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IT Staff Augmentation vs. Dedicated Teams, Pros and Cons

Outsourcing means engaging outside teams to handle projects and fill in the gaps. But even when you look externally, there’s a lot to think about. One key consideration is the model you choose: IT staff augmentation vs. dedicated teams. How do you decide?
Daniel Zacharias

Matt Van Veenendal

August 5, 2022
staff augmentation vs. dedicated teams

Information technology (IT) outsourcing has grown significantly over the past few years. Now that businesses across sectors recognize that their technological processes demand more attention than they may have been giving them, they are taking stock of their services with a critical eye. Often, this requires new approaches and, in some cases, complete overhauls of the models they have been using. Outsourcing means engaging outside teams to handle projects and fill in the gaps. But even when you look externally, there’s a lot to think about. One key consideration is the model you choose: IT staff augmentation vs. dedicated teams.

Staff augmentation

The staff augmentation model means that you are combining your in-house team with external team members. You might need outside help if, for example, you need key specializations that don’t exist on your current team or you don’t have enough people to complete the job on time. The partner provider will source the new hires, who will interview, evaluate, and onboard the professionals for your project. Meanwhile, they will report to you or your managers.

Remember: you already have a team in place. The new team members are there to add important skills or ramp up your time to release. 

Pros

• You can scale your business quickly.
• You will tap into specializations.
• You can alter this flexible model depending on your needs.
• You will be better equipped to adapt to changing markets and conditions.
• You will augment your team with valuable external resources.
• An external provider will vet candidates and conduct the hiring process based on your requirements, so you can trust that you will get competent help.
• You will have the final say on whom you hire.
• You can tap into global skill sets in various specialties, from quality assurance (QA) to user experience (UX) design to automation and AI.
• You will increase your team’s productivity and efficiency and shorten your time to market.

Cons

• You will need to ensure that there are no language barriers if you are working with offshore teams.
• There is the possibility of communication hiccups since team members are unlikely to be on-site.
• Sometimes, cultural fit can be a challenge.
• In-house team members may fear that they are being replaced.
• You must trust that your partner has the expertise and qualification to hire the right candidates for your team, which will require vetting on your part.
• This is more of a short-term than a long-term solution, although you may be able to work with your partner to extend the arrangement.

Dedicated team

You take a hands-off approach when outsourcing your project to a dedicated team. The partner organization will handle the project from start to finish, fulfilling all of your requirements. Depending on your specific needs, they will take care of aspects like user experience design, project management, quality assurance, product management, and more. The team works exclusively on a long-term, complex project, devoting time, attention, and resources to it.

While the dedicated team ultimately answers to you, the project is completed external to your in-house team, letting you focus on other business concerns. Still, you will maintain control and oversight.

Pros

• You will have the chance to concentrate on your core business while an external team handles all aspects of your project.
• The team will come equipped with its own equipment and infrastructure.
• You can speed up your project and reduce time to market.
• You will maintain control of your project while entrusting the day-to-day work to a qualified partner.
• The dedicated team has the expertise to handle more complex, longer-term projects.
• Collaboration is less of an effort because team members are used to working together.
• You can establish a long-term partnership if future projects demanding specialized skill sets arise.

Cons

• This is only a model for large, complex projects — it’s not ideal for smaller-scale projects.
• It’s more of a commitment than staff augmentation since you can’t easily abandon the project without incurring additional costs.
• You will still need to maintain constant contact with the partner team to ensure the project progresses.
• The model is somewhat less flexible since the external team handles the project from beginning to end.
• You may have trouble relinquishing control — although the team ultimately answers to you.

Which model is the choice for your business?

There are some overlapping benefits between the staff augmentation and dedicated team models. For example, both models are cost-effective, particularly as alternatives to hiring full-time professionals. You can also hire professionals from any location in either instance — they typically operate remotely.

However, there are specific situations  where  you will want to opt for staffing augmentation over a dedicated team or vice versa.

Consider turning to staff augmentation if:

• You have a solid in-house team and infrastructure but need more help.
• You’re looking to scale your team, projects, or business.
• You want to tap into specialized skill sets that aren’t on your current team.
• You have one or more short-term projects that could use assistance, and your team is over-extended.
• You want to ramp up production.

Consider using a dedicated team if:

• You don’t have an in-house IT team, or your team is too busy to handle more projects.
• You have a complex, long-term project that demands top skill sets.
• You have a short timeline for a specific project.
• You need a variety of skill sets to handle a project from start to finish.
• You have a narrow niche.

Whichever  model you choose, you can rely on your partner to find qualified experts who will bring exceptional technical skills to your business and help you modernize and digitize your operations.

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