Let’s say you have a typical IT department where you have a lot of good people supporting your existing business systems. Will those systems, and the people supporting those systems, stay in place with no change in the future? Will your environment stay constant? Hardly! Your business, along with everyone else’s, is changing because the market is always changing and your completion is not standing still. Your business leaders aren’t going to let your IT department stand still either. Your CEO, CIO and others will need new systems to drive a reduction in costs and improve operational efficiencies through technological innovation. That’s just the way it is.
This translates into a constant number of new IT projects. While trying to complete these projects you may have unplanned staff turnover along the way but make sure you complete these projects on time, within budget, and to specification!
When companies look for outside help in completing IT projects, they generally turn to Staff Augmentation.
What is IT staff augmentation? A way to easily and quickly add trained IT and telecom staff (resources) as needed. Resources are employed by the staff augmentation firm. A company may easily ramp up and down to meet changing demand without shouldering the cost and liabilities of full time employees.
Business usually look at two variations of the Staff Augmentation delivery model. One, you can bring in resources with certifications and skills in the new system or new project or two, you can bring in Staff Augmentation resources to “backfill” your existing staff to free up your existing team to work on an exciting new project. In either case, the Staff Augmentation allows you to fill the gap.
Here are the pros and cons of Staff Augmentation.
- Speed: Very quickly you can bring in an expert resource from a staff augmentation firm. It is not unheard of to put out a request on a Monday and have an expert on-site (or remote) in less than 7 days (by the following Monday).
- Control: This new Resource works for you – you can direct them the way you want.
- Specialist: A Staff Augmentation resource brings a specific skill that fills a gap in your team.
- Alignment: Adding and subtracting Staff Augmentation resources allows your company to directly align the costs of a project equally with the duration of the project. If you have a 6 month project the Staff Augmentation resource is there exactly 6 months. No more.
- Synergy: By adding a new skillset to the team in the form of a staff augmentation resource, a company can take advantage to new knowledge inserted into the existing IT team.
- Cost Savings: There are no HR hiring costs with Staff Augmentation. Such as: Long interview process, job postings, on-boarding, annual training, or unfortunately in the business world these days – staff layoff costs. You simply avoid the cost of investing and caring for an internal skill set.
- Reduced burdens: Liabilities of full time direct employees.
- Improved Internal Employee Acceptance: Existing employees are less threatened by staff augmentation because if there is downsizing, the contract labor is generally the first to go.
- Training: While you don’t have to train the resource on the technical skill they bring to the table there may still be training involved in bringing them up to speed with company processes and tools
- Overhead: Even though you cut out the hiring and firing part of the HR process there is still a need to supervise the staff augmentation resource. They are an extension of your staff.
- Results: Unlike the outsource model, with Staff Augmentation the responsibility of the results stays with you (the company). You are purchasing a resource … not a specific result. The company remains responsible for the overall project deliverables.
- Knowledge Departure: When the Staff Augmentation resource leaves the company, the knowledge he/she brought leaves too.
Selecting a Vendor
When selecting a vendor, consider working with one that has your same geographical reach (is in all the locations your company is) and a broad set of skills – not just one function. This will allow you to develop a long and trusted relationship as your business needs change. Find a vendor you can trust to take the time to understand your business and deliver the desired results.
While there are pros and cons to Staff Augmentation the net benefits can be tremendous. In today’s world of always changing business demands there is no way for an IT/ Telecom department to keep up with all the demands for new systems. Staff Augmentation is a great way to cut costs by easily and quickly bringing on-board the right skilled resource to align exactly with the duration of the project.