Staff Augmentation or Consulting, which is better?

Staff Augmentation or Consulting, which is better

By: Julio Lopez

March 26, 2021

With the economy becoming ever more competitive, businesses are looking for creative ways to save on costs while still delivering solid benefits to their clients. One of the key ways of doing this is outsourcing services, whether it’s cleaning contracts, general maintenance or general logistics. In most cases, another company takes on the contract and delivers the service.

But with some services, such as IT development, there are different approaches. You might employ a consultancy firm — one of about 500,000 in the United States alone — who comes in and provides their expertise. You also might choose staff augmentation, where a member of staff from an agency joins your team temporarily. While these might sound the same, there are crucial differences.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation involves a new team member from an agency working with your in-house staff. Because they are effectively seconded to the team, they slot into your existing structure. However, while they may have specific areas of expertise that you need, they still need to be trained in your approach and methodology. As a result, they require oversight from your management structure.

In-house augmentation, therefore, relies on guidance from the project manager. As a result, augmented staff members take a reactive approach. While they can use their expertise to foresee potential problems, it’s up to the in-house project manager to decide whether those issues are worth dealing with.

The main advantage of this approach is that they can work on an ongoing project that suitable for their skills. Plus, the project manager enjoys substantial control over what they do and when they do it. This is particularly useful for data-sensitive projects, where controls must be put in place to ensure the security of information.

Consulting

A consulting company can be just as cost-effective as staff augmentation, but there are differences you should be aware of. The consulting company can create a turnkey staffing solution, giving you a complete team that you can use to get your project going. This might include everything from the boots on the ground to the management structure above them. Having said that, to hire an experienced software developer, the wage in the United States is $136,3200 per year, and on-boarding costs can be significantly higher. A turnkey solution based in Mexico and Latin America may prove cheaper than you think.

This is a more traditional approach to outsourcing, and it’s ideal for projects where you simply don’t have the infrastructure required to start the project. This might be because your core business is focused on retail, for example, and a retail app doesn’t warrant building an in-house staff of developers. On the other hand, an app for your retail business builds loyalty, so you need an interim solution.

Similarly, a consulting firm can use a proactive approach, so they can foresee issues before they arise and have the authority and ability to deal with them.

Because consulting companies have layers of management, they are naturally pricier than simply augmenting your own staff. However, that layer of management still has to be paid at some point, whether it’s hiring your own management staff or using someone else’s.

How to Choose

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to staff augmentation and consultancy. To pick the best option for you, take these steps:

  • Define the project goals
  • Assess the current abilities of your team
  • Identify weak points
  • Identify strengths
  • Create a budget
  • Identified projected costs

This will give you an idea as to whether you need an IT development consultancy solution or simple staff augmentation. You should also consider the culture within your business – does it generally favor bringing projects in-house where possible or is it happy to bring in firms? That may be the biggest determiner of which path you choose.

Ultimately, the differences between staff augmentation and consultancy are clear, but no matter which one you choose, Sonatafy can provide a solution that suits your needs. Talk to us today to identify how we can help with your project.

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