Staff Augmentation: Benefits and Examples

Offshore Development
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Staff Augmentation: Benefits and Examples

To the uninitiated, staff augmentation might sound like technobabble from a direct-to-video cyberpunk movie, and this would be completely understandable. If you use a sprinkle of imagination, you can see why. In cyberpunk, augmentation means the 'upgrade' of an organism to a better, stronger, and/or more capable version of itself. If we extrapolate this to the equally fascinating world of professional outsourcing, the purpose of staff augmentation is the creation of better, stronger, and more resilient technical teams.

There are nuances, of course, so let's find out more about the intricacies of staff augmentation in the context of professional information technology (IT) services.

What is staff augmentation in IT?

The word augment means to enlarge something, either in size, number, strength, or extent. To increase something. Augmented IT teams are larger teams. But a larger team does not necessarily mean a more effective one. In fact, it can be the opposite. Bigger teams can become unwieldy and harder to manage. Hiring too much staff can lead to duplication of skills in some areas while lacking in others, for example.

IT staff augmentation is an outsourcing recruitment strategy to hire skilled IT staff to cover the necessary positions only, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Put differently, IT staff augmentation is a surgical recruitment approach that enables the client company to extend (or reduce, depending on circumstances) its IT teams and resources according to project requirements.

Many companies offer IT staff augmentation services. In a nutshell, these companies perform a sort of gap analysis process with their client. Working together, client and service provider identify where skills and resources are needed, and the service provider hires the talent externally.

This type of 'on demand' outsourcing services is increasing in popularity, due in part to the relatively short-term nature of IT projects, and also because of the shifting priorities and needs of the modern IT professional, in relation to work-life balance, etc., and the global shortage of IT talents. 

Why choose staff augmentation?

The requirements for IT projects vary depending on many factors: project duration, its nature, the type of client, etc. Because of this sheer variation, a rigid 'one-size-fits-all' approach is not suitable. IT requires a far more flexible approach, and this is where the nuanced potential of staff augmentation really shines.

  • Enhanced flexibility to hire skilled talent (software developers, engineers, etc.) when required, and for a specified duration.
  • Cost reduction: maintaining an in-house IT team incurs costs, such as office rental fees, equipment maintenance, and staff wages. In an augmentation model, the vendor bears these costs.
  • Finding the right talent: some companies might find it difficult to find the right skills locally, due to geographical, cultural, or other reasons. Staff augmentation enables the vendor to source talent abroad, if necessary.
  • Bridging the recruitment gap: start-up companies might not have the time (or budget!) to create their own permanent IT team. Augmentation services can bridge this gap until the company is in a more solid financial position.
  • Focus on business strategy: by outsourcing their IT teams, companies can redirect resources to developing their business strategies and carve a stronger market position.

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Benefits of staff augmentation

The engagement between a client and a vendor for these types of services yields a range of immediate benefits for the client:

staff augmentation benefits
  • Full control over the project: recruitment might be done by an external, third-party vendor, but the client retains control of the project's specifications and scope.
  • Project visibility and transparency: the client maintains thorough and ongoing visibility of the project’s development process, so as the work evolves, so does the client's confidence in the team.
  • Client-centric approach: the client's requirements take center stage in an outsourcing situation, so the vendor needs to focus on fulfilling those needs and adapt to the specified parameters of the project.
  • Access to a wider range of talent: the international nature of outsourcing enables the client to enjoy a greater choice of skills.
  • Choosing the right expert: staff augmentation allows clients to pick the precise, expert professionals (software developers, engineers, and other key resources) required for their specific project. This saves time and wasted effort.
  • Full recruitment flexibility: the client enjoys a fully flexible approach to its recruitment needs, which may evolve over the lifetime of the project.

What is the difference between staff augmentation and outsourcing?

Many argue that staff augmentation is merely a form of outsourcing, and such notion is hard to refute. But the concept of augmentation is sufficiently nuanced to elevate it a notch or two above 'vanilla' project outsourcing.

Traditionally, outsourcing involves the hiring of entire departments (helpdesks, commonly) abroad, and the client remains responsible for paying outsourced staff wages -usually through an agency that retains a portion of said wages as its fee-. This type of outsourcing is a more general and broad approach to recruitment in which the client retains little or no control over the team composition and development process. Also, there is often no need for specialized talent or scalability. 

outsourcing vs staff augmentation vs overseas office

As pointed out above, staff augmentation is a more surgical approach to recruitment. Specialized staff is hired when needed, to suit the project's requirements. And crucially, the service provider takes care of all administrative and organizational aspects, including staff wages, leave management, etc. This is usually absent in traditional outsourcing.

Another differentiating aspect of staff augmentation strategies is that the client retains full visibility of the work being done, and also remains in control of the decision-making process.

Extend your team with AllSTARSIT

Staff Augmentation example

We offer you the possibility to augment your software development team with AllSTARSIT. Here are a couple of examples of how our existing clients extended the team with us:

staff augmentation example

To assemble a team of remote software developers or software engineers in Ukraine that seamlessly complements your in-house specialists and development process, complete our contact form and our team will reply to you within 24 hours. 

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