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Should As-Is Modeling to be a Notifiable Disease?

Not Insanity or an Illness?

For very many years now, most rational analysts have been bewildered by the bizarre and irrational behaviour of As-Is BAs (and some senior executives) who, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that As-Is Process Modeling is a fatally flawed approach to business improvement, persist on inflicting it on enterprises everywhere.

It now appears that these poor wretched people may not be able help themselves; they may well be suffering from a deadly affliction.

Is there a Conspiracy

At some time in the past, evidence suggests that it was about 25 years ago, it seems that many large consultancies clandestinely carried out a massive brainwashing exercise on tens of thousands of BAs and executives worldwide.An As-Is business analyst suggering from MAIM (Manis As-Is Modeling) or asisitis.

These consultancies had worked out a fiendishly cunning way in which they could get enterprises to pay them twice, even three times, what they needed to be paid fro their services, by always getting them to model their As-Is business processes at the beginning of all process improvement projects.

This was no mean feat as, in order to do this, they would have to get both senior executives and BAs to shut down part of their rational brains and ignore both common sense and established rules of computing and business improvement.

How they managed to do this on such a large scale remains a mystery to this day. Did they use hallucinogenic drugs, subliminal messages through film and TV or was it spread by some organic viral infection? Nobody knows. What is clear is that the effects were very powerful and, more frighteningly, seemingly irreversible as none of these executives or BAs seem able to recover from this mania or addiction.

It is so sad and disturbing to see As-Is BAs in countries around the globe wandering aimlessly through enterprises in search of the elusive ‘To-Be’, which their brainwashing/infection tells them will always be easy to find from the As-Is – yet, as all good programmers know, it never is.

Programmers Immunity

In the early days of computing, after many fatal false starts, smarter programmers very quickly learned a fundamental and crucial rule that would ensure that their programs would always bring success to the enterprise.

This rule was (and still is), “Never computerize what is currently being done in the enterprise!” They learned this because they had experienced first hand what happens when you do – you get accelerated chaos. Chaos at electronic speed!

What was the alternative to computerizing the ‘As-Is’? Simple, they asked key members of the enterprise what ought to be happening in the enterprise and then they wrote a program that would make that happen.

This is a rule that is still followed by all successful programmers to this day.

It’s No Secret

Did programmers keep this critical insight to themselves and hide it from everyone else including executives and BAs? No, they were so proud that they had found it out that they broadcast it far and wide. It became common knowledge around the world and good IT departments everywhere realized that if they wanted to bring real value to the enterprise, then they had to analyze, model and computerize what ought to be happening in the enterprise.

Government Involvement?

The fact that this knowledge was so widely known makes the scale and breadth of the brainwashing on the executives and BAs so incredible. It wiped essential existing knowledge from people’s minds and, what is even more sinister, they seem to have been rendered incapable of ever relearning it and becoming aware of the absurdity and hopelessness of starting all of their modeling with the As-Is.

To brainwash at such a scale and to such effect has led some people to ask the question of whether or not some malevolent government power was involved. Some go even further. They say that, because executives and BAs in almost every country in the world are infected, that the perpetrators may well be extraterrestrial!

Is There an Antidote?

Commonly known as asisitis (the official name is Manic As-Is Modeling or MAIM), this affliction is now so widespread that many people think that it ought be classed as an official illness by the World Health Organization.

Is there no antidote that can stop its insidious spread? Is there no hope for the future? The good news is that there is a cure. Researchers noticed that very few programmers suffered from MAIM. They seemed to have developed a natural resistance to computerize what currently happens in an enterprise and, because of this, very few of them became infected with MAIM and the resulting addiction to irrationally model the As Is.

BFM Saves the Day

Determined to find a cure, researchers identified and analyzed those keys traits and attributes of programmers that offered them protection from MAIM. They extracted these and spliced them with the DNA of quality business analysis and modeling.BFM is the only known antidote for MAIM (Manic As-Is Modeling) or asisitis.

The outcome BFM, is probably the most powerful tonic and stimulant currently available in the business improvement and IT development worlds today.

One full dose of BFM taken at the beginning of every business improvement project enables all BAs to avoid all of the behaviors of MAIM.

BFM even works on programmers. Those programmers who avoided MAIM infection, find that the quality of their work is far higher if they take BFM at the beginning of every systems development project.

The Affliction That Lies

For many years Alcoholism has been known as “The disease that tells you that you haven’t got it”.

Well MAIM is every bit as bad. When confronted with the immense costs to enterprises of their behaviour, BAs who are afflicted with MAIM will think of every excuse imaginable, no matter how irrational, to try and justify the vast amounts of time – in many cases years of their lives – that they waste addictively modelling As-Is Processes.

More on BFM

BFM (the Business Function Model). It is completely natural and safe to use in industries of any size, in any sector for BAs and programmers of all ages. It is impossible to overdose on BFM, in fact the more you use it the more beneficial it is. It helps you to build up immunity to all of the infective behaviours that plague the worlds or business and data modelling and systems development.

BFM is manufactured by IMM can be purchased from the IMM Online Store. One purchase, when consumed and fully digested, will give you life-long immunity to MAIM and to myriad of other modelling infections and infestations.

Help Stop the Misery

MAIM does not just affect the people who are addicted to it. It also harms their colleagues and the enterprises for which these BAs work.

So, if you know of any BA who is suffering from MAIM tell them about BFM. Let them know that there is a cure. Let them know that they, and their colleagues and friends, can have a happy and highly productive life in Business Analysis.

Share this post with them by clicking on one of the social media buttons below.

Better still, help change their life. Purchase BFM for them from the IMM Online Store now.


6 Responses to “Should As-Is Modeling to be a Notifiable Disease?”

  1. Adrian Grigoriu October 28, 2013 9:55 am #

    How could you expand a house without taking into consideration its current blueprint? You may end up transforming a flat in a concert hall.

    How could you plan a proper enterprise transformation if you do not know the current organisation and processes, the current systems and technologies, the as-is capabilities with strengths and weaknesses?

    In the absence of the current architecture, the enterprise would be have to be re-designed from scratch at each and every strategic cycle.

    EA is mainly about the current enterprise state which enables the understanding, maintenance, fixing and improvement of the enterprise because the enterprise evolves incrementally rather than in revolutionary cycles.

    Besides, a target enterprise that fails to consider the current operation and technologies would make your management cringe, to put it nicely. The EA would not hold that position for long.

    • John Owens October 28, 2013 11:17 pm #

      Hi Adrian

      Thanks for your comments.

      If we were to expand the discussion to cover all of the Enterprise Architecture (EA), then, to some extent, you are right. There are some elements of the existing architecture that need to be known about and fully documented, for example existing systems, database schemas, technologies, etc. These are essential to know about for data migration, compatibility, interfacing, etc.

      However, the fact remains that the only time that you are justified in modelling the As-Is Processes is if they are not going to change!!! This is because in this situation, they are the ‘Ought To Be’ processes and need to be fully known an documented.

      I have seen far too many business improvement and EA projects fail (and many enterprises brought to the knees) because As-Is modlers spent vast amounts of time, money (always someone else’s) and goodwill modelling business processes that the enterprise was trying to get rid of.

      The latest instance of this was a postal service that has been forced to slip its critical business improvements because the EA team came from an As-Is background and insisted on modelling all of the defunct As-Is processes before they did anything else. Not surprisingly, they have lost a lot of business to the competition and are now doing a lot of ad-hoc and totally uncoordinated projects to try and catch up.

      The multi-million Enterprise Architecture, when it eventually gets completed, will be about two years out of date and will include little of the architecture of the current systems being implemented. Now, that is a team that should not hold their positions for very long. Sadly, like so many EA teams, they play on the fears of management and get away with, and perpetuate, the As-Is process lie.

      Again, thanks for your input.

      Kind regards

  2. Peck October 23, 2013 2:57 am #

    Many would argue that from the perspective of Change Management, you’d need to at least know your as-is, i.e. if you don’t know your current situation, how would you then be able to bring the organisation from where they are to where they need to be. Your thoughts?

    • John Owens October 23, 2013 4:32 am #

      Hello Peck

      A good question. The argument about building the As-Is in order to be able to later be able compare the To-Be is one of the most common reasons that As-Is modelers give for their addictive behaviour. However, it is completely spurious. Modeling As-Is processes simply produces As-Is process models. The performance of these As-Is processes is already clearly known and shown by production, sales, purchases and myriad other elements of data that are produced by the enterprise daily. When the ‘To-Be’ processes are implemented then the same data elements that are produced by them can be compared to what is produced now and a measure of comparative performance made.

      It may seem like stating the obvious, but the only way to take the enterprise to where it ought to be is to take it to where it ought to be! This means modeling and implementing it. It has nothing to do with modeling where the enterprise is now.

      If you are in London and ought to be in Paris, then spending all your time finding out about and mapping London will get you no closer to Paris. All you need is directions to the nearest airport or international railway station. No need for a map either, simply hail a taxi and tell them to take you there.

      The ONLY time that an analyst is justified in modeling As-Is business processes is when they are not going to change! If they are not going to change, it means that they are the To-Be business processes! Which actually means that there is never a time when an analyst should model the As-Is business processes!!!


  3. Richard Ordowich October 22, 2013 2:00 pm #

    Is New Always better?

    Although I would agree that as-is modeling is both onerous and backward looking I believe it does serve a purpose other than making money for consultants. The new person who comes into an organization (employee or consultant) always has the benefit of hindsight. He or she always has a better solution. But if we had a time machine and could turn the clock back, those who created the as-is environment probably had the same intentions and outlook; “we can do better than those before us”.

    Archeology is an important learning opportunity. The as-is model can be used to assess the to-be or “new, new model”. How different is the new model from the old? What limitations of the old model does it address? The as-is model is how the business currently operates after years of patches, modifications, fixes etc. It may be a mess but it does reflect the way the business operates. Whether or not they want to continue to operate in this way is the critical question. A new model will not necessarily change behaviors. They may mutate the new model to operate the way they had in the past, perhaps with devastating consequences.

    The as-is model can be used to show how the business currently operates and show how the new model will improve operations in comparison. Otherwise there is nothing to compare the new model to. Management would just have to go on faith that the new model is better. I think that is too risky.

    You don’t have to build to the as-is model, just use it for comparison purposes.

    • John Owens October 22, 2013 8:07 pm #

      Hi Richard

      Thank you for your comments.

      You have hit the nail on the head. The As-Is Process Model is always produced out of fear. It serves not useful purpose in the enterprise. As-Is modelers do it because they know of no other place to start. Even though the As-Is is the worst possible place to start As-Is modelers always insist on starting there. Until they learn a new approach they will continue to waste vast amounts of time and money (other people’s) and cripple enterprises everywhere.

      I have never come across a valid reason for building the AS-Is. Many, very many, excuses are given but no valid reasons. The argument about about building the As-Is for comparison purposes is also flawed. The performance of the As-Is is already known. It is given by the operational outputs that the enterprise produces daily. The future state model can be easily compared to this well established data.

      As-Is modelers remain completely blind to the fact that Process Modeling is NOT a primary business modeling technique. It is a secondary technique that can only be done properly after the Business Functions for the enterprise have been modeled.

      The real power of the Business Function Model (BFM) is that, unlike the Process Model, it can straightaway be used to define what the enterprise ought to be doing. When this has been done, all future state Business Processes can then be rapidly developed from the BFM.

      Until Process Modelers add this essential tool to their arsenal, they are doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over.


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