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Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: A Comprehensive Comparison

9 min read

January 3, 2024

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: A Comprehensive Comparison

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Article Author

Pavel Tereshko

CEO, Head of Development

Choosing between project outsourcing and staff augmentation depends on various factors, including the nature of the project, budget considerations, and your organization's specific needs. Here's a short guideline to help you make an informed decision:

Project Outsourcing vs. Staff Augmentation: How to Choose?

IT outsourcing

Staff augmentation

Project complexity

For well-defined, standalone projects

For ongoing projects with changing requirements

Budget

Fixed costs, providing budget predictability. Initial costs might be higher. However, it can lead to long-term savings

More flexible budgeting based on resource needs. Can be cost-effective for short-term or fluctuating resource requirements

Project duration

Commonly used for both short-term and long-term projects, depending on the complexity and scope

More flexible for long-term projects or dynamic projects with changing requirements

Training and onboarding

The outsourcing partner typically handles training and onboarding efforts

Requires in-house training and onboarding efforts, but integration is usually smoother

Control and management

Transfers more responsibility to the external team

Maintains direct control over the augmented team's work and tasks

Scalability

Scalable, but changes in project scope may require renegotiation and additional costs

Highly scalable, allowing for quickly adding or reducing team members as needed

Knowledge transfer

May result in knowledge gaps as the external team may not be fully integrated into the organization

Facilitates knowledge retention within the organization as augmented staff work alongside the in-house team

Risk management

May involve a higher level of risk as control is partially on the outsourcing partner’s side

Potentially less risky and gives more control, especially for businesses with lower risk tolerance

To Sum Up

Several factors influence the choice between IT outsourcing and staff augmentation. These are risk tolerance, project requirements, goals, etc. Staff augmentation provides flexibility and control for continuing projects with changing demands. Outsourcing may be appropriate for well-defined projects that need specialized capabilities.

It's critical to thoroughly weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each model, given the particulars of the company and the project at hand. Do you have any concerns regarding these collaboration strategies? Or do you need help selecting the best one for your company? Please contact the byVoice team. We will be happy to help you make an informed decision.

In outsourcing, communication between the client and the service provider follows a client-manager-project team model. All matters are discussed between the client company and the manager of the contracting company. Then, the project manager assigns tasks and monitors their execution.

However, business process outsourcing and people outsourcing are two different things. In the first case, specific tasks are delegated to one of the teams. In the second one, the contracting team manages an entire segment of work within the client company.

Pros and Cons of Project Outsourcing

IT outsourcing providers offer the following range of services:

Designing, coding, testing, and deploying software solutions tailored to the client's requirements.

Managing and maintaining the client's IT infrastructure, including servers, networks, and databases; providing ongoing support, updates, and maintenance for existing software applications.

Implementing security measures to protect the client's data and systems.

Analyzing and interpreting data to provide insights for informed decision-making.

Providing professional guidance on various IT aspects.

What strategic value for your company is?

You can shorten project timelines and time to market with a partner's skills and experience.

Faster time to market

Certain company risks can be distributed by splitting duties with an outsourcing partner. Outsourcing providers often have expertise in risk mitigation and compliance.

Risk management

The outsourcing provider assumes non-essential tasks like software development or IT maintenance. Thus, you can focus on your primary business operations.

Focus on core competencies

Outsourcing partners stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. It means you can adopt innovative solutions without extensive in-house research and development.

Innovation and technology adoption

Managing an in-house IT team can be resource-intensive. You can reduce costs for hiring, onboarding, and managing IT staff.

Reduced management overhead

benefits staff augmentation

Сompanies can benefit from IT outsourcing services in the following ways:

What can prevent success?

There's a risk of compromised quality if the outsourcing partner meets different standards than the in-house team. Lack of control over the outsourcing process can lead to subpar results.

Quality concerns

Businesses can lose control over particular projects or process elements. This can be a source of difficulties, especially for critical functions.

Loss of control

On the one hand, outsourcing can lead to cost savings. However, no one is safe from hidden costs or price increases.

Hidden costs

The drawbacks of this approach largely overlap with staff augmentation disadvantages. Besides mentioned above, we can also add the following:

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Avoid All These Issues with the byVoice Expert Team

Let's Start from the Base: What is Staff Augmentation and IT Outsourcing?

IT outsourcing means transferring software development to a third party. For instance, when the customer lacks an in-house development team. According to Statista, in 2021, the total revenue from IT outsourcing reached $351 billion, and the COVID-19-related restrictions only spurred the demand for this service.

But what would happen if the company had the staff in place but lacked the technology or knowledge needed? It can expand the team using an external provider’s assistance. This type of collaboration is known as IT staff augmentation. Despite being a relatively new concept, IT staff augmentation has already accounted for a significant market share. 

What does the choice depend on? On your team size, project goals, business requirements, and many other aspects. Making the best decision requires an understanding of your particular circumstances. Let's delve into the considerations to help you navigate the decision-making process.

Staff Augmentation vs. Project Outsourcing: What to Choose?

Staff Augmentation Project Outsourcing

Here, the client hires a third-party company's team. Hired experts execute particular services and activities or implement projects. The client retains the task assignments and supervises the work. Meanwhile, the payment of salaries and provision of necessary equipment and workspace remain under the control of the third-party company.

Staff augmentation providers can offer the following range of services:

Benefits and Pitfalls of Staff Augmentation

They assist in recruitment, ensuring the client gains access to skilled professionals. Providers manage the onboarding process. Additionally, they facilitate smooth integration into the client's team.

Providers take care of payroll responsibilities, including salary payments, tax deductions, and other financial aspects, relieving the client company of administrative burdens.

Staff augmentation providers offer workspace and provide the necessary equipment to employees.

Such companies may implement systems for performance tracking, allowing clients to monitor the progress and productivity of the staff engaged.

Providers handle legal compliance matters, ensuring that all employment-related regulations, including labor laws and contractual obligations, are adhered to.

How you can benefit

You can avoid the expenses associated with recruitment, onboarding, benefits, and long-term commitments, paying only for the skills and time they need. You also don't have to provide office space, equipment, or other infrastructure.

Cost savings

Staff augmentation allows companies to quickly access diverse specialized skills. This is particularly beneficial for short-term projects that require expertise absent in the in-house team.

Specialized skills access

In such a model, companies have complete control over the development process. You can define their requirements and oversee the development process, ensuring an end product meets your business requirements.

Complete control over the development process

Staff augmentation provides the flexibility to adjust the team size and composition, ensuring optimal resource utilization. It also allows you to hire experts with the newest abilities and knowledge.

High flexibility and scalability

Staff augmentation benefits

What pitfalls you can face

Distance and potential language barriers between the in-house team and augmented staff, mainly if located offshore, can lead to communication challenges. Effective collaboration may require extra effort.

Communication challenges

Relying heavily on external providers for critical tasks may create dependency issues. When there are changes in external resources or as the project phases shift, this dependency may cause problems.

Dependency on external providers

Sharing sensitive information with external resources raises security concerns. Businesses must implement strong security measures to protect sensitive data.

Security concerns

There is always a risk of a mismatch between the skills of augmented staff and the actual project requirements. This can lead to inefficiencies and the need for additional training.

Potential skill mismatch

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Want to Extend Your IT Team and Be Sure That Hired Experts Match Your Requirements?

What is crucial for achieving positive business results? Success consists of many factors. Foremost, professionals in a specific field must carry out every process without exception. However, maintaining an expert team for each process is not budget-friendly.

The most significant cost is the combination of salary and benefits. IT salaries can fluctuate depending on the following:

Location

Experience

Skill demands and other factors

The following chart illustrates how developer salaries differ by country: 

TOP 10 Countries that Offer the Highest Salaries

The concept of a "general-purpose IT technician" is not entirely realistic. Most skilled IT professionals, the kind you'd ideally want to bring on board, have realized that specialization is the key to a more fulfilling job and a more lucrative salary.

IT engineers typically concentrate on specific domains such as the following:

They prefer to expand their expertise in one or two areas and choose appropriate roles. Consequently, locating an IT professional who excels in all these areas, a "jack-of-all-trades," can be exceptionally challenging for supporting your business.

And don’t forget about tools! Establishing an IT department goes beyond merely recruiting individuals to fill positions. It necessitates providing these individuals with the requisite tools and implementing proven processes for tasks ranging from handling help desk tickets to executing server upgrades.

Now, a logical question arises: what should companies do if they don’t have such budgets? For example, small and medium businesses. They can use staff augmentation or outsourcing services. 

IT outsourcing and IT staff augmentation are two terms that imply the utilization of services from external IT organizations. Due to their similar purposes, both concepts are often considered synonymous, or staff augmentation is assumed to be a derivative of outsourcing.

However, these are two distinct categories of services. What do IT outsourcing and staff augmentation encompass, what are the pros and cons of each system, and how do they differ? Read on in the article.

Infrastructure

Networking

Cybersecurity

Client support, etc.

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1. Day-to-day management to ensure prompt issue resolution and user satisfaction.

2. Executive leadership to guarantee that the IT department aligns with the broader business needs of the company.

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