outsourcing hybrid hiring staff augmentation

Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing vs. Hybrid Approach 101

Over the past decade, employment in the US tech sector has been steadily rising – peaking at nearly 3.12 million employees as of January 2023. So, as the appetite for high-speed software development continues to escalate, the pressure to promptly identify top engineering talent is a ceaseless challenge faced by hiring and recruitment managers around the globe.

Remote developers and development agencies are the lifeblood of successful software companies and e-commerce businesses for a variety of reasons, not least of which because it helps them keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the evolving digital world.

Consequently, in today’s uncertain climate, being able to create the perfect team relies heavily on choosing the right delivery model. Outsourcing software development has become a firm favorite with companies looking to reduce expenditure without impacting upon the overall operational efficiency of the project. But it may surprise you to learn that outsourcing isn’t limited to just one technique.

Let’s dive into the world of staff augmentation vs traditional outsourcing together and take a closer look at the latest hybrid approach at the same time.

What is the difference between staff augmentation and staff outsourcing?

Staff augmentation is a dynamic outsourcing method where savvy software companies bring remote developers and other IT freelancers in on a temporary or seasonal basis to fill the skills gap. On the other hand, outsourcing involves tech companies appointing a development team to take charge of an entire project or contracting part of a particular department out to a development agency.

Quite simply, staff augmentation increases the size of your team and its knowledge base for a short-term period. While outsourcing reduces the number of in-house departments you’re committed to maintaining, allowing you to scale up and down as needed.

Addressing security concerns

IT is one of the most in-demand industries for remote workers, with the majority of software developers currently working entirely off-site. So, it’s understandable that remote work security is a common concern throughout the development community, particularly when companies habitually depend on staff augmentation. 

That said, outsourcing doesn’t come without its drawbacks, including the risk of vendors mismanaging data and potential security breaches. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to address these concerns. From regularly reviewing security logs to gain valuable insight into potential threats, to setting up a remote device control that only provides access to authorized employees, there are various ways to maintain solid data security when outsourcing.

What are the different types of staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation can also be split into long-term augmentation services (any project that lasts six months) and short term staff augmentation (typically four to six months). Two of the most common types of staff augmentation associated with software development are:

Skill-based augmentation

Skill-based augmentation is when HR and recruitment managers seek people with higher levels of education, experience and knowledge than the average worker.

Examples: Basic copywriting, web design, testing.

Highly skilled augmentation

When a project needs unmatched expertise to complete it, it’s time for highly skilled augmentation.

Examples: Remote software development, artificial intelligence, data science.

Keeping on top of fluctuating market demands is a key consideration for both developers and IT hiring professionals too. For example, in 2022, software talent seekers mainly focused their efforts on hiring developers with expert knowledge of JavaScript, Java and SQL. Just one year later, full-stack and back-end developers have become some of the most in-demand positions in 2023.

Commodity-based augmentation

Although it doesn’t really apply to the software industry, there’s also commodity-based augmentation. Typically used when there’s a shortage of employees, it focuses on filling positions that don’t require high levels of skill.

Examples: Data entry, customer service, manual labor.

To learn more about the benefits of staff augmentation, check out our guide to IT staff augmentation.

What is the hybrid model of outsourcing?

Of course, in software development things are never just black and white; there are many gray areas that need to be addressed too. This is where the hybrid outsourcing model comes into play. Geared up to address the challenges of the fast-paced world of software development, the hybrid approach unites all the best features of augmentation and outsourcing as one.

Offering a variety of benefits to the software development industry, it can’t be ignored that staff augmentation can become costly over time, while outsourcing can pose a real security risk for projects involving personal data. By adopting the hybrid approach, you can eliminate these worries and address your unique business needs and objectives more productively.

Remote access software, such as remote ipad support, delivers an effective way for developers working off-site to securely connect to Android and iOS mobile devices from an external desktop or mobile device.

What is an example of a hybrid approach?

Adapting to many different shapes and sizes, a typical example of the hybrid outsourcing model is merging an on-site development team with an external service provider. Working together to complete the project successfully, this blended team approach helps tech and software companies to stay in complete control while enjoying the benefits of collaboration and flexibility.

What are the advantages of hybrid outsourcing?

  • Budget-friendly
  • Maintains tight control over the project
  • Flexibility and scalability for multi-stage projects
  • Healthy collaboration and communication
  • Nurtures and supports an extended team
  • Access to the widest talent pool of developers
  • Post-deployment support
  • Improved best practice guidelines, especially for maintaining data security and confidentiality.

To allow developers to access essential emails, documents and codebases safely from wherever they are, it’s definitely worth investing in a remote access solution like RealVNC to enhance your hybrid outsourcing approach even further.

Staff augmentation vs outsourcing vs hybrid approach: Crucial differences

Staff augmentation Outsourcing Hybrid approach
Complete control over the project ✔️
Smooth integration with complex internal processes ✔️
Introduces new skills whilst simultaneously leveraging existing potential ✔️ ✔️
Fills specialized skills gaps within the project team ✔️ ✔️
Acquiring more resources to complete an active project ✔️ ✔️
Effective cost management in line with evolving needs ✔️ ✔️
Reaching breakthroughs in efficiency and productivity ✔️ ✔️
Overcome the lack of internal capabilities ✔️ ✔️
Enforce best practices and project guidelines ✔️ ✔️
Transfers the responsibility for management, results and risk outside the company ✔️
Warrants focus on results and the core business ✔️
Large scale outsourcing delivers better productivity and cost benefits ✔️
Supports companies without an IT department or no development staff ✔️

How do you implement a successful hybrid outsourcing strategy?

Combining local and remote development teams is sure to strengthen and enhance remote collaboration. But cultivating a multicultural hybrid team doesn’t come without its own issues either. Nevertheless, there are various ways to improve essential lines of communication and collaboration. These include

  • Project management platforms

Project management software uses the latest technology to improve project planning, scheduling, resource allocation and change management. Jira, Wrike and ClickUp are three top project management tools that software developers and technology teams are using to support various work styles, including hybrid methods.

  • Video conferencing tools for coders

Even before the pandemic, video conferencing was working its magic to connect in-house workers and external teams. Emails and phone calls are all well and good, but video calls are proven to boost morale as well as collaboration. Sought-after video conferencing chat features developers seek include the ability to share screens during calls, screenshot pasting, set tasks, and guaranteed security.

Ideal for the hybrid outsourcing model, specialist video communication tools popular with coders at the moment include Chanty, Brosix and Zoom. To streamline the process even further, look for a project management tool that offers built-in video meeting capabilities.

  • Regular meetings

It’s also important to treat off-site team developers the same as internal staff. Nothing beats face to face meetings for improved focus, productivity and engagement. So, if they can attend occasional meetings in person, it should definitely be encouraged.

Workforce management software from Paylocity also provides the tools needed to put the right processes in place for better staff management.

Contract software engineers and development agencies with a tailored approach to outsourcing

If speeding up the hiring process and creating a pool of quality candidates is at the top of your to-do list, implementing IT staff augmentation, software development outsourcing or blending the two together according to your specific needs are all tried and tested methods of enhancing software business operations.

To learn more about the biggest IT outsourcing risks, check out these five biggest IT outsourcing risks and how to mitigate them.

Written by
Sam O’ Brien

Sam O’Brien is the ex-Vice President of Marketing for RealVNC, leading providers of secure, reliable remote access solutions. With a strong background in growth marketing, product management, and design, Sam brings a deep understanding of leveraging outsourcing and staff augmentation to enhance business scalability and operational efficiency. His expertise is complemented by his writings for platforms like Socialnomics and Pics.io, where he explores the strategic integration of technology in marketing. Sam’s passion for innovation drives his approach to evolving business processes through effective resource management strategies.

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