What Is Staff Augmentation? Access Global Talent, Fast


Would you want to spend 62 days trying to hire a software developer? That is how long it takes for companies to fill an engineering position. The solution? Staff augmentation. 

Staff augmentation is an outsourcing strategy used to scale teams with technical talent on a temporary or long-term basis. As a staffing model, it has been utilized by companies to secure high-class technical talents with expertise in emerging technologies. Realistically, spending 62 days or more to fill a talent role is time-consuming and unproductive. Forward-thinking companies recognize this and understand the need to be digitally ready, and therefore, they leverage the staff augmentation model to enhance their internal teams.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the process of outsourcing specific tasks or projects to external personnel for a certain period. Staff augmentation is the faster and more efficient way for companies to scale their tech teams with top tech talent without lengthy recruitment times. Many companies take advantage of staff augmentation when they need to address a skill gap, increase speed to market, meet project deadlines, or manage workload. This outsourcing model eliminates the need for the overhead cost involved in hiring full-time employees and gives companies the flexibility to scale up or down according to business demands. 

Let's take this example of staff augmentation: As a director or senior exec in your organization, you have an internal software development team. However, with the emergence of Generative AI, you need to expand your product to feature a Generative AI component to meet customer needs. In this case, instead of hiring a full-time AI specialist or developer, which can be time-consuming and expensive, you opt for staff augmentation by bringing in an AI expert and software developers on a temporary basis. These experts would work with your in-house team to develop and integrate the new generative AI features into your product. This approach allows you to quickly and efficiently expand your product's capabilities to include the AI functionalities, without the long-term commitment and costs associated with expanding your permanent workforce.

Companies that decide to use the staff augmentation model would need an outsourcing staff augmentation vendor that can help augment their team anytime. Instead of going through the recruitment process of searching, interviewing, and onboarding. These staff augmentation vendors would readily provide technical talent such as data scientists, software developers, QA engineers, and others at the company's request. 

However, if you decide to use staff augmentation it's important to understand the different types of staff augmentation.

Types of  Staff Augmentation

Depending on the organizational needs, there are different types of staff augmentation.

Nearshore Staff Augmentation

The nearshore staff augmentation model is the process of hiring a development team from a neighboring country, typically within the same geographical location and time zone. The nearshore staff augmentation model is highly recommended for organizations because it allows the use of IT talent who are culturally aligned and are easy to supervise because of the proximity.

Offshore Staff Augmentation Model

The offshore staff augmentation model is when companies hire technical talent from different countries to support their in-house staff. Usually, this can be countries that are not within the time zone of the company; therefore, they may need extra supervision while delivering the project outcomes.

Onshore Staff Augmentation Model

The onshore staff augmentation model is the process of hiring technical IT talent in the same country to support their tech needs. This implies that engineers would have the same language and similar geographical locations to support the internal tech team.

The Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation offers numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes, whether startups, mid-market companies, or enterprises. Specifically for businesses that are executing digital transformation projects, digital initiatives and are at the forefront of innovation. Using the staff augmentation model is advantageous to companies seeking to increase the speed of delivery and launch of high-quality products. Here are some of the benefits of staff augmentation:

Access to a Global Talent Pool

Clearly, there has been a dire need to adapt business operations to the evolving needs of the market. In 2023, we witnessed the growth of artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and big data. In 2022, Web 3.0 technologies, including blockchain, were heavily invested in by leading companies; in 2021, remote work transformed the industry.

Every year, there will be new emerging technologies and transformations, but what gives many organizations a competitive edge is the ability to adapt to these new technologies quickly. One of the ways to ensure smooth adaptation is by tapping into a global talent pool.

Staff augmentation allows you to augment your team with professionals who are experts in their field. These professionals are domain-focused and can yield great results that align with your business objectives within the stipulated time frame. There is an assurance that accompanies using a staff augmentation vendor who, at any time, can scale your team with the required skill set without restrictions.

Easy Scalability & Flexibility

Technology scalability is important for businesses that are looking to increase profitability and meet customer demands. Software scalability involves using modern technology, employing an efficient project management strategy, and, importantly, hiring the right people.

Staff augmentation is the ideal solution for businesses that need to scale their products to accommodate more workload. It enables you to augment your team with software developers without investing in an entire permanent workforce to achieve your development goals. Also, you can decide to add more technical professionals to your software development team at various stages of the project.

High Quality without Compromising on Cost

According to the US Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be up to 30% of the employee's initial annual earnings. The process of recruiting for technical roles can be costly and time-consuming. Staff augmentation streamlines these costs by reducing overhead expenses and provides the required expertise at a more affordable rate.

With staff augmentation, companies can focus on their core business objectives while the staff augmentation vendor supplies the necessary technology tools, employee benefits, and software platforms.

Staff augmentation vendors such as Devsu take a further step to ensure that each talent is continuously upskilled making it cost-effective. Upskilling costs about $24,800 per person in the United States. Imagine the cost of continuously hiring a new permanent employee for your software development team, coupled with the cost of upskilling and reskilling. With staff augmentation, you gain access to the top 1% of talent who are not only highly skilled but also adaptable to the changing technological landscape. This ensures that your team remains at the forefront of innovation without the traditional costs and commitments associated with permanent hires. Consider this staffing model as the perfect solution for achieving short-term and long-term digital projects.

Increased Speed to Market

A key strategy to accelerate your time to market is to have the right project manager who can keep the entire team informed through effective communication, ensuring that everyone meets deadlines while staying within budget. Most importantly, possessing the right skill set that can swiftly bring the product to market and effectively address any roadblocks is crucial.

By tapping into the global talent pool, you gain access to skilled professionals who can enhance your internal team's productivity and increase your speed to market. These professionals are experienced and capable of undertaking complex projects without the need for internal training. With their expertise, they can offer your internal employees fresh perspectives and creative ideas that can expedite your processes, facilitate product launches, and help your business keep pace with competitive demands.

Intellectual Property and Security

Choosing the right staff augmentation company means you won't have to worry about cybersecurity threats or securing intellectual property rights. Outsourcing vendors with decades of experience, who have collaborated with established companies, recognize the critical importance of security. They have put in place the proper technologies to safeguard your data and digital assets against cyber threats.

In addition, you maintain all rights to your development projects, and the augmented software team understands the significance of complying with your company's security policies. This is in stark contrast to a freelancer who might not demonstrate the same level of dedication to your organization's security protocols or possess the necessary resources to offer the same degree of protection, which could potentially put your projects at greater risk.

The Challenges of Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is not devoid of challenges. Here are some of its challenges:

Managerial Roadblocks

Staff augmentation entails outsourcing part of your tasks to a third-party vendor or personnel. This means, in most cases, the staff you hire will not work at your physical location.

Therefore, it's important to create a system that can accommodate easy communication and efficient management. By using communication tools and channels, your augmented team can collaborate with your in-house team and complete the project within the set timeframe.

Language and Culture Barriers

Previously, we highlighted the different models of staff augmentation — offshore staff augmentation creates communication barriers because there might be significant differences in language and culture. In essence, ensuring that your staff augmentation vendor ticks the boxes for an A+ English level, similar cultures, and time zones is vital.

Privacy Concerns

Outsourcing to the right staff augmentation vendor eliminates the fear of privacy concerns. However, it poses a risk to organizations that may not have done their due diligence in assessing the company's internal security operations. It is advisable to conduct a security audit before agreeing to partner with any software vendor.

Pros & Cons Staff Augmentation

When to Use IT Staff Augmentation

For many executives, the debate arises on when to scale up their software development team using staff augmentation. We have an answer:

Having an In-house Development Team

Supplementing your software team with staff augmentation will enhance your projects. When you have an in-house team, you can expand it with experts who possess specific tech stacks such as Ruby on Rails, LAMP stack, MEAN stack, etc., or even with specialists in specific fields such as QA, full stack development, artificial intelligence, web development, mobile development, etc.

Requiring Immediate Project Speed

If your project requires skill sets such as those of data scientists or machine learning engineers, you might find yourself searching for an extended period. However, with staff augmentation, you can quickly acquire specialized professionals in 14 days or less.

Facing Resource Gaps

If you're currently cutting down on project budgets and expenses but still need to expand your team quickly, staff augmentation can be a game-changer, as it provides the talent you need at a reduced cost compared to hiring a full-time employee.

Project Duration

Staff augmentation is ideal for short-term projects but can also be beneficial for long-term projects, especially when you have a strong relationship with your staff augmentation service provider. If your project is short-term and you need additional hands, then staff augmentation is suitable for you. However, for the sustainability and maintenance of your custom software application, you might also opt for long-term contracts with your provider.

What is the difference between staff augmentation and software outsourcing?

Many times, staff augmentation and software outsourcing are used interchangeably, but they mean different things. Staff augmentation involves supplementing your team with expert professionals, while software outsourcing involves entrusting your software project to an external vendor. Whereas staff augmentation allows the hired individual to integrate into your internal team, software outsourcing assigns a dedicated team to work on your project independently.

Why Choose Devsu As your staff augmentation provider?

Devsu is a staff augmentation company with over a decade of experience. With more than 200 top tech talents who understand the intricacies of the industry and over 500 projects completed, Devsu can scale your tech team in 14 days or less. We use the agile software development approach to meet project deadlines and increase your speed to market. Our rigorous onboarding process ensures that we hire only the best tech talent. Speak with our sales team to learn more.


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