Staff Augmentation Vs. Managed Services: Which is Right for You?

staff augmentation managed services

As demand for software increases every year, qualified developers and engineers have access to an endless stream of employment opportunities, leaving many organizations’ IT departments with recruitment and retention challenges.

In the US alone, the employment rate for software developers is projected to grow 22% by 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations (4%), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For most businesses, this means heavy competition over affordable, qualified domestic talent for many years.

Luckily, there are valuable alternatives to hiring expensive developers in-house, namely staff augmentation and managed services. These two models allow organizations to source individuals or teams from third-party partners, rather than search high and low for reliable full-time employees. However, each model has its pros and cons, making it a tough choice for a lot of companies.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between both models, share advice on choosing the right model for your project, and explain how we do things differently at Nearsure.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Traditional staff augmentation is the process of sourcing qualified workers through a third-party provider, either as complete teams or as individuals, and usually on a temporary basis. It’s a means of rapid staffing for specific objectives, which often involve starting or completing software development projects.

How Does Staff Augmentation Work?

Staff augmentation is ideal for acquiring additional resources to complete an active project, complimenting your existing teams, or filling knowledge gaps with specialized skill sets. Through staff aug, companies can source anyone they need, from web and mobile developers with capabilities in a wide range of technologies, to QA automation engineers, DevOps specialists, and machine learning experts—there are no limitations here.

If an organization requires extra manpower for existing technology projects, it can invest in IT staff augmentation services to quickly enlist experienced, trained developers or engineers without having to navigate the time-consuming recruitment process. Once on-board, the recruits integrate with the company’s internal processes, bringing new skills to the project and enhancing the capabilities of existing teams.

Benefits Of Staff Augmentation

IT staff augmentation is a low-risk, flexible, cost-effective way to leverage exceptional talent while maintaining a tight level of control over projects. It’s also an ideal solution to the challenges surrounding attrition, IT recruitment, and talent shortages.

Organizations have the freedom to select and enlist highly skilled professionals for specific disciplines then take a laser-focused approach to the improvement of software products in-house. Under this model, the client holds full management responsibility for the product, while the service provider handles recruitment, payroll, and the provision of equipment, as well as providing ongoing support in HR management.

In terms of talent, desirable skills and expertise are only limited by the size of the labor market. As an example, at Nearsure we hire developers throughout the entire region of Latin America, meaning our clients have access to a huge pool of potential candidates with a diverse range of skill sets.

Staff Augmentation Process

Generally, the core staffing process is fairly simple. Providers will map out a client’s needs, then interview and match the appropriate talent to those needs, providing ongoing support for as long as they’re on the team. Even so, there are still a few key advantages and differences to look out for when searching for a staff augmentation partner.

While many staff augmentation providers opt for co-located teams, not only are the costs associated with physical offices passed on to the client, but the talent pool is also limited to the immediate area surrounding the facility. Plus, developers spend a lot of time commuting to the office, which throws off their work-life balance and damages motivation.

At Nearsure, our remote-first philosophy means we have access to a limitless pool of talent, allowing us to match software developers with client projects in an average of two weeks, with no upfront commitment required to kick things off. We also take it one step further by making sure developers are in it for the long run, motivating people, helping clients bond with them, and ensuring they have everything they need to succeed. On top of that, all of our staff are proactive contributors, highly proficient in English and they share the same cultural understanding and work ethics as our clients.

What are Managed Services?

Sometimes referred to as software development outsourcing, managed services involve sourcing full-stack teams to manage, maintain, and support a project externally—in other words, if you don’t want to deal with a software project in-house, managed services are the way to go.

Organizations usually turn to managed services to save time and internal resources, but a common complaint is the loss of control and influence over a software development project, which can lead to misalignment and, as a result, additional costs. On top of that, it can take companies a long time to perform all the right due diligence, as there’s a risk of outsourcing projects to unreliable vendors who may promise far more than they can deliver.

Outsourcing Vs. Staff Augmentation

The choice between IT staff augmentation and outsourcing IT services comes down to several key factors.

Firstly, what does your company want to achieve? If the goal is to enhance an existing IT team, recruit a full-stack team for an in-house project, or bring in a specialized individual, then IT staff augmentation is the best choice. If, however, the organization neither has the time nor the resources to handle a project in-house, then outsourcing it to a third-party managed services provider can free up time and take some of the pressure off.

Secondly, how quickly do you need to finish the project? For urgent deadlines, staff augmentation allows you to quickly enhance your development team and get it done, without the hassle of implementing new processes and shifting work outside the company. If you’re looking to work on a long-term, ongoing project that requires continuous maintenance, monitoring, innovation, and support, then it might benefit from external management.

Thirdly, cost. What kind of budget is in place? Managed services represent a long-term, variable cost that increases when the provider requires more resources to do the job. Staff augmentation allows you to enlist people at more predictable rates and fixed salaries—in other words, no reason to expect sudden price hikes every month.

All in all, both models have differences, advantages, and disadvantages to consider, but they each share an important common denominator: a solution to the challenges in IT recruitment. That’s why, at Nearsure, we’re blending the two models to offer something different.

When our clients need to scale or build teams, they rely on our recruiting experience and technical expertise to find specific profiles and achieve their goals in a very short period of time—this makes us a staff augmentation provider, through and through. However, by also providing account managers for ongoing support, performing regular check-ins with both the team and the client and, most importantly, creating long-term relationships as a trusted IT staff augmentation partner, we’re enabling companies to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Contact us now and let us know how we could help!