Are you looking to step up your software development game, but your core team could use some help? If so, you may want to consider bringing external staff on board. Two of the most popular services in this regard are IT staff augmentation and software consulting.
Both solutions involve the use of external team members to build a new product or help you modernize your existing software, speed up delivery time, and maximize cost efficiency.
That said, IT staff augmentation and software consulting are two distinct services, and one may be better suited to your business objectives than the other. This short guide can help you find out which one is a better fit for you.
What Is IT Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation is just what it sounds like: a seamless extension of your existing staff using dedicated development teams. The service is also known as extended software development. The internal and external teams work side by side on common projects, share tasks and milestones, and communicate often and in real time.
Note that this is different from project or product outsourcing, in which the entire software development life cycle is outsourced to a third-party vendor, from planning to deployment and everything in between.
When to Use IT Staff Augmentation
The staff augmentation model generally works best for:
- Projects that require internal team involvement. Some complex or long-term projects may require internal expertise and oversight. In such cases, having remote developers alongside your in-house team can deliver the external know-how you need while allowing you to retain direct oversight of the development process.
- Filling skill gaps. If your in-house employees have the capacity to carry out the project, and you only need a few extra hands on deck or some additional skills, staff augmentation can be a great solution for you.
- Enabling scalability and rapid growth. Are you looking to scale your staff quickly and efficiently? Setting up a remote development team can take considerably less time than hiring full-time employees, especially if you have limited experience in tech recruitment or are based in a jurisdiction with long notice periods.
- Fluctuating project demand. If you only need help for a limited period or a one-off project, staff augmentation could be a good fit. This may also be the case in uncertain times, such as during economic downturns or when testing a new product.
The Benefits of the Staff Augmentation Model
The list below sets out just some of the advantages of these types of services. For more details, check out our related blog 5 Benefits of IT Staff Augmentation for U.S. Companies.
1. High Degree of Control
Perhaps the biggest advantage of staff augmentation is that it provides you with almost the same level of control over the development process as you would have if you were creating the entire project in-house. You get to personally choose, manage, and collaborate with your remote engineers every step of the way, in much the same way as you would with an internal team.
2. Time and Cost Savings
Staff augmentation companies typically take care of most of the admin and red tape associated with recruiting software engineers. This includes everything from interviewing and onboarding to setting up their workstations and office space. As a result, you can increase your team size quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively, which can help ramp up the project delivery time.
Moreover, you may be able to leverage comparatively lower developer salaries to cut your expenses even further. Of course, this would depend on where you outsource to and the exact terms of your staff augmentation agreement.
3. Increased Agility
Are you looking to hire technology experts with highly specialized and in-demand skills? You may find that your local market is either too small, too competitive, too expensive — or all of the above — for your needs.
This is where staff augmentation solutions come in. They allow you to tap into a global talent pool to find the expertise you need at what may be a fraction of the cost of hiring locally.
What Is Software Consulting?
Software consulting is shorthand for software engineering consulting or software development consulting. You would generally use this service when you need expert advice on areas where you do not have sufficient experience or in-house know-how. For instance, you may be looking to:
- Optimize your IT infrastructure
- Modernize your legacy systems
- Migrate monolith or on-premise applications to microservices or cloud-based solutions
In either of these cases, you can hire external software consultants to get strategic guidance. These are usually senior developers with many years of industry experience under their belts. They can provide expert advice and help your in-house developers to plan, design, and implement your project. Software consultants may spend a lot of time defining your technical requirements and objectives, collaborating with various stakeholders, and testing the developed solutions.
When to Use Software Engineering Consulting
Software consulting may be a good choice if your goal is to:
- Fundamentally change your software. If you are looking to radically modernize and optimize your existing applications, you should look into software consulting for innovation outsourcing. Getting help from highly specialized experts is the best way to ensure that your revamped systems can support your future success.
- Ramp up product design and time to market.
- Update your legacy software. External consultants can freshen up your old tech stack.
- Do you want to design and create a product that you may not be able to test internally? External consultants can help.
The Advantages of Software Engineering Consulting
1. Peace of Mind When Entering Unfamiliar Territory
Organizations that are expanding into new fields or exploring different approaches to development may benefit greatly from partnering with industry experts with a proven track record.
Software consultants can make sure that you will successfully design and launch new, advanced solutions that meet your technical requirement and business goals — even if you have little to no experience in the field.
Perhaps best of all, thanks to the consultants’ input, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you get to learn from the mistakes of others who have gone down that path before.
2. Cost Reduction and Higher ROI
Professional software consultants may significantly lower the financial risks associated with introducing new solutions into your business. They know the ins and outs of the industry and can recommend cost-effective and profitable solutions for your company. Leveraging that expertise will help you save a lot of money of the learning-by-failing approach, which can be expensive, even if you’re failing fast.
3. Flexible Contract Arrangements
Software engineering consulting services can be contracted on a long-term basis, as well as for temporary, fixed-time collaborations. This ensures that you can get the assistance you need for as long as necessary while keeping your operational costs within a reasonable range.
IT Staff Augmentation vs. Software Engineering Consulting – The Final Verdict
While distinct, staff augmentation and software consulting are not mutually exclusive. Depending on the needs of your project, you may use — or indeed, require — one or both service types.
You can usually get them from the same vendor, too. This can be especially helpful if you are looking for a long-term outsourcing partner who has the technical expertise to meet your current and future development needs on an ongoing basis.
Software Consulting Meets IT Staff Augmentation: A Zartis Case Study
For a real-life example of a complex project that required both staff augmentation and software consulting services, click here to read about our collaboration with Fexco, Ireland’s leading fintech company.
Here is the gist of it: back in 2016, Fexco was looking to update its old tech stack, build a new API, and migrate its monolithic, on-premise legacy software to a cloud-based solution with a microservices architecture.
This was a complex project that would not only take a lot of work but also required highly specialized technical expertise.
We approached the challenge by providing Fexco with software consultancy services to help them chart the way forward. We then put together a dedicated development team that functioned as an extension of Fexco’s internal engineering department — and got the job done.
IT Staff Augmentation or Software Consulting? Find Out Which One Is Right for You
If you do not have technical expertise yourself, it can be difficult to decide just what kind of external help your project requires.
In some cases, you may need in-depth software consultation services. At other times, all you need may be to increase your team size using a few external developers working under a staff augmentation contract.
We at Zartis can help you find out what kinds of staffing services would suit your project best.
To start the conversation, simply drop us a line. We will be in touch shortly.