What Good is the "As-is"?


Adrian Marchis at Modern Analyst wrote a helpful article on process mapping in which he describes, among other things, diagramming the “as-is” process as part of the overall process mapping exercise.

A very interesting and active discussion has followed the initial comment to the post made by John Owens stating:

One of the major errors taken in business analysis and modeling is that of modeling the “As Is”, then the “To Be” and then trying to plot a trail from the one to the other. This approach is hugely wasteful of time, money and peoples’ goodwill. Most modeling projects run in this way take so long to deliver results that they fail.

My take? I commented that I think there can be value in comparing as-is and to-be models to highlight the benefits of the proposed changes. I also think that an as-is model provides a contextual baseline (gets you on the same page) when dealing with stakeholders across business silos. That said, I am an advocate of not doing work that no one will use and no one is waiting on to complete their work. So when that is the case, by all means, skip the as-is.

Since that initial interaction, Owens, Marchis and several others have weighed in with well-reasoned comments over the value – or lack thereof – of the “as-is”.  Scott Sehlhorst (@sehlhorst) and David Wright (@dwwright99) have also provided their “two-cents”  just to name a couple gentlemen readers of this blog will probably recognize.

What do you think about documenting the as-is process? Valuable, or waste of time?

Before weighing in, I’d encourage you to go read the comments on the original post.

While we’re on the topic, do check out John Owens’ site, where he has posted on the discussion as well. He has some very interesting insights and material available on business systems analysis and business and data modeling.

Being able to learn from great posts like Adrian’s, and interaction between folks like David, Scott, John and others who know what they’re doing and have been doing it for a long time is one of my favorite things about the BA blogosphere. Read up!


About the Author

Jonathan Babcock is a management and IT consultant with expertise in business analysis, process optimization and solution delivery methodology. Practical Analyst is his outlet for sharing what he's learned, and for interacting with solution delivery professionals across the globe.

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  1. What an enlightening thread that was. I posted direct comments there, but I want to thank you for bringing the whole thing to light. I missed the original post. The theory presented by John Ownes has really thrown me for a loop, and I really want to know about what drove him to the point he is at.

    Imagine the cost savings achieved by removing the As-Is portion and just digging into the To-Be. Definitely worth researching.


  2. Glad to have been able to point it out to you, Doug. As of about an hour ago, the conversation was still going strong, too!

    By the way, I looked at your flashcards – pretty useful stuff! Thanks for sharing those. I may mooch them a bit when it comes time to start really studying. I think I've pretty much decided that I'll wait for the v2.0 CBAP exam. I'm in no rush.

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