Staff augmentation is a business strategy where organizations supplement their existing workforce by hiring external professionals or resources to work alongside their internal team to achieve project goals and meet business objectives.
Staff augmentation emerged as a more adaptable alternative to the traditional hiring methods and has become the most widely spread approach to accelerate capacity because of numerous advantages.
Table of Contents:
Types of Staff Augmentation
Various types and reasons for IT staff augmentation, each catering to specific business needs, made it a universal instrument for hiring solutions.
Outsourcing is a common practice where businesses contract external companies or individuals to handle specific tasks or projects to focus on their core competencies and improve overall productivity.
This approach is particularly advantageous for startups and small and medium businesses that may not have the resources to hire full-time employees with specialized skills.
A dedicated team is a type of staff augmentation where a group of professionals is assigned to work exclusively on a client’s project. This team becomes an extension of the client’s in-house team and operates as a cohesive unit.
The dedicated team model is ideal for long-term projects requiring ongoing collaboration, regular meetings, and reports. It ensures a high level of commitment and provides a higher level of control and management, as the client can directly influence the team’s priorities and workflow.
Outsourcing vs Hiring Dedicated Teams
Outsourcing and hiring dedicated teams may seem similar, but they are different approaches. A dedicated team may be more suitable if the project requires a specific skill set or domain knowledge.
On the other hand, if the project involves non-core functions that can be easily delegated, it may be more cost-effective to choose to outsource. Finally, the cost and management aspects should be evaluated, as dedicated teams generally require a higher investment but offer more control and customization.
Offshore staff augmentation involves hiring professionals from different countries or regions to work remotely on projects. This approach offers cost advantages, as the labor rates in offshore locations are often lower compared to the client’s home country.
Offshore staff augmentation is commonly used by businesses looking to reduce costs without compromising quality or specialized skills. It also provides access to a global talent pool, allowing companies to tap into diverse expertise.
Before deciding on a suitable country for offshore staff augmentation, consider factors such as language proficiency, cultural compatibility, time zone alignment, and political stability. Countries like Ukraine, Poland, and India are popular choices for offshore staff augmentation due to their large talent pools, competitive rates, and strong English language skills.
Establishing a dedicated Research and Development (R&D) center is preferable in countries known for their technological advancements and skilled workforce.
These centers enable companies to access top talents and specialized skills while benefiting from the local infrastructure and support. R&D centers are particularly beneficial for companies focused on innovation and product development.
The R&D center focuses solely on research and experimentation, exploring new technologies and ideas to drive business growth. This way, companies will foster innovation, stay at the forefront of technology advancements, and drive long-term growth and competitiveness.
Staff augmentation is a versatile solution that can benefit various types of businesses.
Who is Staff Augmentation for?
Startups often operate on limited budgets and resources, but building an in-house team is time-consuming and costly and diverts valuable resources away from core activities like developing MVP.
Also, since startups are often focused on just getting their product or service to market as soon as possible, they may need specialists for short-term projects, which is the exact opposite of long-term cooperation with a full-time employee.
Staff augmentation provider will do all the hassle without unnecessary expenses. Staff augmentation enables them to move forward quickly without investing heavily in permanent headcount for roles that may only be needed temporarily during certain growth phases.
Also, the flexibility and scalability of dedicated teams benefits as the startup evolves needs change, and staff augmentation providers adjust the number of involved workers according to new requirements.
Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)
SMBs must carefully allocate resources to ensure maximum return on investment (ROI) and often face budget constraints that may prevent them from hiring full-time IT staff. Since SMDs usually do not require constant IT support, short-term partnerships with only necessary professionals during the defined time frame.
Additionally, SMBs may need more expertise or capacity to evaluate the technical skills of potential candidates, leading to misalignment between project requirements and the hired team. As a solution, staff augmentation service providers often have a pool of qualified professionals who have been thoroughly assessed for their technical skills.
Large enterprises may already have an in-house IT staff, but there are instances where they require additional specialized skills and expertise. Staff augmentation bridges these skill gaps by accessing dedicated teams with the necessary technical expertise.
Enterprises can tap into the augmented staff’s specialized skills and industry knowledge, seamlessly integrate them into the existing teams and gain new perspectives, execute complex projects efficiently, and expand into new niches that were unavailable due to a lack of professionals.
Project and Product Owners
Project and product owners often manage complex IT projects but may need more expertise or capacity to do so in-house. At the same time, these projects may require specialized technical skills, such as software development, cybersecurity, or data analysis.
Augmented staff quickly fills critical skill gaps and successfully delivers products and projects within budget constraints by assembling optimal teams for each phase. Owners can be sure that the project requirements are met with the right technical expertise, and if a similar necessity emerges again, there is always another specialist to hire.
Other Companies Looking for Expertise
Staff augmentation is not limited to startups, SMBs, and large enterprises. Any company that requires additional expertise in specific areas can benefit from dedicated teams.
Also, companies may need to enhance their IT capabilities for short-term projects, such as implementing a new software system or upgrading their infrastructure. SAP will promptly provide as much staff as needed, with all necessary skills and commitment to the current goals.
These are only the scratches on the surface when it comes to the benefits of IT staff augmentation.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation
However, the IT industry is broad, versatile, and constantly evolving, engaging more and more talents, but it does not mean that choosing the right talent for the job has become easier. Whether it is a software developer proficient in a specific programming language, an AI integration specialist, or data analyst, a staff augmentation provider will find whom you need among no lack of amateurs.
Access to Top Talents
Experienced staff augmentation providers have been honing their hiring process for years so that you can take advantage of top talents now. After filtering out candidates, holding interviews, and evaluating technical expertise, you get the best fit out of an enormous talent pool without unnecessary hassle. For instance, at Lengin, it takes us to conduct more than a hundred interviews to hire one developer.
Augmenting existing teams with specialized professionals eliminates many expenses associated with traditional hiring. Staff augmentation providers take care of the recruitment and onboarding process and spare you from the burden of long-term commitments, including taxes, insurance, holidays and other overhead expenses.
Businesses only pay for services they need and work done according to the reports and invoices without a risk of getting overcharged. Precise calculating of your expenses is a base of efficient budget management.
Flexibility and Scalability
Needs and goals vary at different stages of project development, such as starting from scratch, gathering first customers’ feedback, and final fine-tuning. During peak periods, you can augment the team with additional resources to meet increased demand and ensure the sprint is completed on time without compromising product quality. On the other hand, scaling down your team size during slower periods will reduce costs and optimize resource allocation.
Proper staff augmentation excludes a chance of a poor fit or “bad hire” for your project due to rigorous screening of each candidate and informed hiring decisions.
Also, SAP takes over the turnover risk, committing itself to providing the contractor who will perform necessary tasks within the agreed time frame. Quit notices and sick leave letters are no longer your concern.
Speed Up Time-to-Market
Hiring and onboarding a full-time employee in the USA takes approximately 60 days, so gathering a team can prolong the disadvantageously lasting period of time. Staff augmentation expedites the product’s time-to-market by quickly assembling a team of professionals who are ready to hit the ground running.
Also, staff augmentation providers often have a deep understanding of the industry and the specific requirements of different projects. Their valuable insights and guidance throughout the project lifecycle will help to avoid stumbling blocks and prevent costly mistakes.
Whether it’s a short-term project or the need for ongoing support, staff augmentation provides a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses looking to tap into a pool of specialized professionals.
How to Overcome Challenges Related to Staff Augmentation?
Despite all the benefits that staff augmentation contributes to the project, facing some challenges is inevitable. Fortunately, out of the Lengin team’s experience, there is always a solution.
Integration of additional staff to the permanent team often entails communication barriers between internal employees and external contractors. The mismatch can be especially problematic if they are in different time zones or speak a foreign language.
Adjusting the overlapping working hours is easier with flexible work schedules and established hours when all team members must be available. Also, all our developers have a good enough level of English for efficient and unhindered communication.
Monitoring performance and quality is always an issue, not only with augmented staff or remote teams.
Here in Lengin, we use an efficient time-tracker with various functions in addition to a timer that helps us to provide our clients with comprehensive reports and valid and accurate invoices automatically created by the system without a chance to be externally changed.
Also, regular meetings and feedback sessions help ensure that the delivered work meets the desired quality standards.
Intellectual Property and Security Concerns
Engaging external professionals can evoke numerous concerns about their trustworthiness and striving to protect intellectual property and ensure data security.
There are a few ways to mitigate risks connected with intellectual property and data security. For instance, storing your project and all related data on your servers provides permanent access and complete control.
The conclusion of the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and Non-Competing Agreement serves as a guarantee of restricting actions that could cause an adverse impact on the project or reveal sensitive information. Since these official documents could be sufficient grounds for a claim for reimbursements or a lawsuit, your contractors will be more careful with data, and unscrupulous staff augmentation providers will not accept this demand.
Therefore, choosing a staff augmentation provider that prioritizes confidentiality and has a track record of maintaining data integrity will eliminate all your concerns.
How to Choose the Staff Augmentation Provider?
Assess your staffing needs
The first step is analyzing the current team’s capabilities and identifying the skill gap. This way, you will determine precisely the necessary expertise and filter companies that can’t provide it.
Vet the provider
Check the provider’s reputation, experience, and expertise to ensure reliability. The most efficient way to verify the quality of offered services is by looking through the reviews from previous customers.
Usually, company websites publish business cases with customer feedback, but the most trustworthy are video reviews, where you can hear a real person and if that notice significant editing.
In cases when a company does not provide reviews on its own, there are a lot of ranking websites you can use. The most reputable is Clutch, which offers comprehensive information about its services, specialty, and company in general. The best part is direct access to client reviews with detailed descriptions of key points.
Another the most solid but time-consuming way to decide whether to trust a company is to ask for customer references with similar project requirements and scope. This way, you can ask all necessary questions and receive accurate responses with real examples.
Bear in mind that if a company refuses to provide their customer reference, it does not always mean that SAP is unreliable, but it probably works under NDA.
Compare costs and value
Staff augmentation gives access to the broad talent pool, where there will always be someone who will do the job cheaper. Nevertheless, “cheaper” does not always mean “better.” Too-good-to-be-true rates may indicate a lack of skills or experience, poor quality, or issues with work ethic, for instance.
Look beyond the hourly rates and consider the value the provider brings to the table: the ability to deliver quality results, a high level of customer service, and their commitment to meeting deadlines and project goals. A provider who offers value for money will ultimately save you time, costs, and frustration in the long run.
Check contract terms
Before finalizing your decision, thoroughly review the contract terms, consult a lawyer, and conduct a double-check on both sides’ obligations. Pay close attention to paragraphs related to intellectual property rights, confidentiality, termination, and any additional fees or charges.
The agreement must align with your company’s policies, protect your interests and clearly identify expectations from the partnership.
Lengin’s Business case: Norby AI
Lengin has a long track of successful cases of staff augmentation. We are ready to unveil one of our latest collaborations – NorbyAI project!
Norby is an AI assistant chatbot based on ChatGPT that helps businesses optimize their customer service by automating online consultations.
Gathering the requirements
Norby AI was looking for experienced back-end and front-end developers to augment their team for developing the back end and APIs, assisting with the front end, integrating the Stripe payment system, and implementing machine learning. Based on project requirements, we decided to use Node.js and Vue js to make it more scalable and Rubix for efficient machine learning.
Due to the need to have specialists who could handle a wide range of technologies, the search was quite challenging. Luckily, Lengin was able to provide Norby AI with highly skilled developers who met all the requirements and could quickly become part of the team.
Hiring, Onboarding, and Management
The HR department managed to vet and select over 100 candidates for this position. After a few rounds of interviews, test tasks, and negotiations, the time for onboarding came. Due to excellent English knowledge and interpersonal skills, the integration went smoothly, and work on the project began almost immediately.
In order to track results, performance, and time spent for each task apart from the project management tools, a time-tracker with the function of automatic invoice generation. This simplified the management process and prevented possible misunderstandings.
Our collaboration created an exceptional app that automates 70-80% of chat operator duties, improving service quality and reducing costs. Norby AI efficiently handles high user traffic and has a user-friendly interface. Our developers managed to participate in knowledge exchange with the internal team and quickly adapt to the project tasks.
With Lengin, you can be sure that you will get the talent you need when you need it. This will help your team to stay agile and reduce project risks. Contact us, and let’s discuss which contribution our specialists can make to your project.
Staff augmentation is an efficient solution for many types of businesses: from startups and small businesses to large enterprises and companies which do not need a permanent IT team. Everything that is necessary is to choose the right staff augmentation provider and enjoy numerous benefits without worrying about unnecessary hiring hassle. Also, there are various types of staff augmentation, and definitely, the one is suitable for your project requirements and business objectives.