A Complete Guide to AS IS and TO BE Process Mapping


Key Takeaways

  • Using AS IS and TO BE process helps you visualise and improve each process 
  • Mapping improves communication  on` who does what, when & where`
  • Maps increase understanding of the sequence of steps in a process
  • Process maps are a precursor to automating manual, paper-based processes

The Basics of Process Mapping

Process mapping is the use of visual tools to show the steps in a process and how they relate to one another. A process map shows the sequence of steps so that you can see how processes start, how they proceed, and how they end. For example, an organisation might have a specific process for winning work:


  • The first step in your process could be receiving an invitation to tender 
  • The next step could be whether to prepare the bid or not
  • Finally, if the bid was submitted, the process could end with someone being required to draw up a starting contract

Making a process map allows you to visualise all these steps at once instead of trying to remember them one at a time.

Example of a Visio process map within the Agility System
Example of a flowchart process map within the Agility System

What Is An AS IS Process Map?

The current state of a process, or what is currently happening, is known as the AS IS state. To create an AS IS map, you gather information about the current process and document it. This includes all the steps involved and how long each step takes. You can map these steps manually on a piece of paper or whiteboard with symbols, or you can use software to create your map.


This creates a visual representation that shows exactly how the process works today, what decisions must be made and how long each step takes. The ultimate goal of an AS IS map is to identify problems in your current process so that you can make improvements to it in the future.

Why Do You Need It?

It’s important to know the benefits of implementing AS IS process maps and how they will affect your organisation. There are several reasons ‌you need AS IS process mapping, including:


  • To identify areas of waste
  • To identify areas of inefficiencies
  • To identify areas of high risk
  • To identify areas of high cost
  • To identify areas of low performance
  • To identify areas of failure
  • To identify areas of bottlenecks

How to Create an AS IS Process Map

If you are new to process mapping and documentation, we recommend reading our step-by-step guide to creating a process map which covers creating a process map in much more depth. The key things to remember are: 


Identify scope: You should first identify the scope of your process. Having a smaller scope will help you focus on learning how the AS IS map is put together without getting bogged down in the details of more complex processes


Talk to stakeholders: Once you have identified the scope of your process, talk to stakeholders and experts in that area to get their input on what steps should be included in your AS IS map


Keep it simple! Don’t write a novel by adding too much information or too many details. After all, this is only the first step toward creating your AS IS process maps—you will collect details as you work through these other steps

One basic rule to keep in mind when creating an AS IS process map – usse swim lane diagrams for clarity about `who does, where and when` information flows

A swim-lane process map from the Agility System showing the steps of a recruitment process
Recruitment swim-lane process map

What Is a TO BE Process Map?

A TO BE process map is used to define the way things could be done.


You may ask: why would I want to use a TO BE process map when I already have a clear picture in my head of how things should be done? The answer is that you may not have thought about everything and there could potentially be parts of the process that you haven’t visualised, or even worse, are ignoring. 

How to Create a TO BE Process Map

To create a TO BE process map, you need to take the following steps:


  • Understand the performance of the current process
  • Identify the improvements that should be designed into the process
  • Test your new processes with small groups or departments of people who are involved in making it work on a daily basis, and get feedback from them about what worked well and what didn’t work well so far, according to their experience performing the functions of this department or role within your company or business at large
  • Implement your new processes by rolling it out across all departments that will need access to this information moving forward (e.g., sales teams who may need access as customers start calling in)

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Use Cases for TO BE Process Maps

  • TO BE process maps help you see the big picture
  • It’s a good idea to map out the ideal process before starting on a project. You should get this part done first, because it will help make subsequent steps easier
  • Once you have your TO BE process mapped out, you can compare it to your AS IS state as well as other TO BE possibilities. You’ll be able to see which areas need work and which could be eliminated altogether.
  • Mapping out a TO BE process can also help identify bottlenecks that slow down the workflow or areas where productivity is unusually high. That way, you’ll know what needs improvement so that the final product is efficient and effective.
  • Identifying opportunities for automation is another thing TO BE process maps are great for. For example, if there’s a task in your workflow that involves emailing every time someone fills out a contact form on your website, an automated sequence of actions could do this step for you with no human intervention required.

The difference between AS IS and TO BE process maps

AS IS and TO BE process maps both show the steps of a business process. Both types of maps also show the various departments involved in the process, as well as any external entities or suppliers. The major difference between AS IS and TO BE maps is their time frame: AS IS maps are used to map out processes that are currently being used, while TO BE process maps show how things should be done in order to reach a future state.

Both AS IS and TO BE process maps are critical parts of the process improvement journey

Both AS IS and TO BE process maps are critical parts of the process improvement journey. An AS IS map shows a current state that can be improved, whereas a TO BE map shows the desired state of the process, which is often a hybrid of the best of the AS IS and the new future state.


The Agility System contains a process mapping tool that doesn’t involve brown paper and coloured stickies. Our software can be used in live facilitated process mapping sessions that encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing across disciplines and departments. To find out more, book a free online demo. 


More insights

Picture of Peter Shields
Peter Shields
Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.
Picture of Peter Shields
Peter Shields

With extensive experience of Quality Management, Risk & Compliance in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence industries since 1979, Peter formed BusinessPort in 1996 to specialise in Process-based Management Systems delivering both Performance and Compliance.

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