All you need to know about IT staff augmentation: Ultimate guide

All you need to know about IT staff augmentation: Ultimate guide
N-iX
2019-07-16T19:56:07+00:00

Contents Benefits of IT staff augmentation. Things to consider when looking for an offshore staff augmentation company. How to choose the right cooperation model for offshore staff augmentation. Examples of companies that made the most of software development staff augmentation. The...

All you need to know about IT staff augmentation: Ultimate guide
By Mariana Malashniak, Romana Gnatyk July 16, 2019

Contents

  1. Benefits of IT staff augmentation.
  2. Things to consider when looking for an offshore staff augmentation company.
  3. How to choose the right cooperation model for offshore staff augmentation.
  4. Examples of companies that made the most of software development staff augmentation.

The demand for qualified software developers is growing faster than ever. Companies in the USA and the UK often fail to find qualified candidates to meet their software development needs. In particular, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in 2020 there will be 1.4M more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them.

It is hard to find experts with the necessary skills, experience, background, and reasonable salary expectations. That is why more and more companies opt for IT staff augmentation services and hire offshore dedicated developers in Europe.

How you can benefit from IT staff augmentation

Access to engineering talent across the globe

A lot of companies are facing the challenge of finding the necessary tech talent. In the US and the UK, for instance, there is a gap between the demand of tech experts and their supply. When you look for software developers offshore, you get access to a wide-ranging pool of talent. For instance, there are over 1M engineers in Central and Eastern Europe, and many of them work for outsourced projects. For companies that need to grow their development capabilities fast, this is a considerable opportunity to make use of IT staff augmentation services in Europe or Asia, hire the best talent, and increase time-to-market.

Control over product development

Offshore staff augmentation enables the customer to keep maximum control over product development. It provides flexibility in changing the project scope and thus allows a company to swiftly react to the new market trends.

In addition, a client keeps control over the team, tracks the working process, assigns tasks, and monitors progress. However, you may also delegate this function to the outsourcing vendor. Ultimately, software developers are integrated with the on-site and distributed teams, so they all become a single unit sharing the same coding practices and the company culture.

Increased scalability

One of the greatest benefits of offshore staff augmentation is the ability to grow the engineering capabilities faster than with any other strategy. This is especially critical for fast-growing startups that need to bring new products to the market. A lot of IT outsourcing providers try to keep their best talent in the company, so when a client needs to scale the team fast, they can use both their available internal resources and recruitment capabilities.

For large ISVs and enterprises, this is also a great advantage, especially, when they need to set up several teams at once. For instance, our partner Travelport Locomote (part of Travelport, an industry-leading corporate travel platform), needed to augment their resources with several Scrum teams within a limited timeframe. So the ability to find the necessary people fast was among the most important criteria when choosing an IT outsourcing partner.

Capabilities to innovate

The staff augmentation model also allows companies to tap into new technological expertise. Introducing innovations such as Virtual Reality, AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Blockchain is costly and time-consuming. Therefore, developing such expertise in-house is not always feasible. Whereas a lot of software outsourcing vendors work on many projects across various industries and have a pool of specialists in many different technologies. So businesses often use this as a foundation for modernizing their platforms and adopting emerging technologies.

For example, HotSchedules, an American hospitality provider, engaged N-iX to entirely modernize the tech stack of their major digital product. The development team located in Ukraine helped the company support their platform and at the same time modernize its codebase with more efficient JavaScript frameworks.

Other benefits of IT staff augmentation services include a predictable budget, no HR, administration or infrastructure headache, and more.

Benefits of hiring dedicated software developers

How to select an offshore staff augmentation company?

Choosing an outsourcing vendor for providing software development staff augmentation services is not an easy task. The vendor landscape is vast and diversified, so it is important to establish clear criteria for selecting a partner that would meet your business needs. Here are a few aspects to consider:

Geographical location

The location of the vendor’s delivery center is a significant factor when it comes to finding a reliable offshore team augmentation company in Europe or Asia. In order to find the most suitable outsourcing destination, you should take into account such aspects as cultural compatibility, time difference, size of the talent pool, and even the level of English proficiency in the country.

India has been an IT outsourcing leader for many years due to its ample engineering resources. However, more and more often, Western businesses cooperate with Eastern European vendors. This region has a highly qualified workforce, solid STEM education, and a rich talent pool. Also, it is culturally close to Western Europe and the USA, which ensures more effective communication. View our detailed report on the IT outsourcing destinations of the CEE region.

Vendor’s reputation

After you decide on the country where you would like to hire your software development team, it is time to choose an IT staff augmentation vendor. You can start by checking the reputation of the shortlisted companies. The best way to do it is to go through client reviews on Google, Facebook, Clutch, Good Firms, and similar platforms. Also, you should ask a company to provide references when you contact them.

Secondly, take into account industry awards and rankings, including Top 100 Global Outsourcing Companies by IAOP, Software 500, GSA Awards, European IT & Software Excellence Award, etc.

Capacity to scale a team

One of the primary reasons for opting for offshore staff augmentation services is an acute need to grow development capacities. Even in the countries with vast talent pools, recruitment may take months, especially if you need scarce specialists in such technologies as Scala, Golang, Hadoop, etc.

If you are planning to set up a big software development team or a development center with multiple teams working on different projects, you should consider the size of the potential vendor and its recruitment capabilities. Mid-size and large outsourcing providers are likely to have some of the resources you need internally. Also, it is easier for them to attract new talent and train them if needed.

Employer brand image

The vendor’s ability to scale your team fast depends heavily on its employer brand image. So you need to make sure that the company has a good reputation in the local IT market, and people are willing to work there. Again, you can look through Facebook and Google reviews to check the employees’ feedback.

For instance, if you are considering an IT staff augmentation company based in Ukraine, you could check out DOU, the largest online development community in the country. It regularly surveys the employees of the Ukrainian IT companies to make an unbiased list of the best employers in the Ukrainian IT market.

Moreover, it is easier to control the retention rate within your software development team if the vendor cares about its employees. A reliable IT outsourcing partner will work alongside you to motivate your developers, build loyalty on the team, and create an inspiring work environment.

Established delivery model

Hiring software developers is not enough. Both the client and the vendor have to do a lot of work before they can build a strong team for lasting cooperation. Therefore, we suggest choosing an offshore staff augmentation company that has a solid track record in building software development teams that deliver real working software products. Also, you are more likely to achieve success with the team that is experienced in completing projects like yours.

So study the vendor’s portfolio, learn about the number of software development team engagements, and pay special attention to long-lasting partnerships. This will help you to determine whether a vendor is a reliable business partner.

Developed infrastructure

The productivity of your software development team will also depend on the working environment. So make sure your potential partner has all administrative facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure required for the business.

Another aspect is the IT infrastructure. Your IT staff augmentation company should have a fully-fledged IT department that is able to run the working processes efficiently. In addition, the company should have the hardware, software, network resources and services required for delivering IT solutions and services.

High-security standards

When it comes to intellectual property, security issues cannot be underestimated. It is crucial that the vendor complies with international security standards such as ISO, PCI, HIPAA, and dedicates much attention to educating its employees and establishing an effective security policy. For instance, you may check out the vendor’s audit reports that include details regarding its security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Your IT outsourcing partner should have secure office facilities, protected IT infrastructure and people responsible for mitigating any security risks. They should share your standards in data protection and risk management.

How to choose the right cooperation model for offshore staff augmentation?

Organizations that decide to go with IT staff augmentation services usually consider such cooperation models as an extended team, a managed team, and an outsourced team.

The extended team model allows the client to get additional development capacity for their existing team. The client stays fully in charge of product development and team management. Companies often look for team extension in Europe or Asia because this model suits best for short-term cooperation when you need to scale a project quickly and deliver a product on time.

The managed team model works great for long-term projects. A vendor builds a dedicated development team sharing the risk and responsibility for the final results. They work autonomously from the client’s in-house team, but the outsourced project manager reports to the client’s product owner. Many companies have experienced the advantages of setting up a dedicated development team: cost-effectiveness, flexibility, ease of scalability, transparency, easy collaboration, etc. 

The outsourced team is the most traditional cooperation model. A vendor is fully in charge of building the team and delivering the solution from the product discovery to the final release according to the deadlines. The client provides ideas and sets out requirements, and the vendor delivers a custom solution that meets the client’s business needs.

With IT staff augmentation services, you can engage the best tech skills in the industry. Offshore software engineers work exclusively for your project accumulating the knowledge and experience in your domain. Ideally, they integrate with your in-house team and become a part of your organization. So you can build your development team according to your specific requirements and scale it up or down in the future depending on your business needs.

Companies that succeeded with software development staff augmentation 

Many well-known brands such as Microsoft, CNN, The Economist, Ratesetter, Currencycloud, OpenText, and others have opted for IT staff augmentation services. Many of them have set up their own R&D centers in other countries and gained tangible business value from hiring IT specialists offshore.

A global telecom provider Lebara, has cooperated with N-iX for over five years. The company has started with a team of 10 software developers and extended it to 113 IT specialists. As a result, Lebara has built a large development center with multiple teams working on different projects. Software developers at N-iX cover a broad range of expertise including software development, mobile application development, quality assurance, business intelligence, DevOps, and more.

Unity Technologies, a renowned video game development company, has partnered with STX Next, a Python software house based in Poznan, Poland, to maintain and improve one of its in-house software development tools Katana. The offshore vendor has worked on resolving memory leaks, dealing with race conditions, adding new features to the system, and more.

Freelance.de, one of the most popular marketplaces for IT-freelancers in Germany has teamed up with ICL Services to change the architecture of its infrastructure. An outsourced engineering team created Low-Level Design (LLD) and High-Level Design (HLD) of the IT-architecture for its client and thus came up with a scalable solution that would help the customer cut infrastructure costs.

Gogo, a North American market leader in in-flight connectivity, has partnered with N-iX to expand its development capabilities. The N-iX team has provided end-to-end software development of the cloud-based platform which collects data from more than 20 different sources and found the reasons for ill-performance and equipment failures, reducing the number of not-fault-founds by 8 times. By opting for team augmentation services in Europe, Gogo has sped up the software development process and improved the performance of its product.

Fluke Corporation, a leading manufacturer of industrial test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment, started cooperation with N-iX with a small development team of 8 specialists. Within 2 years, it has increased to 22 members. Thanks to the effective knowledge transfer plan in place, N-iX team easily integrated with the client’s other remote teams located in the USA (Everett, Florida), India (Bangalore), and Ireland (Dublin) and ensured successful delivery of the products.

Afterword

Offshore staff augmentation can solve a lot of challenges for your business such as the need to scale up, grow your development capabilities, and adopt innovations faster. However, to benefit from IT staff augmentation services and hire skilled software developers, you have to consider a number of factors.

It is important to define the most suitable location for your outsourced team, go through the vendor’s portfolio, and learn about its reputation. What is more, the IT staff augmentation company should have enough capacities to satisfy your growth needs and attract even the most scarce talent.

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By Mariana Malashniak, Romana Gnatyk July 16, 2019
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About N-iX

N-iX is an Eastern European provider of software development services with 1000+ expert software engineers onboard that power innovative technology businesses. Since 2002 we have formed strategic partnerships with a variety of global industry leaders including OpenText, Novell, Lebara, Currencycloud and over 50 other medium and large-scale businesses. With delivery centers in Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, and Belarus, we deliver excellence in software engineering and deep expertise in a range of verticals including finance, healthcare, hospitality, telecom, energy and enterprise content management helping our clients to innovate and implement technology transformations.

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