Should You Consider an Augmented Staff vs. an In-House One for Your Digital Projects?

As you're already aware, technology can make or break your brand. While hiring talent to work in-house to advance your mission of increased brand recognition and sales through web design or to build software tools to improve operational functionality or automate backend processes may initially seem to make sense, companies are increasingly pursuing staff augmentation strategies to do so.

There are many reasons why your industry's competitors are increasingly choosing to have an outside agency take on their digital and technology responsibilities instead of handling them in-house. We'll address some of those reasons below. We'll also explain some of the do's and don'ts for implementing a digital staff augmentation strategy at your own company.

  1. What Is IT Staff Augmentation?

    When you hear the term "augmentation," you may initially understand that it refers to "adding to" something. This term takes on a slightly more narrow meaning when utilized in conjunction with "staff," though. When combined, "staffing augmentation" refers to what many in the information technology (IT) sector may describe as outsourcing. There's a bit more to this increasingly popular IT work trend, though.

    Staff augmentation is a flexible concept that involves engaging with another specially trained IT individual or agency to carry out a web or software design project. These work engagements can be short or long-term. They can also be more general or specific in scope (i.e., utilizing the unique talents of the augmented staff that someone in-house isn't equipped to perform).

    An example of a situation that may warrant the hiring of an augmented IT staff is if you want to have a software tool developed that requires knowledge of a specific programming language other than one that an in-house staff member knows. Another example is if you have a web developer on staff, yet they have little knowledge of the ins and outs of user experience design. An augmented staff may be able to fill in the IT gaps your existing team has.

  1. Why Do Companies Pursue IT Staff Augmentation?

    While companies generally engage in digital and IT staff augmentation instead of in-house hiring to fill in gaps within their operation as referenced above, brands also do this when there are deficits within the leadership's knowledge of a prospective employee skillset. It can be challenging to supervise specialized teams when you lack a comprehensive understanding of what it is that they do. Company leaders look to the augmented staffing approach to ensure adequate execution and oversight of their digital initiatives.

  1. What Should Companies Do and Not Do When Implementing an IT Staff Augmentation Strategy?

    If you see the value in implementing a staff augmentation strategy in your office, then some strategies you may want to employ when doing so include:

    Carefully Select Your Projects Earmarked for Staff Augmentation

    It's best to identify your existing employees' talents and leave any uncovered ones needed to deploy your IT project to an augmented team. It's also ideal if the projects you have your outside digital team complete are ones with more defined start and end dates. However, you may find where you’d rather have the full gambit of your IT work, including maintenance or troubleshooting, handled completely by your augmented staff.

    Many IT staff augmentation agencies offer scalable options, including providing regular support or handling one-off projects according to your preferences.

    Clearly Define In-House vs. Augmented Staff Responsibilities

    The key to a successful augmented digital staffing relationship is to have clearly established objectives that each party is responsible for. Many companies opt to create a standard operating procedures (SOP) document to ensure in-house and augmented teams have clearly defined roles.

    Communication Among In-House and Augmented IT Teams Is Critical

    An augmented digital and IT staffing arrangement works best when there's a solid communication protocol in place. Some factors you may want to consider when documenting your policies and procedures on this end include who should be:

    • Present at team conferences and how often these meetings should be held
    • CC:ed on calendar invitations and emails

    It's also important to have a project management infrastructure in place so that all interested parties:

    • Know what is in the works.
    • Understand guidelines or specifications for the task at hand.
    • Can check on the status of those initiatives.

    Any documentation you draft should also include:

    • The chain of command (point of contact details for submitting work).
    • Details regarding the scope of the project and associated pricing.
    • Project milestones.
    • A rubric for tracking performance.
    • Protocols for how any unresolved issues will be addressed.
  1. Is an Augmented Staff Ideal for Your Next Digital Project?

    Many brands have branding, marketing, advertising, or technology development goals that, once achieved, can largely be left on auto-pilot to churn out desired results such as increased visibility, an improved customer experience, or better sales conversion rates. This often leads companies to opt for an augmented IT staff instead of hiring an in-house one to handle their digital projects.

    Our focus at Dotlogics is on developing brand strategies that streamline company workflows and drive brand recognition that, in turn, increases sales. We'd love to have a deeper discussion with you about how we can serve as your augmented staff for your next digital initiatives. Reach out to us to schedule a discovery call.

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