Getting things done, and done quickly, is the new norm.
That’s why it’s vital that you improve the efficiency of your team. IT staff augmentation can help you do precisely this by helping supplement your team with any additional skills or talent that you may need.
But just as swift production is the new norm, you can also expect that much change in terms of how you do things. And this will happen quickly, and without slowing down, I might add.
So, let’s explore together where the future will take us as it pertains to this “efficiency-providing” concept known as IT staff augmentation.
The top 3 current trends
Before I do this, let me take a moment to delve into the current trends with which IT staff augmentation finds itself.
This is before we go further to predict the future, or at least try to (using research, of course).
1. Need I say it again: remote work
So over the past few years, we’ve seen an ever-increasing movement towards remote work.
Current predictions practically doubled the hybrid work model: from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024.
And this means that outsourcing to distributed teams is becoming increasingly popular.
Organizations are benefiting greatly, too, for several reasons:
- International teams are often cheaper: If you’re in a particularly wealthy country, sourcing labor from a not-as-well-off area will definitely save you a couple of bucks, and a bit more.
- Wide talent pool: When your candidate pool encompasses the entire globe (and perhaps one day, Mars?), then you’re sure to find some very talented people.
- They can work from home: If you don’t need face-to-face interactions or work in an office to work with your team, you might as well stay home. While COVID-19 pressed us in this direction, it’s the convenience that kept us here. Everyone likes working in their pajamas.
2. Who doesn’t prefer smaller teams?
A lot of businesses are currently doing this, particularly new online agencies. They have a small team of experts who each perform a primary business function. But they also have one staff augmentation team or several teams led by these experts.
This is beneficial for two reasons:
- The company saves money normally spent hiring staff from their home country.
- There are fewer administrative hassles.
Typically you’ll find that these teams are composed of talented freelancers from around the world who are paid either hourly or on a project basis. For example, you’ll often find that content writers are paid per word, at a rate relevant to their education, skill, and experience.
3. A diverse workplace
Whatever your opinion is of the overarching concept of being “woke”, you can’t deny that the social changes of the past year and the new attitudes have been extremely beneficial for society as a whole.
Unsure about the attitude shift? Well, how about this: 67% of job seekers consider diversity to be important to them.
And with this newfound (and hard-fought) diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), there are several benefits:
- Businesses enjoy a diverse set of ways of thinking, which enhances creative problem-solving.
- It’s easier to find someone to work with at awkward hours to meet client demands (due to time zone differences).
- We build a more tolerant and accepting society.
3 Predictions for the future
So now that I’ve gone into extensive detail about what’s currently happening, what about what’s still to come? Let’s look at this a bit more closely:
Hello, artificial intelligence (AI)
Now, if you happen to be particularly interested in AI, then there’s a good chance you’ve already heard Elon Musk’s tangents about the dangers of it all. And while there’s some merit to what he’s saying, it’s not going to stop the development of AI.
And so this is undoubtedly something to “keep an eye out” for. IT teams will undoubtedly be making use of AI to streamline their processes. For example, AI software could quite easily automate tasks such as data entry and order processing, given the right input.
Organizations may even find that the people they normally hired to “augment” their existing team are no longer required.
(Yes, this sounds very dystopian-esque.)
Now, as businesses continue to employ remote teams to supplement their business needs, the need to improve the integrity of their online presence grows. Many websites are already implementing security measures such as digital thumbprints and two-factor authentication.
And, of course, with the advent of AI and quantum computing, there’s little doubt that cybersecurity efforts are going to have to increase tenfold.
One such potential solution for improving cybersecurity, and where new IT professionals might find their footing, is blockchain encryption. This high-level protection offers secure and tamper-proof communication and record-keeping.
The emphasis on soft skills
While it’s great to hire someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s another story altogether if that person is a poor team player, uncommunicative, and rude.
And given how easy it is to access information and learn new skills with the internet, and now with newer commercialized technologies such as virtual reality (VR) headsets, soft skills are the “in thing”.
Did you know that surgeons can even learn new procedures using VR technology? The possibilities are endless.
Artificial intelligence, such as the ever-infamous ChatGPT, can effectively teach new concepts to people, particularly if they’re struggling with something they learned on YouTube or a website.
Knowledge can be gained, but teaching someone to empathize, be kind, communicate well, and control their emotions is often a lot more difficult to achieve.
A brave new world
While I’ve been trying not to paint a picture of a world “gone to the robots”, it’s hard not to consider how rapid the advancements are, and how much will change. The future of IT staff augmentation is going to be an exciting one.
But because of AI and its abilities, freelancers and remote teams are going to have to work on what should have already been a fundamental skill: playing well with others.