AS-IS vs TO-BE: Understanding the Two Stages of RPA Implementation

In the realm of robotic process automation (RPA), the terms AS-IS and To-Be hold significant importance, representing two crucial phases in the automation journey.

AS-IS and To-Be are two critical stages in the implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) projects. These stages help organizations analyze, design, and optimize their processes.

Introduction: Start with a hook that emphasizes the growing importance of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in streamlining business operations. Introduce the concept of AS-IS and To-Be stages in RPA implementation and highlight their significance in optimizing workflows.

Let’s explore each stage in detail: Understanding the distinction between these two stages is essential for effective RPA implementation and achieving desired outcomes.

1. AS-IS Stage: Understanding Your Current State

The As Is process shows your current processes - what your organization currently does.

The AS-IS phase, also known as the current state analysis, involves a thorough examination of the existing manual process being performed by human operators.

It’s about understanding the current steps, manual tasks, and workflow involved in the process. This phase entails meticulously documenting the current process, identifying bottlenecks, and analyzing inefficiencies.

  • Discuss the importance of analyzing and documenting existing processes. Highlight how this phase involves detailed examination and mapping of workflows.
  • Explain the significance of identifying inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and manual tasks in the current processes. Emphasize the role of data collection in establishing benchmarks for improvement

Key aspects of the AS-IS phase include:

  • Mapping the process: Creating a visual representation of the process, identifying all steps, decision points, and interactions with systems.
  • Identifying manual tasks: Pinpointing the tasks that are currently performed manually by human operators.
  • Analyzing inefficiencies: Uncovering areas where the process is inefficient, time-consuming, or prone to errors.
  • Documenting process details: Capturing all relevant information about the process, including timings, inputs, outputs, and potential risks.

2. To-Be Stage: Envisioning the Automated Future

The To Be process shows your proposed future processes - what your organization plans to do.

The To-Be phase, also known as the future state design, marks the transition from the current manual process to the envisioned automated workflow. It involves designing the ideal automated process, outlining the steps that will be handled by the robot, and identifying potential improvements and optimizations.

  • Discuss how the To-Be stage involves redesigning processes to optimize and automate tasks using RPA. Highlight the need to eliminate redundancies and streamline workflows.
  • Explain the process of defining specific RPA requirements based on the redesigned processes. Address the importance of selecting suitable RPA tools and technologies.

Implementation and Beyond: Bringing To-Be into Reality

Technology Selection: Discuss considerations for selecting RPA tools, including scalability, security, and compatibility.

  • Development and Implementation: Explain the actual development, testing, and deployment of RPA bots to perform automated tasks.
  • Testing and Validation: Highlight the significance of rigorous testing and validation to ensure the accuracy and reliability of RPA solutions.

Key aspects of the To-Be phase include:

  • Defining automation scope: Determining the specific tasks and processes that will be automated by RPA.
  • Designing the automated workflow: Outlining the steps, interactions, and decision points for the automated process.
  • Identifying improvements: Optimizing the process for efficiency, accuracy, and scalability.
  • Documenting the To-Be process: Creating a comprehensive plan for the automated process, including timings, expected outcomes, and potential challenges.

The AS-IS to To-Be Transformation

The AS-IS analysis serves as the foundation for developing the To-Be automation solution. By understanding the current process, RPA developers can identify areas for automation, eliminate unnecessary steps, and ensure the robot seamlessly integrates with the existing system. The goal is to transform the AS-IS process into a more efficient, streamlined, and automated To-Be process.

Why As Is - To Be Matters

Naturally, not every business requires an in-depth analysis of the As Is and the To Be. But here are a few example scenarios when analysing your As Is processes is particularly necessary:

  • It is known that issues with the current state exist. These issues could have been reported by employees or customers (such as frustrated customers, bad service, delays, financial difficulties, etc.)
  • Your system has customers or business users confused about the correct steps to take in order to complete a business process
  • You are interested in automating your present business processes
  • Your business processes are not well enough documented
  • Your business processes are not streamlined across different departments of the organisations
  • You want to create a functioning business activity model
  • You want to move from a paper-based to a mobile process mapping solution

Benefits of the AS-IS vs To-Be Approach:

  • Identifies automation opportunities: Accurately pinpoints areas where RPA can bring significant benefits.
  • Streamlines processes: Eliminates redundant steps and optimizes workflow for efficiency.
  • Reduces manual intervention: Minimizes human involvement, reducing errors and improving consistency.
  • Enhances productivity: Automates repetitive tasks, freeing up human resources for higher-value activities.
  • Improves accuracy: Robots perform tasks with greater precision, reducing errors and ensuring data integrity.
  • Enhances scalability: Automated processes can easily scale to meet changing demands without compromising quality.

As-is refers to what currently the human operator is doing, step by step, screen by screen. Usually it’s the business analyst and the human operator that fill in and validate this part.

To-be refers to the process to be automated; the solution architect or developer or a technical business analyst can fill in this part.

Why would there be a difference between as-is and to be ?

The Robot has some facilities, and do not need to do exactly the same steps as a human being.


  • The human being needs to open “Outlook”, then click “New Mail”, then write the mail, chose the senders
  • The bot does not need to do all these human being steps, he only needs to know who to send and if attached files are necessary.

But sometimes, the as-is and to-be are the same. And sometimes there is no as-is, because it’s a new process, and thus no human being was doing it before.

Let us know if it’s still unclear !

In conclusion, the AS-IS and To-Be phases play a critical role in the successful implementation of RPA. By thoroughly understanding the current process and carefully designing the automated future, organizations can reap the numerous benefits of robotic process automation, transforming their operations and achieving new levels of efficiency, productivity, and accuracy.

Call to Action: Encourage readers to share their experiences with RPA implementation or ask questions to engage them in a discussion about their own automation endeavors.

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