IT staff augmentation services have become increasingly popular with businesses both big and small, owing to a number of advantages they offer. As remote software developers virtually collaborate to build, update and scale software applications, businesses benefit from the savings in costs, and a spike in overall productivity. While long-distance collaboration is characteristic of the software outsourcing model, UK software development companies can offer a nearshore option for businesses that are looking to outsource, but still wish to have the option of meeting their outsourced software development teams in person.
Today’s software offshore team constitutes more than simply being a means of helping businesses save on overhead and equipment costs; it’s now an all-encompassing option that is included in key business strategies. For good reason, as top software outsourcing companies today offer scalable services with the support of cloud-based infrastructure, thereby making innovation a possibility that is quick, yet effective. What’s more, leading software companies in the UK further focus on delivering exclusive, in-person services, which is a notch above conventional software outsourcing that otherwise happens only virtually.
As software developers in the UK commit to heightened deliverable quality while maintaining the same costs as that of its Asian or Eastern European counterparts, EFutures, as a software development company, also understands the value offered by IT staff augmentation. Albeit being on a comparatively smaller level, IT staff augmentation can be just as (if not more) powerful as software outsourcing. The best software development companies in London understand this, and many cater to IT staff augmentation services as well.
As a business leader or manager, if you are thinking about introducing IT staff augmentation to your business, it is important to understand what it really is, how it differs from conventional software outsourcing, and what it can offer your business – before you make a final decision.
IT staff augmentation is the process of adding an external team member to your existing, in-house software development team. This team member is typically sourced via a software development outsourcing company, with all processes involved in sourcing, interviewing and onboarding handled by said software outsourcing partner. The client simply offers a set of requirements (ideally via a job description), so that they can be served a set of candidates, have them screened/interviewed, and shortlisted at their convenience. Most staff that are sought as part of IT staff augmentation efforts are usually professionals with specialized skill sets and expertise, especially since internal business teams may be lacking the very same, and need to fill in the gaps in the interest of delivering quickly with minimal training.
IT staff augmentation is the addition of an external team member to an existing, in-house team, while software outsourcing is the delegation of an entire project to an external team. In other words, a team member that has been hired via IT staff augmentation is managed internally by the client’s in-house team, and they are also responsible for said team member’s performance. Software outsourcing, on the other hand, takes responsibility for the entire project, and reports to the client on progress.
Although IT staff augmentation and software outsourcing are terms that are used interchangeably, they present key differences that distinguish one from another. Knowing the difference between both can significantly help in determining which model is right for you, since choosing the wrong one could cause a lack of feasibility, as you may end up paying more for less.
Being able to have complete control over the software project as well as the deliverables of the team member who has been hired is one of the biggest benefits of IT staff augmentation. This way, businesses only need to have their software outsourcing company source a suitable candidate for filling the skills gap that they are experiencing, while all other aspects pertaining to the external team member (such as their goals and KPIs) are supervised by the client’s internal team.
It is also easier to onboard an external team member who has been hired via IT staff augmentation, to your existing, in-house team. In comparison, training and integrating an entire software outsourcing team can be more tedious and time-consuming, as more working parts are involved – and especially if systems are proprietary. As a result, an individual external team member via IT staff augmentation efforts can be brought up to speed more quickly and easily, by having them deliver on key goals in record time – thereby also giving your business a more satisfying ROI.
Having a dedicated external team member as part of your in-house team could lead to redundancies in the future – especially since many external team members hired through IT staff augmentation are specialists in a certain field. Once the need for their skills and expertise reduces or is void, an external team member could be made redundant. Of course, this can be the case for temporary projects by default, where resources will not be required once a certain set of objectives have been met. In such cases, IT staff augmentation providers and clients can build relevant contracts, so neither party is met with redundancies as a surprise.
However, many projects of an ongoing, permanent nature could still bear the risk of a redundancy – especially if business strategies and priorities decide to take a different course. With the typical software development project being dynamic and ever-evolving, there is usually never a shortage of responsibilities to shoulder. External team members who are able to adapt may still be able to retain their positions and continue offering versatile solutions to their team – but the stakes are higher for those who aren’t able to be flexible enough with their current skill sets.
Before you focus on how to introduce IT staff augmentation to your business, it is important to understand whether it is viable for your unique business requirements in the first place – especially in comparison to software outsourcing, which is more broader in scale and scope. As IT staff augmentation and software outsourcing are often confused with one another, delving deeper into your business requirements can offer better insight, in order to aid your final decision.
In order to dissect business requirements further, gather relevant members (which includes teams that are experiencing skills gaps, as well as members from other business units whose roles and KPIs are interconnected) for a discussion. Break the ice by asking any or all of the below questions, to determine whether IT staff augmentation truly is the best course of action:
If answers to the above questions are inclined towards the hiring of an individual team member who possesses a set of specialist skills, IT staff augmentation is most likely to be the best solution. At this point, speaking to your software outsourcing company about your needs can then pave the way for them to source the right candidate. Alternatively, hiring a freelancer from an online freelancing platform can also count as IT staff augmentation. However, this may offer your business teams comparatively less control over quality owing to freelancers being sourced via a third-party, virtual vendor that may undertake minimal responsibility for projects between clients and freelancers.
IT staff augmentation is highly useful for internal projects that require leverage with specialist skills, while forgoing lengthy integration and training processes that are characteristic of larger software outsourcing projects. By adding external team members to their existing in-house projects, businesses can maintain full responsibility for their business outcomes, while enhancing project quality and deliverability with specialist expertise.
In a modern business environment where consumers are spoilt for choice, businesses need to constantly and quickly evolve to meet changing demands so that they can stay ahead of their competitors. IT staff augmentation helps companies achieve just that, as the sourcing and onboarding of an external, skilled team member can enable faster execution of new or upgraded strategies, and therefore, a faster time to market new products to your prospective customers.
Although IT staff augmentation and software outsourcing are commonly conflated, it is easy to distinguish between the two; the former becomes part of an in-house team, while the latter takes complete control and responsibility of the project, as an external team. By knowing the difference between the two, businesses can decide whether IT staff augmentation is eventually right for their business, while keeping their key goals in mind.