Staffing
What is IT Staff Augmentation?

What is IT Staff Augmentation?

by Jesus Lopez   |   March 16, 2021   |     6 min read
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Almost $500 billion dollars are spent in staff augmentation every year across the globe – $120 billion solely on IT staffing. Nowadays, it’s become a powerful tool companies both large and small use to tackle their engineering talent needs. Even though it’s been around for decades, the staff augmentation strategies and types are in constant evolution, so much that it can be daunting for a company to choose one to get started. 

The basic definition

IT staff augmentation is the use of external resources – developers and engineers – to enhance your existing IT team on a temporary basis. 

However over the past couple of years companies have gotten creative as to how they use this tool to their advantage, prompting the rise of different use cases of IT staff augmentation. 

Use Cases of Staff Augmentation in the IT Industry

With the rise of specialization, companies are constantly looking to trim their overhead costs to really focus on their ‘secret sauce’ or their core activities and are tapping into outside pools to meet their talent demands.

Staffing Use CaseUse case description
Close Skill-gapsIdentify difficult-to-fill positions in complex tech stacks or technologies for a long period of time. 
Meet demand spikesIncrease a team’s capacity to meet with demand spikes temporarily – usually seen in tech support, customer service and web development. 
Complete complex projectsTapping into a particular set of skills to complete specific one-time projects – Mobile applications, complete redesigns, refactoring website. 
Build a remote teamBuild a flexible tech team – often in nearshore or offshore locations – as a secondary IT team and as a competitive advantage. 

Types of Staff Augmentation

Not all staffing is made equal, there are different types of talent used, different talent pools, and different staffing services (more on this later) that can be used to meet resource demands. 

Talent

When talking about tech we can categorize the different types of talent in three ways:

 

Talent TypeDescriptionExample
Highly specialized talentEngineering or software development talent with very specific tech stacks or technical skills. Ruby on Rails developers

MEAN stack software engineers

React Native developers

Skilled talent Engineering roles with more ‘common’ skill-sets or who are more role-oriented.Front end Javascript developers

Back end PHP developers

Commoditized talentRoles with less of a specialty and who are more task-oriented.Tech support

Customer service

 

Talent Pool Types

On the other hand, there are different pool types where you can draw engineering talent from

Talent Pool TypeDescriptionExample
OnshoreTalent in the same country and location as your company.HQ in New York and staffing a developer in Texas
OffshorePool in a country with another time zone and location.HQ in New York and staffing in India. 
NearshoreTalent pool in a neighboring country and location, but similar time zone. HQ in New York and staffing in Mexico. 

 

Types of IT Staff Augmentation Services

Companies from startups to large companies use staff augmentation services and each demand a different type of service level and engagement to meet their talent needs. These are the different types of services IT agencies provide:

Service TypeServices DescriptionTalent Provider Examples
Short-Term Individual Staffing Sourcing, managing and payroll services. Short contracts and obscure pricing. Contractors – Individual temporary workers, fully dedicatedManpower

TEKsystems

Michael Page

Toptal

Long-Term Individual StaffingSourcing, managing, payroll and talent benefits services. 12 month+ engagements for engineers, transparent pricing. Remote teammembers – fully dedicated and immersed in the team. CodersLink

Toptal

Remote Team StaffingBuild-Operate-Transfer model – sourcing, office set-up, managing, payroll, benefits and career path services. Long-term and symbiotic relationship with company. Remote tech team – a fully dedicated and immersed secondary team.CodersLink

Terminal

Gig StaffingCatalogue or demand based through online platforms. Project-based contractorsUpwork

 

What does staff augmentation mean for your business

it staffing for companies image

In a nutshell, staff augmentation empowers companies to complement and extend their existing engineering recruiting reach. In more advanced implementations, it further helps companies reduce labor costs, increase productivity and focus on their core operations or mission-critical activities. 

With the rise of digital transformation, every company is now a tech company. Thus, engineering talent is in high demand, and finding highly-skilled engineers is poised to be an ever-increasing challenge. Staff augmentation empowers a company through existing talent pools, a team of specialized recruiters, and vetting processes, which in turn reduces a job opening’s time-to-fill.

The great thing about staffing is that as a company, you’re always in the driver’s seat. Hired remote developers are fully dedicated – meaning you communicate directly with them, integrate them to your in-house team, and set the development direction and roadmap. 

Companies who choose to engage in staff augmentation usually do so as part of a larger strategy, usually employing it as a multi-strategy tactic, here are two examples to draw upon:

  • Multi-strategy 1
  • Multi-strategy 2
    • In-house tech team focuses on mission-critical activities or core operations 
    • Use staff augmentation to build a long-term remote tech team as a secondary team or support team
    • Use internal HR recruitment resources to find in-house positions

There are more ways a company can engage in staff augmentation to meet their talent demands. What’s important to highlight is the flexibility of staffing in solving hiring challenges – specifically software engineers and software developer hiring challenges.

 

How to get started in employing a staff augmentation strategy

Staff augmentation represents an area of opportunity for companies looking to specialize in their core activities and use strategic initiatives to improve productivity, efficiency, and lower costs.

It’s a full strategy that will require structure, set-up, and hand-holding as it ramps up to full capacity, but once it arrives there then the real benefits begin. 

Some considerations to keep in mind when evaluating this type of strategy:

  • Requires a deep dive to define and understand core business activities 
  • Requires a shift in operational structure and a ‘remote’ management mindset
  • Ramp-up might take anywhere between 1 month to 6 months depending on size, project type, and project length.
  • Depending on where you’re staffing there might be time zone, cultural and communication issues to keep in mind. 

Once you’ve got that figured out you can evaluate different service providers, their services, and talent pool to see how they align with your needs. 

 

CodersLink – a Niche IT Staff Augmentation Provider

CodersLink specializes in empowering companies to build, grow and manage remote tech teams in Latin America through staffing and recruitment services. Through our IT staffing agency, we’ve helped companies create 50 people nearshore tech teams, close-skill gaps through recruitment services, and complement existing teams with our engineer pool of 15,000 tech talents. 

Get with one of our experts to talk about how an IT staff augmentation strategy can work for your company.

 

Photos by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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