With an ever competitive economy, businesses are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional hiring, as a means to save on cost. In this aspect, staff augmentation vs consulting services is one of the most frequently assessed options, where businesses are looking after the viability and suitability of each of these alternate resource hiring options. Contact our mobile development experts if you want to outsource your next project but unable to decide which option to choose.
Now, before we get into the details of staff augmentation vs project-based consulting, let’s have a brief introduction for each of these approaches to see how things work with each of them.
Staff augmentation is simply about temporarily hiring an expert resource to supplement the in-house team for a specific project. The key takeaway here includes: “temporary” and “expert” which means that the staff isn’t permanent team member and thus not eligible for any medical or other compensation other than the pay package agreed upon and since the staff hired is an expert resource it means that the company doesn’t have to waste time and money training the staff, rather he/she will have the experience and expertise required to complete the project right away. When we compared staff augmentation vs consulting, the prior one is a relatively newer concept that comes to fill in the gaps of project-based consulting services.
Project-based consulting or simple consulting services is the older alternative to permanent staff hiring, where the business takes on-board a specialized consultancy agency for a specific project. For instance, you may hire an app development agency as outsource partner to get the job done for you. In this case, the project is handled completely by the consulting agency, while businesses are left for mostly supervision or monitoring aspects. While this may seem a loss of control for businesses, it also enables them to relieve non-core issues and focus on core business aspects.
In essence, consulting services bring significant value to a business. With the right experience and skills, they help businesses to develop strong strategies that are required to manage projects and achieve sustainable growth. Moreover, since consultants come with experience from a variety of companies and industries, they bring an innovative and refined approach and are able to conceive out of the box thinking to meet and exceed clients’ expectations. With an objective viewpoint, consulting services bring with them matured and diverse ideas that can’t be conceived otherwise by the in-house staff.
Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting Services
Now, that you have an idea of each of the approaches, let’s jump straight to our main topic and see what you get with each of the services.
As said above, staff augmentation is mostly prioritized by businesses as a means to cut back on costs. By taking on-board an expert staff temporarily for a project, the company isn’t liable to pay any other costs other than the finalized paycheck. The company also saves costs on training and development of the resource as the expert staff for the expertise and skills required to complete the project.
In today’s competitive and rather hostile business environment, businesses need the flexibility to stay relevant and grow. Staff augmentation helps businesses to expand their portfolios to non-core services as well, by simply taking on-board an expert staff to complement the in-house team. This gives businesses the flexibility and agility required to remain relevant in the industry.
With an expert staff on-board taking full control of the project, the project managers have more capacity and control to supervise crucial aspects of the project and ensure timely completion of the project.
- Lower risk
Hiring consulting services might not be the best option for data-sensitive projects like software developments and others. Moreover, as you outsource your work to a consulting agency, you also lose control of the project monitoring and status. Getting an expert staff on-board to relieve you of risks involved with data and identity thefts, whereas, you also got to monitor each and every aspect of the project till the very end.
- Counteracting attrition
Staff augmentation also acts as a great deterrence against employees leaving the company. One study suggests that nearly 50% of all IT specialists are open to switching companies when provided with better opportunities or greater perks. This may leave businesses with great voids in human resources and staff augmentation is perhaps the best way to quickly fill-up the leftover position without wasting precious time and resources.
Disadvantages of Staff Augmentation
While the staff you hired may excel in the technical skills required for the project, you would still need to spend time and resources to train the staff for your company’s internal processes and to be able to follow the work culture of your company. This means that you may not be able to accelerate the project in full-throttle right away.
– Management Capability
Taking on-board a new staff means an added resource to manage. While being an expert means they won’t require extensive resources to be managed, you still need to create the extra capacity to manage the additional staff
– Integration with Team
Last but not least, integrating the new staff with an in-house team isn’t the easiest of the feat to achieve. Bringing an outside resource to an existing team always comes with bumps. The new staff and your existing employees will need time to adjust to the new setting, which may hamper the project execution speed and efficiency for some time.
Benefits of Consulting Services
Ok, now that we have the benefits of staff augmentation let’s move quickly to see some great benefits of hiring consulting services, so you have a better understanding of what you can expect from this approach.
Perhaps the fundamental purpose of hiring consulting services is to save time. Businesses often don’t have the required skill or at times lack available resources to complete the project within deadlines. In these circumstances, getting a specialized consulting agency on board means easy and quick access to expert services, ready to deliver the project within time and budgetary constraints.
Most businesses search out for consulting services to outsource non-core business aspects like marketing or financial management. This means that they don’t have to take on-board full-time employees or build an in-house team to complete the tasks, which will take significant resources. Specialized consulting services have the in-house resources to tackle those issues and often offer highly competitive rates, which makes them more monetary practical than building an in-house team.
- Manageable Infrastructure
As discussed above, specialized consulting services for the complete infrastructure for each service to deliver expert services without any glitches. For instance, a digital marketing agency would have an expert marketing team with complete industry knowledge to help you with your marketing needs better than any in-house resource.
– Proactive Approach
In today’s competitive business world, you can’t take a reactive approach which may lead up to the “firefighting’ environment for project management. An expert consulting firm brings with them a proactive project management approach that helps businesses stay afloat with the challenges they may face in the course of the project, thus enabling them to make well-informed and better decisions for project management. By putting in place the early warning system, consulting services ensure timely and precise execution of the project.
– Project Assurance
While each and every project is crucial for the growth and sustainability of the business, there are projects where failure isn’t an option, altogether. For such projects, complacency isn’t an option and you need the top-talent equipped with the right tools and technology to take the project to its logical completion without any glitches. That’s where specialized consulting services with their technical prowess and top-talent come into play to deliver businesses much needed peace of mind and assurance for successful completion of projects.
– Short-term Support Solutions
Most of the time businesses face lack of qualified human-resource due to congested timelines or pipeline projects, which may restrict their capacity to take on more projects. in such times, project-based consulting firms come to the rescue by bridging the talent gap and offering immediate expert solutions to supplement organization’s portfolio services.
Disadvantages of Consulting Services
Well, consulting services are relatively expensive as compared to staff augmentation. This means that if you are working with a low-budget project, you may need to rethink your choice of getting a consulting agency on board. The reason behind higher costs lies with its range of expertise. While, with staff augmentation, you pay for one staff, consulting services bring a range of expertise and resources to help you crack the project completely, thereby you can expect to pay more relative costs.
Consulting agencies work with multiple clients at a time, which means that they may not be very receptive to your requests every time. There may be times when you want to get in touch with the agency on an urgent basis, however, they might not be in a position to grant your meeting request.
– One size fits all solutions
In the business world, there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all model that can be implemented for all projects. Since consulting agencies work with multiple projects, they may come up with pre-made strategies and try to enforce their established methodologies to crack your project, which may not be good to produce expected results. Thereby, it’s important to check-out the repute, experience and project management approach of a consulting agency before taking them on-board for the project.
Which is better: Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting
So, now that you know the benefits of each of the alternate approaches, it’s time to choose. But how are you going to make the decision? Will you go with an expert consulting agency that can take care of the complete project while you keep your resources for core business aspects or you are thinking to get on-board an expert staff to supplement your team?
Well, here are some considerations that might help you to make a well-informed decision:
- Know your team
Before you decide for any of the external resources, you will need to assess your in-house team, it’s abilities, capacity, strengths, and weaknesses. You should also evaluate if the reaction of your team against your decision, will they be able to gel with a new staff taking control of the project or will it demotivate the team? You certainly don’t want to demotivate your internal team with your unilateral decision, right?
- Consider the firms
Now, if you are more tilted towards consulting services, figure out the work culture and people you are going to deal with. Check out if the consulting agency got the expertise and skills required to complete the project and if they are willing to cooperate and collaborate with your team for monitoring and sharing the status of deliverables.
- Analyze the budget
This is an important consideration, provided both the alternative approaches are meant to help you cut back on costs. See if the project funds give you the freedom to hire multiple staff for the project (which you may need for big projects) or is the project fund enough to take on-board a reputed consulting agency.
The choice between staff augmentation vs. consulting services will ultimately rest with your preferences and ground realities. Some companies feel more comfortable with consulting services, whereas, others prefer to hire consulting agencies for project completion. Whether you go for staff augmentation or consulting services, your end goal should be able to generate more value to your business and not just cut back on costs (which anyways will remain your priority) like uplifting your team skills or expanding your portfolio services as a mean to diversify the business.