A Look at Staff Augmentation vs an Outsourcing Model for IT and Tech Staffing

You’ve just emerged from a meeting with a few of your lead project managers and one thing is very clear: you need more resources to meet your project goals and deadlines. As a manager, you’re faced with some challenging decisions. Do you hire new part-time or full-time staff? Do you outsource the entire project to a third-party service provider by hiring an onshore or offshore outsourcing firm? Or do you opt for staff augmentation, calling in temporary on-site staff to supplement your company’s talented tech team?

In many cases, a long-term hire just doesn’t make sense, particularly if you don’t have sufficient work to keep them consistently busy. So that means you’re left with two possibilities: send the work out to an onshore or offshore service provider or you can pull temporary staff into your tech division.

Often, the decision isn’t even that black and white. In the IT and tech staffing world, traditional staff augmentation and the outsourcing model can co-exist, meeting the company’s needs in an effective way. So how does staff augmentation compare to managed services, and how do these staffing models impact your tech and software development projects?

The Managed Services Model for Tech Staffing

Outsourcing can accomplish the objectives of cutting costs, increasing value and improving the quality of the work that you receive.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, outsourcing certainly does have its place in the tech industry. Some of the main advantages of this approach include the following:

  • The outsourcing model is very hands-off for the client who hires the service provider. You essentially give them the project specs, answer any questions and their team will take the ball and run. This allows your company to move on and focus on other matters.
  • A third party can be a great source of knowledge and ideas, whether it’s a single project or something that impacts your company’s daily operations. An outsider can often see things that you can’t, and this new perspective can be quite beneficial.
  • There is a defined timeframe and budget associated with the project, paired with a greater sense of accountability, making it a bit less likely that you’ll see time or budget overruns. In-house projects are often handled in a far more nebulous manner, with little attention paid to the time investments and spec changes that ultimately result in scope creep. As a result, company leaders may not know precisely how much time and money has been spent working on a specific project. This can make future project management and budgetary planning more challenging. Managed services allow you to sidestep this type of challenge with a pre-defined project scope, budget and time frame.

The primary challenge with outsourcing is that you’re sending the entire project off-site to a third-party service provider. In this scenario, you have far less control over the project and ultimately, the final outcome. In some niches and industries, there may also be concerns over sensitive data and intellectual property. It’s not uncommon to encounter super-confidential tech projects that involve highly-proprietary technology or private corporate and personal data.

To compound matters, intellectual property laws and even contract disputes can be a nightmare when you have parties in different regions of the United States. It becomes infinitely more complex when those parties are in different areas of the world, as is often the case. So if things go wrong, they may go very wrong. Finding a legal solution could be extremely costly and logistically complex.

Many companies outsource projects that they could have largely handled in-house. It’s not uncommon for a company to find that it has the resources to complete some but not all of the phases of a project. For them, it makes more sense to use their more affordable in-house resources for most of the project. Then they can call in resources to fill in the blanks, so to speak. That’s where staff augmentation comes into play.

Is a Staff Augmentation Model Right for Your Company?

The staff augmentation approach entails more or less the opposite of outsourcing, as you’re bringing staff on-site to work side-by-side with your team members. Temporary staffing can be a great option for companies that are seeking a high degree of flexibility for their tech projects, without overspending on those resources.

Here are some of the ins and outs of using a staff augmentation approach:

  • Reduced staffing costs are a major benefit of this staffing model, particularly if you leverage the services of a tech staffing firm that handles the entire recruiting, vetting and hiring process on your behalf.
  • Companies enjoy greater flexibility in terms of project management, especially when it comes to the types of projects that you can handle in-house and your ability to accept new projects, particularly those that are excessively large or require a fast turnaround.
  • You’ll have access to consulting and advice that can benefit your project management team and your operations as a whole. Many tech staffing firms also offer consulting services and guidance that will help you make the most of your in-house talent, while strategically selecting the right supplementary staff to meet your immediate and near-term needs. Your in-house staff can also gain great practical and tech knowledge from the temporary staff embedded in their midst.
  • You will see a reduced implementation timeframe and minimal impact on projects since your core team members will remain intact. You won’t need to worry about lengthy onboarding processes or even educating a new team member on the fine points of company policies. Instead, staff augmentation allows you to pull in temporary staff who can work on-site for a single project, and in most cases, get to work straight away. You can avoid the days- or weeks-long gap that’s commonly present between an individual’s hire date and the point when the worker reaches his or her maximum productivity level. Similarly, temporary team members typically depart with minimal fanfare and virtually no disruption, a far cry from the upset that can arise when a part-time or full-time team member departs your company.

The staff augmentation model is widely favored because the downsides are few and far between. The only real scenario that you must actively guard against is a situation where you consistently hire temporary talent and as a result, project managers may fail to realize that they could benefit from one or more permanent part-time or full-time hires. But this issue can be avoided with a bit of active awareness.

Turning to an experienced tech staffing services company also gives you an advantage when it comes to the actual recruiting and hiring process, as you won’t need to tap your company’s HR and tech resources in an effort to find the right tech experts for your exact project and your unique company. Your staffing provider handles all of this on your behalf.

At iTech, we are experts in staff augmentation and have many years of experience consulting on IT and tech issues. This provides companies with the insight they need to hire talent with the tech skills and soft skills that will help clients achieve their goals. With offices in South Burlington, Vermont and Dallas, Texas, iTech also has presences in other regions of the country, and beyond, including Canada and India. So if you’re ready to take your tech projects to the next level and need the right staff for the job, contact the iTech team today.

Ready to find out if our IT and tech staffing services are right for your company’s needs?

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