To be or not to be

To be or not to be | Greenlight Blog | Jersey, Guernsey, Channel Islands


When it comes to business analysis the immediate task is to understand where you currently are, to define the ‘as is’. It is vitally important that you understand the current state, in order to define what should change, what can be improved and ultimately what the to-be will look like.

The ‘to be’ term can simply be defined as a desired way of achieving something. By proposing the ‘to be’ it persuades the acceptance of change and motivates those involved to work towards a common goal. A visual ‘to be’ is a powerful tool for sharing an idea with those who are involved in the current state and outlining at a high level how improvement can be made together with its impact.

Kimberley used the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle to help explain the role of the business analyst. Taking this analogy further your ‘to be’ could be the box cover and, as an analyst, the pieces that are yet to be arranged are the deliverables to reach your full picture. 

Defining the ‘to be’

At some point the ‘as is’ process was defined as the ‘best way to do things’, therefore this has to be appreciated and understood. For the user, the current way works, however as an analyst, it is our job to challenge this and identify improvements. Each step of any process will be evaluated, drawing focus to the step and its necessity. Is there an alternative way? Is it better? Why isn’t it being used? Methods such as root cause analysis can identify existing problems at their core, and support the development of future evidence based solutions. It is then that a ‘to be’ begins to be visualised and, whether it’s aspirational or realistic, it will encourage reconsideration of the ‘as is’ by igniting a desire to improve.

Recognising the ‘to be’

The ‘to be’ is in our every day life and it is in our nature to advance. There is a ‘to be’ market share, a ‘to be’ salary, a ‘to be’ waistline! Anyone and everyone will acknowledge that with the right improvements and with changes to their ‘as is’, that there is a ‘to be’ that can be achieved. The ‘to be’ has the potential to attract attention and share the vision however it takes a large amount of in-depth analysis to get there. Defining the road-map to reach the ‘to-be’ state is vital for effective change to be delivered, and managing any deviations and change requests along the way is a challenge they must face.

Achieving the ‘to be’

The analyst’s approach to change has to be considerate of those who are making it. Change management is complex to execute as its purpose is to suggest a different way of doing something to someone who is competent with the existing way, even if they recognise it isn’t the best way. By proposing improvement plans it suggests that the old way, which may have consumed years of time to learn, will be disregarded and replaced with something entirely new to learn - this isn’t true. Change is not a replacement; it’s a modification of process elements that are no longer as efficient as possible. The ‘to be’ vision should be communicated at every stage, fronting the improvement steps, to demonstrate the benefit of each change and the progress towards the ultimate ‘to be’.

Realising the ‘to be’

Often there are setbacks which can alter the ability to reach the end goal but whether you have made one change or ten, it’s an improvement after all. The potential way that has been proposed has exposed a would-be scenario and any change that has been accepted or made, has achieved the main objective of a ‘to be’. Challenges can and will arise, rejection to change and scepticism can push doubt into the reality of reaching a ‘to be’ state. However, by having the ultimate ‘to be’ vision it will motivate the drive towards this goal.

Creating a powerful ‘to be’ is a process in itself. It starts from analysing the ‘as is’, identifying the steps that can be improved, defining the ultimate ‘to be’ and reiterating the future state throughout.  Defining the ‘to-be’ is the easy part, the journey to get there is the challenge…

Charly Brunsdon | Greenlight Blog | Jersey, Guernsey, Channel Islands

About the Author

Charly joined Greenlight after completing her International Business Management degree at Plymouth University. She is fast becoming a business process expert, delivering catalogues both internally and on client site.

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