But how can you know which would be the correct answer for your business? And, do you actually need either to succeed?
In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and challenges of augmentation vs. project-based outsourcing to help you decide on the best fit for you.
For starters, let’s break down what they each entail.
Differences between staff augmentation vs outsourcing
What is staff augmentation?
Staff augmentation is the process of hiring additional employees for your current team to help with a specific project, goal, or skill shortages. Once that task has been completed, those temporary staff members are typically let go or return to their previous positions/departments.
There are several ways that extra team members for staff augmentation can be found. The first is internally within the organization as a result of promoting current in-house employees or training new ones.
You can also use an agency that specializes in providing staff augmentation services, which can make finding the right people for the job an efficient process.
Or, you can use services that advertise themselves as a natural expansion to your in-house team, and can act as your augmented team straight away.
Many consider staff augmentation to be the most efficient method of delivering software projects on time and efficiently.
What is consulting?
Consulting is the process of working with outside expert staff to help achieve specific objectives and ideal outcomes. Unlike staff augmentation, consultants are not hired as additional employees nor act like ones, but instead work externally with your existing in-house team to provide advice.
Consultants can be brought in on a short- or long-term basis depending on the needs of the business. On account of being experts in a particular field, they can provide valuable insights and knowledge that an organization wouldn’t otherwise be able to benefit from.
What’s more, consulting firms tend to offer a wide range of services, meaning they can help businesses turn ideas all the way from conception to execution. That includes project planning, designing, implementation, project management, staffing (including project manager), post-launch support, and consistent customer service.
There are many different types of consultants, from marketing agencies to financial advisors. The key is finding the right consultant for each particular objective or task that your business needs to complete at any given moment.
The advantages of staff augmentation and consulting
Benefits of staff augmentation
Staff augmentation can offer a lot of interesting perspectives on your projects and their future that are often not obvious at first glance but come with many benefits that can be overlooked. Below you’ll find a number of pros of staff augmentation.
#1 A cost-effective way to get extra help
You only have to pay for the additional employees when they are actually required without the financial risks of being locked into a long-term contract even after the project in question has been completed. This way, you don’t need to worry about lengthy recruitment processes and then hiring someone without the actual need for having them working full time.
Staff augmentation is often more affordable than using project-based consulting services. This is because companies typically charge an hourly rate for their employees, whereas consultants usually have a set fee for their services.
And, on top of that, if you augment your staff through a company, there’s no need to worry about finding office space for the employees or providing them with benefits like health insurance. In that case, the company responsible for their full-time employees would take care of all of that.
#2 Extremely flexible
When you augment your in-house team, the arrangement of “renting” an employee from a staffing agency or a dedicated company on a short-term basis is very flexible. When there is more work than you can handle, simply request additional staff without being stuck paying for permanent employees you don’t need if the workload decreases.
#3 Can work like a trial period
Staff augmentation gives you the opportunity to try out an employee or a team before making a long-term commitment. If they aren’t a good fit for your company culture and there is a risk of conflict or don’t have the broad range of skills you hoped, simply request a replacement or seek another solution, such as an internal employee/freelancer.
Benefits of consulting services
Hiring a consultant brings a lot of advantages to the table, yet many of them can be associated with staff augmentation too.
#1 Access to consulting expertise
First and foremost, consultants are experienced professionals who have likely worked with businesses similar to yours in the past. This means they bring valuable insights, knowledge, and outsider talent to the table that can help your business grow.
However, in terms of staff augmentation, this is also the case. Augmented teams bring in their knowledge and expertise to internal teams, expanding their possibilities and capacity for the project. While consulting is usually done with individuals, augmentation comes with a “staff” – usually a team to help your business deliver the project in a timely manner.
#2 Objectivity in service delivery
Consultants also tend to be very objective when it comes to offering advice since they’re not emotionally invested in your business like employees are. As such, they can offer unbiased recommendations based on what they believe would be the best business processes for your company to follow.
Again, staff augmentation offers this benefit as well. With a few more pairs of eyes reviewing your project, guidelines, or tech stack, you can get a brand new perspective and improve your projects instantly.
#3 Leveraging their networks
Consultants usually have extensive networks that they can tap into to help your business in various ways. For example, they may be able to connect you with potential investors or customers. These networks can be invaluable resources that would be inaccessible to your business without consultants.
Then again, companies that have experience in delivering staff augmentation solutions can also give a helping hand when it comes to using their networks to provide a project with even better services.
Staff augmentation vs consulting services: which is better?
There is no easy answer when it comes to choosing between staff augmentation vs project-based consulting. The best solution for your business will depend on a wide range of factors, so consider the following main differences between these two methods of hiring additional help.
If you’re on a tight budget, staff augmentation may be the better option since it can be more cost-effective than working with numerous consultants from all over the world, each only completing a small part of your project. Naturally, the cheapest possibility here is augmenting your current, in-house staff for a given project internally within the organization.
If that’s not feasible (which it very often isn’t) then staff augmentation could be the answer to your needs and requirements. While you will have to put a few dimes in the jukebox to get a staff augmentation company on board, it comes with many benefits. And, most importantly, it won’t delay your delivery, postpone your project launch, or stop your company from growing.
Those companies “lending” you their staff can also act as consultants, being involved in your project from beginning to end, offering advice, and suggesting alternatives that are more effective for the end result.
When you look at it this way, you can quickly see it as more of an investment and less of an expense. The goal is to expand the possibilities of your team without actually expanding it.
02: Decision-making ability
When you staff an internal team or work with staffing companies, you’ll have more control over who works on your project and how they do it. This can be beneficial if you want to maintain a high level of control over your project and how it’s executed.
That’s where staff augmentation companies come in. They act as an extension of your team, working by your rules and following your lead. This not only gives you more decision-making ability, but it also frees up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
Staff augmentation companies have no problem being involved in project management, which means they can help to keep your projects on track and ensure that they are completed on time and within budget. So if you’re feeling stretched thin, consider working with a staff augmentation company – they just might be the key to keeping your business running smoothly.
However, if you’re not completely sure what your objectives are or how exactly to go about completing them, working with consultants would be a wise idea for the beginning. That’s because they’ll be able to help you develop a clear vision for your project and offer guidance on how best to achieve it – perhaps with a staff augmentation company, in the end.
If you need someone to work on a short-term basis or for a one-off project, staff augmentation is probably your best bet. Upon completion of the project, you can simply end the contract without having to worry about keeping them on board.
Consulting firms, on the other hand, generally require a longer-term commitment because they’ll need enough time to understand your business and objectives before they can start offering advice. Additionally, most consulting firms work with teams of expert staff.
Our claim would be a draw. This may vary from case to case, though.
Hiring extra staff internally is the safest option in terms of data protection since you’ll be able to screen candidates thoroughly before bringing them on board. You can also keep track of their work and monitor their performance more closely.
On the other hand – when you work with either a consultant or freelancer –you’re essentially entrusting your data to a third party. While most take data security seriously, there will still always be an intrinsic risk when you share sensitive information with anyone outside of your organization.
As such, you must take precautions to protect your business from leaks or cyberattacks, regardless of whether you’re working with an internal team or a third-party provider. The first course of action here would be to have all (additional) team members sign non-disclosure agreements, as well as create a business data security handbook.
When it comes to processes, procedures, and all things related to cybersecurity, staff augmentation companies are usually well prepared.
Over to you!
It is impossible to come up with a verdict that works in every single industry, company, or project.
If you don’t know where to start when choosing how to get additional help for your team, it might be worth speaking to a staffing company or consultant to get their professional opinion on which option is best for your business.
You can make an informed decision that will help you achieve your business goals with their assistance.
Whichever side you pick in the staff augmentation vs. consulting debate, take your time to research and vet any potential extra staff, freelancers, or consultancy firms thoroughly to avoid any surprises down the road. Consider your needs and budget carefully, as well as following the tips outlined above, before making a decision.
|If you’re looking for extra help for your organization with a software development project, how about reaching out to Codibly?
We have over ten years of experience in the software development services industry, and we’re always happy to offer our expertise to businesses large and small.
Staff augmentation vs consulting: FAQs
Is staff augmentation the way to go in 2022?
That depends on your business and what you’re looking for. In general, staff augmentation can be an excellent method to get the resources and skills you need quickly, without having to hire permanent employees. But it’s important to choose a vendor that understands your business and can provide the right level of service.
Businesses will increasingly rely on contractors and freelancers to get the job done, rather than hiring full-time employees. This is because it’s a more cost-effective way to do business and it allows for more flexibility, as we mentioned earlier.
What factors should you consider for staff augmentation?
Some things to consider when making your decision include:
- How quickly do you need the extra help?
- What are the specific skills or resources you need?
- What’s your budget?
- What’s the quality of service you expect?
- Are there any cultural fit issues?
- How easy is it to terminate the contract if necessary?
How to find the best IT staff augmentation company?
When looking for a staff augmentation company, double-check the quality of their services and the experience of their team. You’ll also want to make sure that the company is reputable and has a good track record, for which the very first step would be checking their Clutch profile.
Are reviews and testimonials important for evaluating a staff augmentation company?
When evaluating prospective companies, ask for referrals from past clients and read reviews online. Solid IT staff augmentation companies usually have them on hand, ready to share with you. You should also take the time to speak with representatives from different companies to get a sense of their process and what they can offer.
Ultimately, the best staff augmentation company is one that you feel comfortable working with and that can provide you with high-quality services.
We believe Codibly can be just that.