Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: What Is the Difference?

Devox Software Team

The global talent shortage has prompted thousands of companies across different industries to look for new effective tactics to address the existing skill gaps. According to a recent survey by McKinsey, 44% of organizations expect to face skill gaps within the next five years, while over 43% of respondents report that this problem already exists in their companies. 

With almost 9 out of 10 organizations facing the challenge of talent shortage, there’s a huge demand for cost-effective and flexible hiring solutions. Here’s where staff augmentation and consulting come into play. Both models have become game-changing for the software development industry, as they allow companies to access a large pool of tech talents with the required skill set at the most reasonable costs.

In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of Staff Augmentation & Consulting, highlighting their key differences and advantages based on our Devox Software team experience. At the end of our discussion, you’ll be able to define the best staffing model for any software development project you’ll need help with.  

Staff Augmentation VS Consulting: What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the model applied to replenish the shortage of a small number of developers with specific skills. In most cases, the need for add-on talent engagement arises after the project requirements update or change due to the employee leaving the company or moving to another project. 

Typically, the enterprise and its in-house team have already laid out the project guidelines and development strategy, so the outsourced staff’s main goal here is to fill in the required expertise on a temporary basis. These experts are quickly brought on board, instructed on the project details, and organically integrated into the current in-house team to empower and accelerate the project development. 

Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation

To get a better idea of the potential of staff augmentation, here is a comprehensive overview of the major benefits and possible drawbacks of the staff augmentation partnership model:

Advantages of Staff Augmentation:

  • Increased Cost Effectiveness. One of the best solutions to reduce employee costs, from 40% to 60% on average
  • Advanced Flexibility. Staff augmentation helps businesses improve their flexibility and agility to remain relevant in the industry by complementing the in-house team with brand-new experts
  • Better Control. The model allows taking full control of the project, which benefits the management process and timely deliverables
  • Reduced Risks. Getting a high-qualified expert for your in-house team is a good option for data-sensitive projects, as they allow you to monitor each and every aspect of the project until it’s completed 
  • Minimized Staff Attrition. With staff augmentation, companies are less likely to face employee leaving, which directly benefits the time and resource-efficiency of any project

Drawbacks of Staff Augmentation:

  • Add-on training is required before the initial integration into the project
  • Extra management capability is needed to guide the on-boarded staff
  • Slower onboarding and integration can sometimes impact the project execution speed and efficiency

Challenges of Staff Augmentation

The recent overview of the IT staff augmentation service market has shown a whopping $132.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.53% by 2025, according to SpendEdge. Despite its lucrative perspectives within the software development market and a decent list of benefits it can provide to the partners, there are still some challenges to know about before implementing the staff augmentation model, such as:

  • Finding the right experts with deep knowledge and skills required to perform the certain process
  • Communication and collaboration difficulties, mainly caused by the new employee onboarding and remote workflow
  • Security aspect, which is extremely critical for the data-sensitive projects 
  • Project knowledge transfer is highly important across all the stages of software development and defines the progress and quality of the processes delivered
  • Scalability is considered a basic challenge of the staff augmentation approach. It implies a thorough recruitment process and usually takes some time for a vendor to scrape up, especially for the experts in rare tech stacks

Knowing the core challenges of staff augmentation can not solely introduce the full potential of this partnership approach. At the same time, it will also help to get your company ready for the possible challenges once you implement this model for the upcoming software development projects.

Staff Augmentation VS Consulting: What Is Consulting?

Consulting, also known as project-based consulting, is a staffing model in which companies hire software development professionals or dedicated teams from a consulting agency to get add-on support to the project at any stage of its development. 

As a rule, these agencies feature a wide range of employees with diverse knowledge across various development processes, from web and mobile development to QA and DevOps consulting. This allows companies to get expert consultations anytime and in any scope they need: from the idea conceptualization to the post-launch maintenance and support.  

Project-based consulting is mainly used for notable short-staffing cases when a company lacks an in-house team with the required skills for a certain assignment. The employees are usually hired in teams at any stage of the software development project and can easily integrate into the required processes. 

Pros and Cons of Consulting

The efficiency of any staffing model is measured by evaluating its strong and weak points. Let’s now go deeper into analyzing the basic advantages and possible cons of a consulting form of partnership to define its potential for your business and its software development projects.

Advantages of Consulting Partnership: 

  • Improved Cost Efficiency. Contracting a company that supplies expert consulting assistance is more profitable than hiring a permanent consultant to join your in-house team. 
  • More Flexible Infrastructure. Consultants have specialized, in-deep industry knowledge to deliver high-end services without any glitches
  • Better Proactivity. This model can help businesses to meet the existing challenges within the target industry and improve their competitiveness with the multiple data-driven decisions
  • Advanced Project Assurance. Businesses can be more confident about the project performance and excellent results
  • Immediate Support Solutions. Consulting services can efficiently replenish the talent gaps with rapid solutions to help companies increase the number of projects in progress

Drawbacks of Consulting Partnership: 

  • Relatively expensive because of the broader range of expertise, skills, and capabilities compared to the augmented staffing model
  • Pre-made strategies and reduced personalization, as in most cases, the consulting services are delivered to several clients at once
  • Communication difficulties are mainly caused by the remote working model and possible cultural differentiations

Challenges of Consulting

According to the Business Research Company, the global consulting market is expected to grow by 11.7% to $234.38 billion in 2022. By 2026, the market share of this industry is projected to reach $375.17, which opens up various perspectives for its further development and adoption. 

Nevertheless, there are also a plethora of challenges to the consulting model in terms of software development. In general, the possible difficulties companies face with consulting form of the partnership include:

  • All-size-fits-one service approach that can potentially result in choosing the wrong technology/programming language
  • Maintaining clients’ trust and customer satisfaction requires a deep understanding of the problem and proving competence through efficient solutions delivery
  • Approaching deadlines requires structured self-organization and multitasking

Now that you know the challenges of consulting and possess enough information to analyze both models from the perspective of your business. 

Which Model Is Better: Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting

Comparing the key staff augmentation consulting differences makes it much easier to make an informative decision on which one will be more efficient for your business. 

Nevertheless, the final decision will be based on the current project’s (or company’s) objectives, depending on whether you need a one-off consultation to start evolving in a new direction or the ongoing support to enhance the project’s ambitions and development performance. It would also greatly depend on the development stage of your startup.

The good news is that you’re not limited to exclusively using one of these options: these two approaches can be combined to maximize your project development and company’s growth. While the IT staff augmentation will ensure stable, high-quality support, adding a consultation element will enhance the product development methods, technologies, and tools involved, thus keeping your enterprise at pace with the standards of your competitors and the market needs. 

Whatever model you’ll end up with, getting the add-on support with staff augmentation or consultancy can be an excellent way to effectively and effortlessly expand your development capabilities at a reasonable cost. 

Choose the IT Cooperating Model That Meets Your Needs

Today, accessing the world’s best tech talents is easier than ever with the variety of recruiting models available. Nevertheless, with more and more hiring options appearing on the software development market, finding the right choice for the specific project or the entire business, in general, becomes extremely challenging. 

We do hope that this article has shed some light on which one – staff augmentation or consulting services can be a better fit, as well as evaluate the key advantages of each before making the final choice. 

Consider Devox Software as Your Tech Partner

If you still have any questions concerning the staff augmentation or consulting or want to discuss the perspectives of these models for your business specifically – feel free to reach out to our team. Devox Software offers a wide talent pool, a quick professionals selection process and affordable cooperation options. Review our portfolio to understand what challenges we’ve already tackled. 

The recent project we’ve worked on in the eCommerce niche needed to expand their team with three .NET developers within two weeks, so the team would work on the marketplace modernization.

Devox Software’s Case

The biggest challenge was to find qualified candidates who would be able to join the project as soon as possible. Thus, Devox Software created a detailed portrait of a perfect candidate as well as developed motivation techniques that would increase the possibility of a developer jumping into the project right away.

In just five working days, Devox Software found and vetted five candidates with the needed technical skills and profound niche relevant experience.

In the final stage, the client chose three candidates that fit the company’s culture best. All of them successfully passed the probation period and significantly contributed to the development of a product that is currently conquering new markets worldwide. 

As you can see, the dedicated specialists from Devox Software obtain deep expertise in web app development services, quality assurance, and many other services that work for your projects. Thus, contact us today and review top-notch software development services tomorrow!

 

Devox Software Team

Our marketing team consists of skilled content managers and creative designers. They highlight the latest topics in IT outsourcing and software development, do market research, analyze costs and programmer salaries.
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