IT staff augmentation is used by leading businesses to quickly obtain additional capacity or expertise, optimize costs, and accelerate their development processes. The IT staff augmentation service market is huge, having reached a whopping $132.9B in 2021.
But finding a reliable partner for IT staff augmentation is a challenging task. When is the best time to use staff augmentation? Where to look for a reliable partner, and how to choose the right company that will help you scale flexibly and fast? We will explore all of these topics in our article to help you make the right choice. Read on!
- When can you drive the most value from IT staff augmentation?
- Where can you find a reliable service provider?
- How do you find the right partner?
- A success story of provided IT staff augmentation service
Go for IT staff augmentation if you need:
- Faster hiring. The hiring process is a lot quicker since you have to only interview candidates previously chosen and pre-screened by your partner based on your requirements.
- Instant know-how. The selected experts have the necessary qualifications to be integrated into your team as soon as the hiring process is over.
- Scaling flexibility. One of the main benefits and the key difference of staff augmentation vs outsourcing is quick on-demand team scaling (both up or down).
- Cost optimization. Augmenting a team with external experts can help you optimize your development expenses. It gives you access to talent pools that may have lower cost rates, which can lead to cost savings of up to 58%.
However, this form of outsourcing is by no means perfect and cannot be applied to every project. In fact, IT staff augmentation (also known as Extended team) is one of the 3 main types of outsourced team extension, including the Dedicated Team and Custom Solution Development models. Each of them has its own advantages and drawbacks and is better suited for certain types of needs.
Therefore, the question stands: when is it best to use staff augmentation vs IT outsourcing? The answer is threefold.
When you need particular expertise
If your project requires experts with a particular technical skill set that is either unavailable or difficult to find locally - looking for outsourced experts is the perfect solution. IT staff augmentation service providers give you access to large talent pools with a wide range of available expertise.
When you need to meet project deadlines
Difficulties in meeting deadlines are a common occurrence on software development projects, especially extensive ones. Staff augmentation IT companies can provide additional experts who will expand the development capacity of your in-house team and help you complete all project deliverables on time.
When you need development control
The main difference of staff augmentation vs outsourcing is that the new experts become a fully-integrated part of your in-house team. This gives you full control over the development process, as compared to other outsourcing models since you manage their activities and responsibilities on a daily basis.
Finding the right IT staff augmentation service provider depends heavily on the destination where you choose to look for one. When it comes to software outsourcing, there are three main go-to destinations.
Eastern Europe: the top IT staff augmentation destination
Eastern Europe is home to some of the most skilled engineers in the world. Countries from this region constantly reach the highest spots on top developer lists from various ranking platforms such as TopCoder. Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland, which have the largest talent pools in the region, are currently ranked 5th, 6th, and 8th, in the world, respectively.
Ukraine is a particularly popular outsourcing destination. You can often find it on various top outsourcing destination lists, such as the Global Sourcer Association’s Top 30 outsourcing and offshoring destinations.
‘’Ukraine has one of the largest pools of IT specialists in the CEE region.’’
Kerry Hallard, President of Global Sourcing Organization and CEO at GSA UK
There are over 5K staff augmentation IT companies in Ukraine with decades of software outsourcing experience. Leading global enterprises, such as Lebara, OfficeDepot, Skype, and Fluke, who have formed long-lasting partnerships with local vendors, value Ukrainian engineers for expertise and reliability.
Asia: the largest market of staff augmentation IT companies
As the region with the highest population, it is unsurprising that Asia holds the largest pool of IT experts in the world. In India alone, the number of professional developers has surpassed 4M, with approximately 800K ICT graduates joining the pool every year.
The region is valued for its sheer number of experts, the broad technical skillset they possess, and a lower cost rate (on average) compared to their counterparts in other countries.
However, this region is not without its flaws. First of all, finding the right partner in such a huge market may be both challenging and overwhelming. There are many potential candidates that you have to go through until you and many of them will not be able to match your requirements.
Secondly, there is a purely technical challenge, as some parts of this region have a slightly less developed technical infrastructure. It often proves to be unprepared for the challenges of remote working, and this is something that you have to consider before partnering with local vendors.
Latin America: an emerging market of IT experts
Finally, Latin America is also a popular destination to look for additional experts who can support your team. While this market is quite young, especially when compared to Asia and Eastern Europe, it is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Indeed, Brazil, for example, already has a pool of over 500K professional developers, with approximately 46K ICT graduates joining their ranks annually.
Additionally, the IT industry in Latin America is actively supported by local governments which see it as the means to battle economic instability that many countries in the region struggle with.
However, operating in a relatively new market has its own challenges. You have to take great care when screening staff augmentation IT companies to select a reliable and responsible partner. Some companies may be lacking in these departments, as reported on multiple occasions by Western businesses that partnered with some of the local vendors.
Moreover, the aforementioned economic (and political) instability that is common in Latin America may have a direct impact on your partnership. This is also something that you have to keep in mind and be prepared to.
How to find the right service provider
Carefully examining several key aspects of an IT staff augmentation service provider will help you find the right vendor.
1. Opt for a company with the right size
Medium and large IT companies have an obvious advantage over smaller ones as they can quickly find the right experts to match your requirements. Besides, when an increased workload appears that requires a temporary increase in your development capacity, larger companies can quickly allocate experts from their pool to fill this need. Therefore, if quick team formation and scaling are important to you - consider companies that have at least 1000 employees or more.
2. Check the company’s services and expertise
You need to evaluate the services and the expertise that your potential partner offers to make sure that they will be able to match your requirements. Moreover, choosing a partner that provides a wide range of services can help you in the long run. For example, if you are in the middle of migrating your infrastructure to the cloud, you may look only for providers of cloud services. However, your project will evolve and may require additional expertise in the future, such as AI & ML. Having a partner that already specializes in this area as well will significantly reduce the time to find the necessary experts.
3. Inquire about the offered pricing models
To attain the proper cost optimization that comes with software outsourcing one must select the most fitting pricing model - Fixed Price, Time&Material, or Dedicated Development Team. Moreover, the ability to switch between models to adjust to the new needs can help you allocate your expenses in the most efficient way.
Hence, when choosing an IT staff augmentation service provider, make sure they offer cooperation based on all three main outsourcing pricing models. Additionally, make sure they are flexible when it comes to switching between the models.
4. Assess the knowledge transfer plan
Any project, be it short-term cooperation or a partnership that lasts several years, accumulates lots of information over the course of development. Retaining this information is of utmost importance, as many factors can call for its need, such as an introduction of a new employee or handling of the development to a new team or vendor.
Therefore, it is crucial to analyze what knowledge transfer plan has been established within your partner’s organization. An effective plan can be analyzed according to 3 factors:
- What type of information is gathered on all levels, including individual, team, and organizational;
- Who transfers and who receives this information;
- Which tools and methodologies are used for information collection and transfer (tech talks, knowledge sharing sessions, demos, etc.).
5. Analyze the data security plan
Experts provided by the IT staff augmentation partner will have direct access to your internal systems. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze your partner’s data security policies to ensure that your organization will remain protected over the course of cooperation.
Additionally, the engineers that will be augmenting your team have to be proficient in the best practices of secure software development, such as:
- Data caching;
- Data traffic encrypting;
- Using static code analyzers;
- Scanning third-party libraries for vulnerabilities.
Finally, your partner has to comply with all established data protection standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc.
6. Go for the company with a strong HR brand
Employer brand plays a key role in the recruitment process, as candidates tend to choose companies that are known to offer good working conditions and career opportunities. A company with a strong HR brand has a higher chance of finding more experienced candidates. Various awards, top spots on ranking lists, and industry recognitions are all signs of a good employer brand.
Weinmann Emergency - a German-based healthcare company that produces sophisticated defibrillation and ventilation solutions - has seen first-hand the benefits of IT staff augmentation done right. They partnered with N-iX back in 2019 when they needed to expand their engineering capabilities.
N-iX provided Weinmann with embedded software development experts that had prior experience with healthcare projects - another requirement that was important to the client. Our experts quickly integrated into Weinmann’s team and helped them deliver the MEDUCORE Standard² solution. This is a portable defibrillator with monitoring functions that helps restore a patient’s heartbeat.
Our experts provided the necessary technological know-how and engineering capacity to accelerate the time-to-market of MEDUCORE. Moreover, the embedded development expertise of our engineers allowed them to introduce a number of improvements and features that expanded the device’s functionality, helping it cover more needs of healthcare workers. Head over to this page if you want to learn more about our partnership with Weinmann.
Take advantage of the N-iX IT staff augmentation service
- N-iX has over 20 years of experience providing software outsourcing services, including IT staff augmentation;
- We offer a wide range of technical expertise, from Big Data and Cloud development to Embedded engineering and Machine learning;
- N-iX has solid expertise working with projects from various industries, including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and more;
- N-iX is a rapidly growing company that already numbers over 1700 employees;
- Our company has a strong employer brand, gaining multiple recognitions from such platforms as Forbes, Clutch.co, Forrester, and more.