What does staff augmentation mean in IT?
Learn how staff augmentation can help you plug resource gaps and complete projects faster without compromising on quality
Today’s IT landscape seems to be moving at two different speeds. The lack of proficient prospects means that growing a tech team is slowed by protracted recruitment timelines or training programs. However, the projects that organisations undertake have, if anything, gotten faster. This was just one result of the pandemic – businesses felt first-hand the need to pivot their priorities and deliver solutions at record pace to stay operational.
What does staff augmentation mean?
Staff augmentation means using external resource to broaden the capabilities and skills of your teams, as well was their ability to scale quickly. This additional resource is brought into your organisation and works closely with your team to get up to speed on your projects and help you complete them.
In short: you get the skills you need when you need them.
Organisations of all sizes and from all industries can benefit from staff augmentation. Small and medium-sized businesses can experience exponential growth as they launch new products and receive rounds of funding. This is naturally exciting but means that their existing IT structure needs to grow to facilitate the new projects and challenges that growth brings.
On the other side of the spectrum, more-established organisations can face challenges moving away from legacy systems that have been in place for years but now need to be improved to work with modern solutions like Robotic Process Automation.
Ultimately, the time it takes to complete recruitment efforts or train existing staff in new technology can hold back any company from its ambitious projects. And once you’ve hired the right candidate, retaining them even in the short term is difficult due to high demand and competitive salary offers. Staff augmentation is a solution to this.
How is staff augmentation different to outsourcing?
Staff augmentation isn’t ‘different’ to outsourcing – it’s a smarter way of doing it.
As businesses grow and are challenged by the IT skills gap, they face a freedom dilemma: they need help achieving something but don’t want to lose control. Outsourcing a project removes the hassle of having to do it themselves but can create worry that issues will arise if the work isn’t done properly.
This can happen in several ways:
- Unclear briefs can lead to multiple rounds of amendments and review meetings
- Time zone differences can leave development teams with little facetime for progress updates
- Costs can increase if specific problems arise or projects grow to include more capabilities and functionality
Some organisations respond to these potential problems by doing the work themselves – eliminating their worry but increasing the hassle and strain on their internal teams.
Staff augmentation is an effective means of managing the freedom dilemma effectively. You work with a company that provides you with skilled technicians you bring into your organisation. That means you can increase the number of people proficient in a skill area or fill a gap in your team without relinquishing control. This solution can be used for short or long-term projects and can be more cost effective than outsourcing your work (especially for major transformation initiatives).
What are the benefits of staff augmentation?
Staff augmentation has a variety of benefits your organisation can leverage when compared to traditional hiring practices. Read the benefits listed below and consider past projects and recruitment drives that could have been accelerated if staff augmentation was used instead.
Staff augmentation is fast and flexible
Tech teams need to move quickly and adapt to challenges so they can launch solutions when they are needed. But when a skills gap is identified or a project grows beyond the development team’s capabilities, you can’t afford to wait through the rigid system of conventional recruitment.
Staff augmentation means you can get staff with the right skill set when you need them. If you experience fluctuations in work, you can bring talent in for assignments or to tackle difficulties as they arise without the commitment of a permanent hire. And when you are ready for your team to grow, talent can join your team full-time. You skip the lengthy recruitment process and get someone that fits with your organisation from day one.
You have access to a better talent pool
Filling a position traditionally means making it available to all applicants. In today’s naturally competitive market that means you may receive just as many ineligible and under-experienced applicants as you receive viable options. It’s a similar story for emerging technologies – developments in Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity outpace the ability of universities to update curriculums and teach the next generation of STEM graduates. Using staff augmentation removes this issue. You’ll be given available talent who are directly trained and have experience in relevant projects and technologies.
You stay efficient while increasing your capabilities
Staff augmentation companies distinguish themselves from recruiters by continuing to support, train and manage the staff that are assigned to you. Talent can join an organisation remotely or from a site managed by the staffing company. This means your team can grow without a lengthy onboarding period or taking time away from team managers which would be better served in strategy sessions.
Your team becomes more diverse
Diversity in tech is improving but still needs to make great strides – only one in ten A-Level Computer studies students is female. You cannot improve the diversity of your team if you continue to depend on university courses that provide unbalanced waves of graduates. Staff augmentation companies help you cast a wider net and can help you address workforce imbalances in your teams.
While reliability is an important trait that grows by having a long-tenured internal team, the value of bringing in external talent who have new, creative ways of thinking should not be underestimated. Emerging technologies and solutions can be driven through staff augmentation and accelerate how your existing staff works. They can also evaluate your system with a fresh and impartial perspective, revealing problems and opportunities that may go unrecognised by permanent staff who are ‘in the thick of it’ with their day-to-day work.
How do you successfully augment your team?
Step 1: Identify your focus
Start by zeroing in on what you need to achieve. Are you failing to meet accessibility or security standards? Have your customer demands outgrown your systems’ capabilities? You may have many ambitious areas of growth for your development team – try not to let these plans cloud your judgment. You need to identify the solutions that you are struggling to bring to life.
Step 2: Assess your capabilities
Now compare these solutions to your current team’s skills and capabilities. The gap between these two elements is what you need to bring into your organisation through staff augmentation. Consider the different technologies you use (or should use), your current level of resources from your team, and what upcoming projects are considered priorities by your company’s senior leadership team.
Step 3: Estimate your timescale
Next, you must settle on the timescale you need the staff augmentation services to fill. Due to the flexibility available, you can augment your team:
- Temporarily (days or weeks) to deal with existing problems
- For short-term projects (months or quarters)
- Permanently (years) to accelerate your team’s expansion
Step 4: Work with an organisation you can trust
Once you have identified what you want to achieve, how far away you are from achieving it with your current team, and the timescale that you need staff augmentation, it’s time to build a relationship with a company that can help. Look for companies that have a balance between technical training and diversity of talent so you can benefit from modern technologies and problem-solving strategies.
Ten10 is not a recruitment-based company that lightly coaches our engineers. We are expert technology consultants devoted to training the next generation of technologists. What’s the difference? The decades of first-hand, lived experience in the world of tech our Ten10 Academy Engineers learn from. Our trainers are ILM-certified industry practitioners who have spent years doing the work themselves and sharing their knowledge through the Ten10 Academy.
Discover how we can help augment your staff by speaking with a member of our team.