If you are not familiar with this hiring model or you are not sure when it might be right for your business, here is what you need to know.
Businesses evolve — so do hiring models. Staff augmentation is not the same as yesterday’s outsourcing model. It is also not the same as increasing your in-house staff. It is a hybrid solution involving collaboration between in-house teams and remote developers, typically for a specific goal involving the development of a software product.
It has a number of advantages over other hiring models, such as easy scalability, simplified contracting, and fast access to top development talent. There is an emphasis on collaboration between the temporary team and the permanent, in-house team(s), which helps ensure a better final product that truly meets both the business needs of the organization and its users.
Therefore, unlike traditional outsourcing, staff augmentation meets the complex needs of a 21st-century organization, where there are many more factors to consider besides “lowest cost”. As such, it can be hard to know when to start using it. Here are a few things to think about if you are currently wondering whether staff augmentation is right for your organization right now.
When you are replacing legacy systems
Outdated software is one of the top obstacles to digital transformation. Burdened with slow systems that have little interoperability, bad UX or UI, unnecessary features, missing capabilities, and bad security, companies who want to modernize have a long road ahead of them as they revamp or replace their legacy systems.
Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team that is well-versed in user research, frameworks, technologies, methodologies, and other aspects of modern software development often produces better results than if the job were done by an in-house team or if it were simply outsourced with no collaboration.
Also, through collaboration with a development team to improve or replace legacy systems, a company fulfills two goals: 1) promoting digital transformation and 2) freeing up time for in-house IT staff to concentrate on other initiatives that fall under the guise of transformation. These range from security to compliance to training, as the company evolves toward digital maturity. That brings us to the next instance where it might be a good time to consider staff augmentation…
When you are restructuring your IT or software department
For many leaders, keeping their companies relevant in this highly dynamic world has meant transforming their business model by undertaking some degree of digital transformation. It has become practically a prerequisite for survival these days, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for achieving business success. Each company must find its own path on the journey toward digital transformation.
However, there is at least one common thread that ties together these disparate journeys. For companies looking to modernize and transform, their change agendas almost always involve the transformation of their IT or software departments.
The integration of systems across formerly siloed organizational boundaries is, after all, an essential building block of the overall digital transformation process.
And in the throes of it all, while IT is undergoing transformation, it too must stay dynamic — transforming but staying agile enough to expand and contract with internal demand.
A fundamental tool for accomplishing this is staff augmentation. Getting outside help with IT initiatives helps companies who are just beginning to transform their organizations and it helps those on the other end of the transformation spectrum, too: those who are digitally mature. In both cases, it alleviates pressure on your in-house team so they can respond to the demands of transformation, whether that transformation comes in the form of modernization or transition to Devops.
When your organization needs to scale
As we said earlier, the pace of change in today’s business environment is at an all-time high. It is not unusual for markets to expand for months or years on end, only to pull back without a moment of warning. Or they pivot, causing the business landscape to shift almost overnight. Companies who want to succeed in a dynamic environment must match the market’s continuous pace of change, paralleling shifts with their own ebb and flow of change.
For in-house IT departments, that ebb and flow of change can come at a price. Already under enormous pressure to modernize and transform, they face an ever-increasingly complex work environment that just keeps getting tougher. New technologies, customer-centered business models, the growth of cloud adoption, the restructuring of IT and the rise of DevOps, combined with the increasingly sophisticated cyber threat landscape, are proving to be the top challenges of CIOs. Under these circumstances, “pivoting on a dime” (or scaling down when markets pull back) can be difficult to pull off.
So for every company, there comes a time when it makes sense to consider staff augmentation as a way to alleviate pressure on their own teams when demand for their services peaks. Maybe there is a high season in your industry or maybe you need to staff a project while your in-house team focuses on long-term goals. In both cases, staff augmentation is a good solution.
When you need help meeting temporary requirements
It might be the case that your in-house team has everything covered but needs help because of volume — the team is just too small for a certain job. In this case, staff augmentation is the perfect arrangement. They collaborate with programmers to add a certain feature, for example. Or maybe they just want help with testing. Any combination of services is possible with staff augmentation.
When your IT department lacks certain capabilities
Sometimes in-house teams need help not because they are not good enough but simply because of the lack of certain skills. Staff augmentation provides access to a global talent pool, which makes closing the skills gap quite easy. One more thing: the external team can become a trainer for your employees so your team gains knowledge and experience.
When you do not have time to hire permanent staff
The recruitment process can take months, especially in a talent market where certain specialized skills can be hard to come by. Most of the time, software solutions need to be ready fast. When your company needs a product and cannot wait months to go through the hiring process and then onboard a new employee, staff augmentation makes sense.
When you need to put a freeze on hiring
Even though IT budgets in North America and Europe are set to increase this year by a whopping 44%, it won’t do much to alleviate the pressure that most in-house teams are feeling these days. The driving forces behind the planned budget increases are a) tighter security and b) replacing outdated software. That does not leave much room for hiring additional, permanent IT staff. Some companies who are experiencing hiring freezes find a solution with staff augmentation.
To Sum Up
Today’s IT ecosystem looks dramatically different than it did just a few years ago. For example, the rise of cloud adoption has changed how we get work done. For small businesses, the cloud is the great equalizer, providing access to new tools, platforms, and services that allow them to compete in the global marketplace. For enterprises, the cloud has helped them modernize, stay agile, and keep pace with a constantly changing marketplace.
Staff augmentation is a valuable resource for companies who wish to take advantage of all the cloud has to offer. Indeed, you could say that it is the perfect hiring model for the 21st century because, like the cloud, it allows companies of any size to compete, stay agile, and survive in the digital era.
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