Making a choice: staff augmentation vs managed IT services

Staff augmentation means contracting narrowly-aimed professionals from a service provider to complement your in-house staff. What benefits does this model bring?

  • Cost-effectiveness. When you don’t need additional staff permanently, what’s the point of paying full-time wages? With staff augmentation, you are supported by highly qualified professionals exactly when your business needs them.
  • Adaptivity. You can easily access missing skills and scale your IT team size up and down according to the project scope.
  • Attrition resistance. Often companies find it hard to obtain and retain permanent staff. With the growing demand for IT services, up to 50% of software engineers are ready to decamp to another employer. Companies can’t avoid this attrition trend, but staff augmentation makes it less worrisome filling the need for qualified specialists.

Yet, staff augmentation works perfectly only as a short-term solution. Forward-thinking companies want to preserve the high level of technological development for a long time. Seeing how fruitful staff augmentation can be, some decision makers transform the model into a permanent one. And what do they face?

  • Cost-effectiveness is challenged. Staff augmentation entails higher labor costs, as it includes overhead and margin. Contracting freelancers is not the way out, because it entails higher administrative costs as well.
  • You don’t get sufficient insight into what work is actually done by the contractor. This model doesn’t presuppose any other service level commitments than work hours, so the staff often invents tasks to keep them busy and dawdles over regular tasks.

The bottom line is, you get high-cost permanent resources. Yes, they might be of first-rate quality, but you need the result. With staff augmentation, the customer company is fully liable for the infrastructure management process and quality assurance, so the result is also the company’s responsibility.

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