Technology moves fast. As a business owner, it can be tough to keep up with all the latest advancements while also handling day-to-day operations and planning for the future. This is where IT staff augmentation services come in.
Augmenting your in-house IT team with contracted staff can provide the boost your business needs to implement new technologies, take on special projects, and support growth. In this blog, we’ll explore how IT staff augmentation contributes to business growth.
What is IT Staff Augmentation?
IT staff augmentation involves contracting technical talent from an outside firm to supplement your existing IT department on a temporary or project basis. The external staff “augment” the capabilities of your core in-house team, bringing specialized skills and bandwidth to handle short-term needs.
Common situations where businesses use IT staff augmentation include:
- Handling temporary spikes in workloads
- Supporting a major new IT project or initiative
- Filling skill gaps when important technical expertise is missing in-house
The augmented staff work directly with your IT team. They integrate into existing processes and systems during their contracted period.
Why Businesses Need IT Staff Augmentation
Several key factors drive the need for IT staff augmentation in modern businesses.
Rapid Pace of Technological Change
From artificial intelligence to cybersecurity, to the Internet of Things, disruptive technologies are transforming business. Adopting these advanced tools and systems can lead to efficiency gains, cost savings, and competitive advantage.
But for IT departments, evaluating and integrating new technologies is a challenge on top of day-to-day issues. Augmented staff can lend the bandwidth to research, test, and implement sophisticated solutions while your core team focuses on critical operations.
Scalability and Flexibility
IT needs often fluctuate based on business cycles, special initiatives, and other factors. You may need to scale your IT capacity up or down several times per year. Hiring full-time staff for these variable needs is impractical.
Augmentation provides flexible capacity, allowing you to ramp IT resources up and down to match workloads. You avoid overhead and burnout of overworked employees during peak times.
Even large enterprises can lack specialized expertise in-house, like data scientists, UI/UX designers, or cybersecurity specialists. Augmented staff fill skill gaps, bringing niche technical abilities your team needs for projects. This on-demand access to advanced skills saves you from costly full-time hiring.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation for Business Growth
Leveraging an outside IT staff augmentation provider offers many advantages for fueling business expansion.
Paying only for contracted time rather than full-time salaries and benefits contains costs. You also avoid HR duties, equipment, tools, training and other overhead for temporary workers. Augmentation is a flexible way to scale IT expertise without inflating your budget.
Wider Talent Pool
Good technical talent is hard to find. Augmentation providers maintain large networks of pre-vetted IT professionals, giving you access to skilled workers globally. This enabled you to secure top-notch capabilities.
Scaling IT staff up and down quickly is simple with augmentation. You can put targeted skill sets and capacity in place when you need them most to support growth initiatives. Adjustments are much faster than hiring full-timers.
Augmented staff get up to speed rapidly, allowing projects to launch faster. Providers supply professionals familiar with latest technologies and methodologies. This accelerates implementations compared to upskilling in-house people.
Access skills your team lacks through augmentation. Providers offer highly trained talent in emerging tech like AI, IoT, blockchain and more. This specialized expertise can help build capabilities to gain competitive edges.
Augmentation in Action: A Case Study
To make IT augmentation more concrete, let’s look at an example.
A national retailer needed to update their e-commerce platform before the holiday shopping season. This required migrating to a modern cloud-based infrastructure. But the project was beyond their internal IT team’s bandwidth.
They contracted IT augmentation professionals with expertise in cloud architecture, DevOps, and e-commerce integration. Working alongside the internal staff, the augmented team rapidly executed the cloud migration and got the new infrastructure tested and launched in time.
Having this dedicated team avoided pulling the retailer’s IT people off critical applications support. And it allowed their e-commerce upgrade to finish on an accelerated schedule. Augmentation gave them the flexibility and skills needed for this business-driving project.
When to Consider Staff Augmentation
Here are some common scenarios where businesses can benefit from IT staff augmentation:
- Temporary Workload Spikes – Augment IT capacity for seasonal or periodic peaks, like tax season for accounting firms or enrollment period for universities. This avoids costly full-time hires.
- Major Initiatives – Launching a new product line, entering a new market, mergers and acquisitions, ERP implementations – these require extra IT effort your team may lack.
- Supporting Innovation – Exploring emerging technologies, building prototypes, developing proofs-of-concept all take IT skills and time. Augmentation fuels this innovation.
- Filling Skill Gaps – Bring in specialized capabilities like analytics, security, design, or technical specialties outside your team’s experience.
- Evaluating New Technologies – Before buying expensive systems, augmented staff can provide objective assessment and advice to aid decision making.
- Digital Transformations – Major initiatives like moving commerce operations online, enabling remote work, or migrating services to the cloud need extensive IT resources quickly.
Key Considerations for Implementation
To gain the most benefit from an IT augmentation partner, keep these best practices in mind:
Choose the Right Provider
Work with an experienced firm that vets and verifies the abilities of all augmented talent. Confirm they provide professionals with expertise in your required technologies and applications.
Define Clear Goals and Roles
Scope augmentation projects carefully with clear objectives, timelines, responsibilities, and metrics. Define the role augmented staff will play alongside your IT team. Manage the work as a true partnership.
Facilitate collaboration through frequent check-ins, status reports, and open communication channels. Make sure both in-house and augmented staff stay aligned.
While extremely beneficial overall, there are a few potential downsides to weigh:
Data Security and Compliance
Protecting data assets, intellectual property, and customer information is paramount. Make sure augmented professionals follow all security protocols and compliance regulations. Lean on your provider to supply vetted staff.
Augmented workers may face a learning curve adapting to your company’s systems and culture. It takes effort on both sides to foster cohesion between contract and permanent teams for seamless collaboration.
Relying too heavily on augmentation long-term can potentially lead to over-dependence. Make sure your core IT staff still develops key competencies and institutional knowledge.
Measuring the Business Impact
IT initiatives must ultimately tie to business goals. Be sure to quantify how augmentation drives real performance gains.
Key Performance Indicators
Link augmentation projects to priority KPIs like customer conversion rates, online transaction volume, sales quotas, user adoption, app performance, and more.
Return on Investment
Calculate direct cost savings plus additional revenue gains from acceleration of key projects against expenditures on augmented staff. Demonstrate a clear ROI.
Consider both immediate project outputs plus lasting competitive advantages, capabilities, and tech assets the business gains through augmentation.
The Future of IT Augmentation
As technology and markets evolve quickly, IT augmentation is becoming an enterprise norm. Consider these predictions:
Growing Adoption of Emerging Tech
More projects will involve new solutions like AI, intelligent automation, IoT sensors, and extended reality. Augmentation provides skills to implement these technologies.
Expansion of Remote Work
Many IT roles can be performed remotely. Location matters less than expertise. Virtual augmentation gains traction.
Rise of On-Demand Talent Model
Traditional full-time IT staffing declines as businesses tap into global on-demand talent networks instead for targeted skills.
Focus on Strategic Value
IT departments rely more on augmented resources for operations and maintenance. This frees in-house talent to focus on high-value tasks aligned to company strategy.
The pace of technology change rises each year, as does competition. Businesses must become nimble, responsive, and open to new operating models to stay ahead. Partnering with an IT staff augmentation provider gives access to the talent and capacity to continually adapt and grow.
Rather than viewing augmented resources simply as outsourced help, smart companies embrace augmentation as a core component of their IT strategy. Their investment in flexible skills and expertise delivers expanded capabilities, accelerated execution, and ultimately a path to sustained success.