As-Is Process Analysis: Meaning & Benefits
Meaning of As-Is Process Analysis:
Whenever there is a need to bring an improvement in the existing ways of working, it becomes imperative to first know those existing ways and practices. Imagine that you want to reach your office earlier than your usual time. To do this, you will have to plan first. This will enable you to see how and where you could save time including the possibility of starting your day early. To jump from one state to another, you must know what state you currently are in. For example, if you assess that by starting your day one hour early, you will be able to reach your office early by 30 minutes.
So, you must know what time you normally wake up (this is your as-is state). To move to the desired or to-be state, you must now set your alarm one hour early. We may not need to carry out any extensive exercise to determine our usual waking time. But when organisations have to adjust or improvise their processes, determining their as-is processes is often a complex task. For business and professional purposes, as-is analysis is the study and documentation of existing processes in their current states. In simple words, it is the determination and description of how a process/task is currently carried out. Process documentation is discussed in the second section.
Benefits of As-Is Process Analysis:
One of the core benefits of as-is process analysis is that it serves as an opportunity to spot areas for improvement and remove flaws and deviations from operations planning. Think of how you procure inventory in your business. You may have a very good idea of how you do it. But when you will map the procurement process in detail, you will find many areas where improvisations are possible.
Sometimes changes in process definitions also become necessary because of external factors. For example, there are changes in regulatory norms from time to time and businesses are bound to incorporate them. In cases where such changes are extensive and complex, as-is process analysis and as-is process documents are valuable. If process SOPs are present, incorporating changes becomes extremely simple.
As-is process analysis is a necessity in the efforts of process automation and digitisation. How a technology is useful to an organisation depends on how suitable the former is to the strategic and operational requirements of the latter. This alignment or suitability does not happen on its own. What a specific technology offers or can offer must align and be matched with the business requirements. Because we are talking here about process automation and digitisation, the technological solutions under consideration must be aligned with the corresponding process and operational requirements.
A subtle but profound benefit of as-is process analysis is the reflection of the reality i.e. the actual practices on the ground. Whether you want to improvise or introduce any externally-induced change into your business processes is a different matter. Organisations must remain cognizant of their ground operational realities.
Process Documentation: Meaning & Benefits
- Meaning of Process Documentation
In our daily lives, we do not write down the procedures for carrying out routine tasks. But when it comes to any multifaceted and extensive task, we experience hiccups if we do not have some kind of guidance or a roadmap. Something similar happens with organisations too. Their processes and operations are often extensive and complex. Among other benefits, writing down these processes in a documented form provides a base to organisations in developing solutions that could serve as operational guide maps to their employees. This writing down of processes in a planned and systematic manner is called process documentation. And the outputs so derived are called process documents or SOP manuals.
Process documents or SOP manuals contain the workflow or operational procedures for carrying out long and complex processes. These workflow procedures are designed using the best-fit combinations of text, graphics, charts, etc. Process documents or SOP manuals encompass:
- Tasks involved to complete a process
- Flow of tasks in the manner required
- Input and output requirements
- Place of work
- Process stakeholders (positions in organisation structure)
- Supervision and accountability
- Reporting and feedback mechanism, etc.
Benefits of Process Documentation
The principal gain in recording and documenting processes is that these documents serve as operational roadmaps for employees in carrying out business processes and operations. Having process documents is of immense help to new employees. Even complex processes can be carried out with ease with a planned roadmap in place for reference.
Process documents optimise the need for direction and supervision. Employees become less dependent on supervision when they have access to approved operations plans in the form of process documents. The need for supervision or control may not be gone but it gets limited only to the most difficult aspects of operations.
Process documents provide an enabling platform for securing the output or deliverables. Knowing a process or a procedure conceptually is one thing and to have it in an explicit, documented form is quite another. Process documents are meant to be explicit and specific about every operational standard and outcome.
Process documents offer a ready-made stage for process improvisation. It abolishes the need to stockpile information from scratch. Nonconformities could be more easily recognized as all the operational details would already be mentioned in the process documents.
Challenges in As-Is Process Analysis & Process Documentation
The lack of process orientation is the first big roadblock in as-is process analysis and process documentation. If the existing ways of working and practices are not in a defined state, organisations have to fix that first. An organisation not having processes in a systematically documented form is only a manifestation of a far more disadvantageous condition of not being process-oriented. Not being process-oriented makes information on existing practices and processes unreliable and inconsistent.
As-is process analysis & documentation is an enormous and time-consuming effort. It involves the collection of massive amounts of data and information on existing processes and practices. All the differences and deviations are addressed to come to the same conclusion about the current state. Every operational detail is accounted for. This exercise can run up to weeks even with a devoted team.
As-is process analysis & documentation also calls for a certain degree of relevant expertise and experience. This entire exercise is by no measure a run-of-the-mill activity. And organisations usually do not retain the specific capabilities required for such one-off projects.
How BPX can help
With more than 10 years of experience, we are a business process consulting firm with a scaling international presence. We offer high-end solutions to organisations in SOP development and implementation, process automation, business process management, and quality management systems. Given below is a snap of the framework of our services covering as-is process analysis & process documentation. Our service vision is to help organisations become process-oriented.
Revisiting Processes and Process Outcomes
At the onset, there is a necessity for absolute clarity and understanding of processes and process outcomes. Process outcomes lead to business outcomes.
If process definitions do not exist, then such processes or operations are mapped and defined first. This effort also serves as an opportunity to adjust the existing processes and practices to echo the latest business and process interests.
Knowing the process outcomes is not enough. The process outcomes must also be established in comprehensive and unambiguous terms.
As-Is Processes and Practices: How to do an as-is analysis
Our next step is mapping and defining the existing processes and practices. The workflows and current business practices and standards are identified and defined for every process, operation and activity as per the complexities involved. Resources currently required to complete processes are also identified. The clarity of roles, responsibilities, reporting, and supervision in existing business process diagrams or frameworks is established.
Our as-is analysis methodology includes the use of surveys, questionnaires, and brainstorming with clients or their business representatives for the collection of insights and information from all corners of an organisation structure.
Process Gap Analysis
In process gap analysis, we scrutinise the existing business processes and practices in light of the intended process outcomes established earlier. The goal here is to detect the gaps between how a process is currently carried out and how good it is in achieving the intended process outcomes. In other words, the shortcomings of the as-is processes are identified here. These gaps are addressed in the later stages.
Development of To-Be Processes
After process gap analysis, our team works on developing the new process workflows or the to-be processes. The intended process outcomes and deviations in the existing practices are rectified here. The new process definitions are developed using Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) reflecting the new operational standards and specifications. This task is executed by the team of BPX’s expert SOP writing consultants. The specific business and functional requirements are duly taken into consideration. SOP-defined workflows also provide the groundwork for process automation and process standardisation.
Many times the skills and competencies are detailed in job analysis but these details are not aligned with the process requirements. Mapping the abilities as per the actual process requirements is more important than doing it simply based on any other standard. Here, we map the skill and competency requirements as per the revised and redefined process and operational requirements. This assessment becomes even more important in cases where the objective of as-is process analysis and documentation is to implement process automation and digitisation.
Road to Process Automation
We also offer planning and implementation assistance in the adoption of process automation. Going beyond routine process definitions, we also carry out process design and development in light of process automation and digitisation. We assist organisations in identifying, customising, and implementing the best-fit process automation solutions for their processes and operations. We also assist them in vendor search and selection, software product customisation, and ERP implementation.
Implementing new or altered processes is often laced with operational slowdown and resistance. Operational slowdown emerging from hiccups in embracing new ways of working can be addressed by SOP training and support. To deal with resistance, a certain degree of planning for change management becomes necessary.
Here, our team identifies and sketches the new organisational demands and redesigns the organogram as necessitated by new process definitions or process improvisations. Our team of process consultants assesses the new staffing requirements. Job analysis is carried out in light of the new operational framework. The financial and commercial assessments for the entire exercise are also prepared. Internal rebranding and communications find a prerogative in our action plans. This helps keep miscommunications or misconceptions at bay.
To know more about our as-is process analysis and documentation consulting services or if you want any service-related query addressed by one of our business process consultants, drop us a message and we will reach out to you.
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As-is analysis is the study of existing business processes in their prevalent or existing states. In other words, it is the determination of how a process is currently executed.
- As-is process analysis is an early necessity in the efforts of bringing process automation and digitisation.
- Another important purpose of as-is process analysis is to identify process improvisation areas and remove deviations from business processes and operations.
- As-is process analysis becomes necessary when changes are required in processes that are complex and extensive.
- A silent but profound significance of as-is process analysis is that it reflects the ground reality of actual business processes and operations.
As-is process is a reflection of the workflows or ways of working as they are currently practised.
To-be process is how a task or operation needs to be carried out.
The lack of process orientation or shortcomings in it is one of the foremost challenges in as-is process analysis & documentation. An enterprise not having well-defined processes is a manageable affair but what is far more unfavourable is not being process-oriented at all.
As-is process analysis & documentation is a massive and time-consuming exercise. It involves the collection and processing of large volumes of data and insights on existing processes and practices.
As-is process analysis & documentation demands a certain level of experience and expertise. It is not a routine activity for organisations and thus, special internal resources required for such one-off tasks are usually not retained by organisations.