During the 2008 recession, Toyota had to let go off many full-time employees. While this helped it survive the slowdown, it also caused much heartache all around. Since then, Toyota has augmented its variable workforce by 10-20%, a move designed to help it rationalize costs but without layoffs.
What Toyota enjoyed is just one among several benefits of staff augmentation services. Among tech companies, for instance, staff augmentation also helps to grow fast and lean, offer more services without the corresponding investment, and ride out the tough times.
In this post, we look at IT staff augmentation, its various benefits, its differences with other outsourcing models, and when and how should you go for it. There’s also a case study at the end of how our IT staff augmentation services helped a European digital agency grow sales while cutting costs.
What is IT Staff Augmentation?
IT staff augmentation is a type of outsourcing where you hire external IT talent to reinforce your existing or in-house IT team. You can augment your team either by hiring a local contractor or dip into a more global pool of IT talent. In both cases, you choose a candidate that fits your requirements and can keep working with them till the time you want to.
The unique thing about IT staff augmentation services is that the candidate(s) you hire is on the vendor’s payroll. This eliminates a lot of the cost and compliance barriers present in full-time employee hiring, especially if you hire often. But unlike a full-time employee, people hired via the augmentation route can only be used for one project at a time.
What are the Benefits of IT Staff Augmentation
There are two aspects to this advantage of IT augmentation services. A large chunk of development costs goes towards developer compensation, including base salary, benefits, and social security etc. These costs rise further if you hire dedicated developer from your country (say the US or the UK) as opposed to hiring a developer from a place with lower living costs. Depending upon the vendor, you can score equally-skilled remote resources for about 30-60% of the cost of a native developer.
Secondly, operational costs such as office space, equipment, taxes, and refreshments etc. are also no longer a factor when you work with IT augmentation service companies. Together, these aspects help you save a sizable sum without a drop in quality or productivity
The nature of IT is such that you’re always required to be ahead of the tech curve. Trying to achieve that in-house can be disastrous for your balance sheet. Oddly enough, doing only what you know and are comfortable with can lead to similar results.
But with software development staff augmentation, you can take on projects of different sizes, sectors, and tech stacks. By hiring resources at will, you can accommodate customer requests instead of saying no. This flexibility and adaptability can help you widen the reach and diversity of your services, making it easier for you to scale.
When you outsource a project or task, you also give up control over the project’s pace, quality, and process. Instead of the deliverable-based approach of outsourcing, IT staff augmentation keeps you in control of your development project from start to finish. It also lets you add or remove resources at any point to enhance the development process. Apart from the greater freedom afforded, IT staff augmentation also keeps security and privacy concerns at bay.
Hiring quality full-time talent is not just expensive but can be a harrowing experience too. Searching for the right candidate as per your requirement followed by all the recruitment work can take a lot out of you. And once you do get the right candidate, hiring them involves a bunch of paperwork that adds to the hassle.
But with IT staff augmentation, you outsource all these tasks to an augmentation providing web design and development company, helping you focus on the development task at hand.
Access to Quality Talent
Whether you need UI/UX designers, front-end developers, code testers, or Scrum masters, finding quality talent that can hit the ground running (which is important when you hire for a project) is difficult and costly, especially if you reside in first-world countries like the US.
However, an IT staff augmentation service provider not just offers such skilled professionals for you to choose from but maintains a large talent pool as well. This ensures you can replace developers easily across different skillsets without spending additional money or time.
Staff augmentation makes your business more productive as you deliver better projects faster with help from specialists, meaning you spend less time figuring things out on your own or retraining your existing staff and instead hire a suitably skilled resource to get you over the line.
IT Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services vs Outsourcing
There’s some confusion between these methods of bringing outside temporary IT talent into your fold. We’ve already seen what is IT team augmentation so we’ll directly jump to the other two and how they compare to IT staff augmentation services.
Managed IT Service: This is where you work with a provider of remote IT solutions on a long-term basis. Usually, the provider takes care of the solution from end-to-end with no or minimal inputs from you. For example, a bank may award the maintenance of their backend IT infrastructure to a support service provider. This makes it larger in scope than IT augmentation services.
Outsourcing: This is where you hire a service provider on a project-by-project basis. In outsourcing, the deliverable is agreed upon by you and the service provider beforehand. Thereafter, the provider takes charge of the task, requiring you to give up direct control of the process. This makes it different from IT staff augmentation where you hire an IT resource while retaining full control over the team and process.
When to Go for IT Staff Augmentation Services?
Scaling Up is Priority
If you want to remain profitable and flexible while serving customers across different sectors and technologies, IT staff augmentation is the way to go.
Face Temporary Resource Crunch
Augmentation is ideal if you need help to tide over a temporary resource crunch – the sort of task that doesn’t merit a full-time hire or when your team downsizes abruptly because of member sickness/attrition.
Don’t Have Certain IT Capabilities
Sometimes, your in-house IT might need help, not because they aren’t good enough, but because they simply lack certain skills. Staff augmentation is a quick solution to such problems and more importantly, can also help train your in-house team in the missing skillset.
Hiring is Frozen Due to Time/Budget Constraints
Recruiting a full-time resource can take months, making it unviable for urgent requirements. Similarly, you might be held back from hiring the right candidate due to budget constraints. If either of these situations describes your predicament, IT staff augmentation is perfect for you.
How to Get the Maximum Value Out of IT Staff Augmentation?
Hire for Projects with Fixed Timeline
IT staff augmentation works best for one-time projects such as developing an app, website, or custom software. This helps you start quickly and reduce ‘Go to market’ time while ensuring quality.
Communication is key for any successful partnership, especially one that is remote and is likely to be short term. Use all available tools at your disposal to enhance collaboration and overall project productivity.
Outline Roles and Responsibilities
Take out the guesswork and clearly outline your expectations from the remote resource. Ensure the latter knows your processes well and feels encouraged to share their opinion and feedback.
Use Project Management Tools
IT team augmentation generally involves team members working from different time zones. To ensure everyone’s on the same page and for greater productivity and monitoring, use project management tools such as Asana, Trello, and Slack etc.
Document Code Development
Code documentation is the backbone of any development project. And since the remote resource works with you only briefly, ensure they document their code at each stage. This makes it easier to spot bugs and risk areas and for future developers to update/maintain the project.
Things to Consider When Choosing an IT Staff Augmentation Provider
One of the easiest ways to find a web design and development company that provides IT staff augmentation services is to look up sites such as Clutch, GoodFirms, and even Google or Facebook. Being well-reviewed on such platforms, especially the former two, is a sign that a provider is a tried-and-tested option.
Clear Delivery Model
Within IT staff augmentation, you can choose from onshore, near-shore, or offshore delivery models. While each has its own advantages, go for a provider that offers an offshore staff augmentation model as it combines the best of both worlds, i.e. high quality and competitive costs.
A useful tip is to work with IT staff augmentation companies offering a higher number of engagement models as this points to their wide talent pool and several years of experience.
Adherence to Quality and Security Standards
IT services are intellectual property, meaning your augmentation partner must be on the same page as you when it comes to security and privacy. You can verify this by checking if the provider complies with globally accepted standards such as HIPAA, PCI, and ISO etc. You can also check the provider’s audit reports and if they have the required physical and virtual infrastructure to secure your project.
Case Study: How IT Staff Augmentation Helped a European Digital Agency Become More Efficient and Profitable
Our client is a full-service digital marketing agency with a headcount of 8-10 web designers. However, these resources were overwhelmed with managing change requests and support tasks as the agency quickly added a large number of client accounts.
The client redirected more of their graphic designers to front-end development work, thus distracting them from their focus area. At the same time, hiring full-time front-end developers would’ve messed up the budget while requiring additional expenses in terms of office space.
This led to a situation where the client was losing out on potential leads, thus inhibiting sales growth.
In our first deliberation with the client, we created a checklist based on the client’s desired ‘to be in state’. We then picked up a pilot project after some more deliberation and setting of deliverables.
After delivering the pilot project, we documented the client’s detailed feedback, which was then used to update our checklist, test cases, and processes to match the client’s expectations.
This was instrumental in helping us ensure RFT (Right First Time) delivery.
After six months of collaboration, the client conducted a study to put a quantitative face to the qualitative improvements they were experiencing. The results showed that the cost of development work outsourced to us went down by 45%.
More importantly, our augmentation services helped them deliver projects 20% faster, enabling them to increase their top line by catering to more leads.
Over to You
IT staff augmentation offers you a spate of advantages when used correctly. Its lower development and operational costs, faster development, flexibility, scalability, and hassle-free nature enable you to take up challenging projects without worrying about spiralling costs and quality issues.
To know how IT staff augmentation can help your enterprise or digital agency unlock a higher level of growth, get in touch with us today. You can hire dedicated developer from our pool to start your project instantly.
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