Mirrored Capacity: A Capability Development Strategy to Ease the Pressure of Maintaining Current IT Infrastructure while Embarking on a Digital Transformation Journey

Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
Brian Trout
Executive Vice President, Sales
30 June 2023

Increasingly, enterprises are operating with mandates to innovate, yet they have limited internal IT resource capacity with finite domain expertise. Understandably, when modernizing your technology infrastructure, you’ll want to bring the most talented and experienced of your in-house experts along on the journey. With their insight into your overarching strategic objectives and existing business processes and a detailed understanding of your current architecture, they are invaluable assets to the new program. However, you can’t suddenly uproot scores of people from their existing roles and transplant them into new ones. It would create a huge void in day-to-day operations, leaving no one to maintain and make incremental advancements to your current system over the months or years it might take to stand up the new one.

Somebody needs to keep the lights on, after all.

Directly hiring into either the new roles or the existing one comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which is the burden on your internal human resources and IT teams to find and vet the talent.  Adding to the complexity is how limited the specialized IT labor supply chain is—it takes deep understanding of the technologies and years of relationship building to develop a pipeline—internal teams simply don’t have the domain expertise or time. And if you were able to direct hire, you would be doing so knowing that those positions may soon be obsolete.

This is a scenario we have seen many times at Baer, and working in close partnership with our clients, we have honed in on a solution: a mirrored capacity strategy. Building mirrored capacity entails bringing in contract labor prior to the launch of your innovation initiative. This strategy allows time for your contingent labor to learn the baseline configuration of your systems and customized processes they may need to support, as well as learn the nuances and culture related to how your business runs.

Once your investment in the new initiative is approved, your key internal best athletes can transition as committed FTEs focused on next-generation innovation while your current business continues to run smoothly through the efforts of the mirrored, contingent resources. In an ideal setting, some of those contingent resources will bring recent experience in the new technologies you are implementing, can offer outside perspectives, and are open to transition to permanent hire as needed.

To maximize the effectiveness of a mirrored capacity strategy here are some critical components to consider:

  • Team up with an enterprise performance partner who understands the strategic directive of your initiative, has proven expertise in the types of technologies at the core of it, and can efficiently build and scale skilled teams who can help you realize the full potential of your enterprise technology investment and achieve your business goals. Technology transformation initiatives are long-term projects, so be sure the partner can commit to supporting your enterprise over the course of years—it will save you time and they will be more invested in the outcome.
  • Begin bringing in contract labor early, several months before you begin working on the modernization initiative and have them work side-by-side with your current team to learn about your legacy systems and processes. Essentially, these people will mirror the capacity of your internal team, providing stability and continuity in day-to-management of your existing systems while enabling you to place some of your existing team into leadership roles within the new program.
  • Ask your enterprise performance partner to identify contract labor who also has expertise in the new technologies so they can play a dual role—they will be able to maintain the integrity of your existing architecture because they’ve been given the runway to learn it, and you can leverage their insights on the new technology as needed. As an added advantage, by contributing directly to shaping the new architecture, they will be more invested in it which has the potential to pay dividends once the new architecture is in place, if you’re considering converting some of your contract roles to full time employees to maintain it.
  • Lean into your enterprise performance partner for surge capacity – As you launch your modernization initiative, you will have already established a relationship with your enterprise performance partner so they will have a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve and of the new technologies you will be implementing. Then, at the outset of the transformation initiative, they can bring their previous experience staffing similar projects to bear to identify the most qualified resources with proven expertise in keeping with the specific nature of your program. Later, when the initiative is in full swing, they can help you supplement your team with specialized surge capacity expertise on an as-needed basis.

If you have chosen an enterprise performance partner that is open to transitioning contract labor to full-time roles, an approach Baer provides, as the transformation initiative launches and you are sunsetting your legacy systems, you will have the added advantage of being able to permanently hire the most skilled expertise from your contract labor to maintain the new systems. Keep in mind that if this is something you anticipate wanting to do, and you will ultimately want those resources to be available on site, your enterprise performance partner needs to know this up front. That way, they can take a localized approach when sourcing expertise as well as ensure that the talent they source is open to this type of transition.

About Baer

Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise technology transformation initiatives and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.

To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, btrout@baergroup.com, Executive Vice President, Sales, or John Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, at jwilson@baergroup.com.

We look forward to speaking with you and learning about your specific challenges.

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