broad outlines, but you’ll need to connect with the people directly performing and overseeing each individual process to create a full and accurate report.

Take a look at a few of the ways you can collect the information you will need.

Personal interviews

Interview stakeholders who perform each process as well as the managers or other subject matter experts involved in the process. Personal reports can confirm processes that are working well (or not) and illuminate steps in the process that you might not otherwise be aware of.

However, while personal interviews are valuable, interview multiple people (where possible) to ensure a more complete picture of the process. Be careful not to make conclusions based solely on any one person’s report.

Direct observation

In addition to interviewing the people on the ground, take time to directly observe processes in action. Take note of the people involved at each step, as well as any systemic support functions and resources available and/or utilized.

Surveys

Send surveys or questionnaires to process participants to collect formal written responses. Surveys allow you to ask specific questions that you may not have found answers to from observation or interviews.

Surveys also give you the opportunity to get feedback and answers from participants to questions that arose during other information collecting tactics (like observation).

Group meetings

Finally, consider holding a group meeting of relevant stakeholders to outline the processes and confirm previous findings with process participants.

The goal is to meet several times to document the process together. These meetings may be best scheduled after you conclude other research (e.g., interviews and observation) because you can outline everything you’ve learned and then collaborate with participants to identify any gaps and confirm your findings.

Documentation

Once you’ve collected the process information, you’ll need to document it clearly in a process map.

Most process managers use the Business Process Model and Notation (also known as BPMN) to diagram their current state processes. BPMN is the standard process modeling system designed to streamline process documentation and make it easy for all stakeholders to understand. Industry best practice defaults to the current BPMN 2.0 process notation.

Lucidchart makes it easy to apply BPMN 2.0 methodology with its BPMN shapes library. Simply drag and drop the shapes onto your document and format as needed. Use this guide for a refresher on how to use BPMN 2.0 standard notation and symbols.

At its core, your as-is process map should document all process inputs, systemic support functions, detailed descriptions on performing the process, and all process outputs.

Documenting business processes using Lucidchart

Lucidchart helps you create clear, professional as-is process diagrams through flexible and intuitive software.

Process mapping is most effective when stakeholders at every level understand (and agree) on the current process and future goals. Lucidchart facilitates communication across teams and departments through easy-to-use sharing and commenting features. These features allow stakeholders to quickly view the document, see updates in real time, and help develop the final product by providing feedback through each iteration.

Easily track documentation and seamlessly transition from as-is process mapping to to-be management by using Lucidchart layers and hotspot features.

Try Lucidchart for free to see how easy it is to document your current state and level up your business processes.