Comparing Offshoring, Nearshoring, Staff Augmentation, and the Whole Outsourcing Alphabet Soup

Comparing Offshoring, Nearshoring, Staff Augmentation, and the Whole Outsourcing Alphabet Soup

by Jesus Lopez   |   December 11, 2019   |     17 min read

So, you’ve decided to increase productivity by outsourcing. But now, you’d like to be more conscious of which outsourcing model could work best for you.

Good news! In this post, Coderslink is breaking down outsourcing for you. We hope this will be useful in your decision-making process. Let’s start at the top.


Although there may be different opinions to outsource tasks, in reality, outsourcing encompasses anything from a substitute teacher to Antonio’s factory in Mexico, making doors for Volkswagen’s cars.

Outsourcing offers a variety of alternatives that help you save money, time, or even face. However scary it might sound, bringing a foreign agent to help you with your internal processes (imagine PWC auditing a company), can help you focus on things that really matter for the original purpose of your business.

Outsourcing ensures that your resources will be used accordingly to reach your goals.

It takes a little humility to accept the mentioned approach. You can’t, and shouldn’t, do everything yourself. Maybe your expenses will rise but, if you plan accordingly, so will your profits.

Now let’s take a closer look at the…

Top 4 Ways To Outsource:

  1. Nearshore
  2. Offshore
  3. Staff Augmentation


So, you hire an external professional located within the same country in which you are to work for you.

For example, Apple Inc. hiring KPMG USA to manage its financial books.

Onshore outsourcing benefits:

  • No language barrier.
  • Similar or identical time zones
  • Easier to see or visit each other.
  • Familiarity.

Drawbacks to consider:

outsourcing onshore: implies that the external party helping you, your “outsource,” is in the same country as you


For example, if AT&T hired a call center located in Mexico, for customer support, or if a freelance developer in Japan hired one freelance developer in China to help her with one task.

Nearshore outsourcing benefits:

  • Bigger cost reduction.
  • Practically zero liability.
  • Easy to visit.

Drawbacks to consider:

  • Possibility of communication struggles.
  • Infrastructure.

nearshore outsourcing: when you hire an external professional that is in a neighboring country to yours


In reality, offshoring means taking one or more of your processes and getting them done in a distant country.

For example, Volkswagen hiring a Brazilian factory to manufacture engine parts.

Offshore outsourcing benefits:

  • Potential 24-hour work cycle.
  • Not dealing with many, possibly any, legalities.

Drawbacks to consider:

  • Work ethic and structure.
  • KPIs and measures of success.
  • Different time zones
  • Infrastructure

offshore means hiring someone from a far country to get the job done

Staff Augmentation

A specialized agency that provides talent can solve this. They’ll also take care of all the legalities and back-office procedures. By the end of the project, everything goes back to normal, except that you’ll have one more victory in your pocket.

Think of it as upgrading your “developers’ army” with a legion of “skilled mercenaries,” just for this one battle. This skilled people can come from any corner of the world.

However, by bringing new people in-house, time can become an invaluable resource, especially when it comes to training and bringing them up to speed.

To optimize, having manuals and systems will decrease your training times.

Staff augmentation outsourcing is recommended for the short-term. Still, it’ll works for the long-term, as you can also hire permanent professionals to work beside you through agencies like CodersLink.

Staff augmentation outsourcing is recommended for the short-term.

Making sense of all this “shoring” and staff augmentation.

The “shorings” imply remote work, while staff augmentation requires in-house work or a co-sourcing partner to get the recruitment job done.

Well, what about Remote Work?

We’d invite you to re-think it as Remote Productivity,” people can be very busy but not be productive.

Remote work can happen in any of the scenarios mentioned above, and even with your “in-house” team. Times are changing, and the trend is moving towards people not having to work physically in one location or workplace to produce results.

Focus on what really matters

After such a realization, the first rational step tends to be getting employees, which can be an arduous process itself. A great way to shorten the time required to get someone on board is by using an outsourcing strategy.

Of course, it is vital to map out your company’s growth path and have a clear vision of the steps it’ll take to get there. After you’ve done this, you can decide which ones to outsource.

Outsourcing is an excellent tool for retaining clients. Maybe there is this one project that will open the door for your company with a big client, but your business is not ready to take on every aspect of it.

Consider this when outsourcing

  • If you offshore things, you will be dealing with a different vision of the world. Always research before deciding.
  • Take time to state the obvious. Assumptions are usually behind misunderstandings. Save some time and bitter moments: state the obvious.
  • Invest some time in learning how to give instructions. It is much like sitting down — you might not think much of it, except when your back hurts.
  • Research about payment methods and be clear about the whole money process with the person on the other side.
  • Ultimately, this is an exchange of trust. So try to create a space where trust is the main ingredient. Honor deals, hold people accountable to their agreements, and never be afraid to say goodbye at an early stage or at any point if need be.

To summarize

Offshoring, nearshoring, onshoring, and staff augmentation are to outsourcing, what Karate is to martial arts. Where outsourcing encompasses many things, including those three.

  • Offshoring is to delegate tasks to a person or organization in a distant country from which your headquarters are. By default, it implies remote work.
  • Nearshoring is to delegate tasks to a person or organization in a country not so far from yours. Typically, it’s a neighboring country. By default, it implies remote work.
  • Onshoring is to delegate tasks to a person or organization in the same country as your headquarters. It doesn’t necessarily imply remote work. It could be PWC auditing your company.

Staff augmentation is when you need a group of people with a specific skill set that you, or your company, don’t have or are not particularly good at. It implies bringing people in-house, from anywhere in the world.

This staff will then contribute to the completion of a particular project laid out for them, and once finished, leave.

Remote work is working from any location different from what would be considered the “workplace.” Again, we’d invite you to think of it as “remote productivity.”

Remote work is not necessarily outsourcing. You could have some employees doing home office, that’d be remote work.

It’s easier than it sounds

You can get rid of tasks that just drain you or rob you of valuable time. Outsourcing will give you this freedom, allow you to grow in the direction you intend, and boost productivity for you and your organization.

We hope this post was helpful to you. If you have any questions, leave it below, and we’ll answer ASAP.

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