Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services: What’s the Difference?

As your company scales, it will inevitably encounter situations that call for additional resources and/or niche expertise. Staff augmentation and managed services both serve distinct purposes in supporting business growth, but differ fundamentally in structure and approach.

Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services: Differences

Staff augmentation enhances your team's capabilities and bandwidth temporarily, tailoring talent to your current projects. In contrast, managed services deliver ongoing expertise and management of specific business operations, offloading these tasks to free up your internal resources. Each strategy presents its own set of advantages.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation enhances your current team by adding specialized talent on a demand basis. This approach keeps you in command and offers the agility to incorporate external experts into your workforce.

For example, a technology team developing a fintech solution could employ staff augmentation to integrate a blockchain expert during the creation of a new secure payment platform, acquiring specific expertise without the need for a long-term obligation.

Managed Services

Conversely, managed services means outsourcing complete functions or projects to an external provider, who then takes over the entire responsibility for its successful execution and ongoing management. This strategy is great for persistent requirements that fall outside your main business focuses, like IT infrastructure upkeep or cybersecurity oversight.

You might engage managed services for enduring IT support and maintenance, which would help you concentrate on innovation and core operations without the hassle of managing everyday IT tasks.

Key Takeaways

Staff augmentation boosts your team's capabilities and bandwidth temporarily, tailoring talent to your current projects.

Managed services deliver ongoing expertise and management of specific business operations, offloading these tasks to free up your internal resources. Each strategy presents its own set of advantages.

Let's see the differences in detail and let's take a look at which approach suits your needs better!

Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services – Bluebird

Staff Augmentation Vs Managed Services: IT &Tech Examples

Staff Augmentation in IT and Tech

Software and Application Development

Includes adding skilled developers for mobile app development, web development, custom software projects, and support for various programming languages and frameworks.

IT Infrastructure and Network

Encompasses experts in network engineering, cloud computing architectures, and infrastructure management to support scaling, migration, or optimization projects.

Cybersecurity and Compliance

Involves augmenting your team with cybersecurity experts to enhance your security posture, conduct vulnerability assessments, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

Data Management and Analytics

Adds professionals in data science, analytics, big data management, and machine learning to derive insights, improve decision-making, and create data-driven strategies.

Emerging Technologies

Brings in specialists in blockchain development, AI and ML programming, and IoT solutions to innovate and stay ahead in competitive markets.

Need extra hands or specialized skills on your tech project?

IT Staff Augmentation

Whether it's for a fixed duration or a longer period of time, our staff augmentation services enable you to scale your tech team lightning fast—with the experienced professionals your project needs.

Looking to expand your team with permanent hires?

Tech Recruitment

Would you like to expand your team with permanent hires? We have all the resources, domain-specific expertise and over a decade of experience to find the right remote IT/ tech professionals for you.

Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services Guide – Bluebird

Managed Services in IT and Tech

IT Support and Maintenance

Comprehensive management of IT support services, including help desk support, software updates, and hardware maintenance for optimal operational efficiency.

Network and Infrastructure Management

Outsourced management of network infrastructure, cloud environments, and data centers to ensure reliability, scalability, and security.

Cybersecurity Services

Continuous monitoring, threat detection, and response services, along with compliance management to protect against cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Cloud Services and Solutions

Management of cloud infrastructure, including migration, deployment, optimization, and security of cloud resources across platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Management

Administration and oversight of SaaS solutions to ensure performance, scalability, and integration with existing business processes and systems.

Staff Augmentation Vs Managed Services: What areas Could belong to both?

There are several areas within the IT and tech sector that could potentially fit into both staff augmentation and managed services, depending on the specific needs and objectives of a project or organization.
These areas often require specialized skills and continuous management, making them versatile enough to be addressed through either approach.

Let's see some examples!

Cybersecurity expertise: You might augment your team with specific cybersecurity skills for a project—or opt for managed services for ongoing security monitoring and threat response.

Cloud computing expertise: Businesses could bring in specialists for cloud migration or development projects via staff augmentation. Alternatively, they could use managed services for continuous cloud infrastructure management and optimization.

Software development: Adding developers to the team for a specific project vs. managed services for end-to-end development and management of software applications.

IT project management: This could involve augmenting the team with experienced project managers for the duration of a project.  Utilizing managed services to oversee and manage IT projects comprehensively is also an option.

Data science and analytics: Augmented staff could work on specific data analysis projects. With managed services, data analytics and business intelligence operations could be completely outsourced.

Technical writing and documentation: For projects needing specific documentation, staff augmentation can provide skilled writers temporarily, whereas managed services might offer comprehensive documentation management across projects, no oversight needed.

As with most situations, choosing between staff augmentation and managed services for these areas often depends on the scope, duration, and complexity of the needs (as well as the strategic direction of the organization).


For IT Staff Augmentation

Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services: A Detailed Guide to Choosing

Aiming to select the ideal approach between staff augmentation and managed services? The decision calls for a thorough assessment of your business's current requirements and future aspirations. Here’s a structured, step-by-step guide to help you navigate this decision-making process:

Step 1: Assess Immediate and Future Needs

Immediate Needs: Identify the specific skills or resources lacking in your current team that are essential for upcoming projects. Consider whether these needs are short-term (lasting a few months or so) or if they will evolve into long-term requirements.

Future Goals: Outline your business's strategic objectives for the next few years. Determine if your current focus is on scaling operations, entering new markets, enhancing efficiency, or incorporating innovative technologies.

Step 2: Understand the Options

Staff Augmentation: This option allows you to temporarily enhance your team with specialized skills, providing the agility to tackle project-specific challenges without the commitment of permanent hires. Ideal for projects requiring niche expertise or additional manpower.

Managed Services: Opt for managed services if you're seeking a long-term partnership for managing and optimizing non-core business functions. This approach is suitable for businesses aiming to focus on their core competencies while outsourcing complex, ongoing operational tasks.

Step 3: Evaluate Project Management and Control Preferences

Control Level: With staff augmentation, you maintain direct control over the project and the augmented staff, integrating them into your existing workflows. If retaining control over every aspect of the project is critical, augmentation is preferable.

Delegation and Strategic Oversight: Managed services mean entrusting a third-party provider with the management of specific functions, offering less direct control but benefiting from specialized expertise and strategic insights.

Step 4: Consider Budget Constraints and ROI

Budget Analysis: Evaluate your budget for the immediate project or long-term operational function. Staff augmentation is generally more cost-effective for short-term needs, while managed services can offer a better return on investment for ongoing functions through improved efficiency and reduced operational costs.

ROI Calculation: Estimate the potential return on investment for both options. Consider the value of strategic insights, efficiency gains, and the ability to focus on core business areas when leaning towards managed services.

Step 5: Analyze Your Needs for Flexibility and Scalability

Flexibility: Determine how quickly your needs might change. Staff augmentation offers the flexibility to scale your team up or down as project demands fluctuate.

Scalability for Growth: If your goal involves scaling operations or entering new markets, managed services can provide the foundational support and expertise necessary for sustainable growth.

Step 6: Make an Informed Decision

Gather all your findings and insights you've gathered. Compare the short-term and long-term benefits of each option against your business’s priorities and constraints.

This is the time to contact potential service providers to clarify any uncertainties and gain further insights into how each option could align with your business goals.

If you choose staff augmentation, identify the specific roles or skills needed and start the process of selecting the right talent. For managed services, begin by outlining the scope of services, setting clear objectives, and establishing KPIs with your chosen provider.

Staff Augmentation Vs Managed Services: Key Differences

Control and Integration

Staff Augmentation: Offers high levels of control over work and how it's completed, with augmented staff integrating closely with your existing team and following your internal processes and culture.

Managed Services: You relinquish day-to-day management of the outsourced function, allowing the service provider to apply their methodologies, which may differ from your internal practices.

Strategic focus

Staff Augmentation: Focuses on tactical needs, such as quickly addressing skill shortages or scaling team capacity, without significantly altering your strategic direction.

Managed Services: Provides a strategic partnership, potentially transforming business operations through expertise, innovation, and efficiencies in the managed domain.

Cost Implications

Staff Augmentation: Costs are variable and tied to the hours worked by augmented staff. This can be a more budget-friendly option for short-term needs.

Managed Services: Involves a fixed fee or a subscription model, offering predictable costs but potentially higher upfront investment for ongoing services.

Flexibility and Scalability

Staff Augmentation: Highly flexible, allowing for rapid scaling up or down of resources based on project requirements or changing needs.

Managed Services: Offers scalability in terms of service delivery but requires more commitment and is less flexible in terms of rapid changes to the scope of services.

Staff Augmentation Vs Managed Services: FAQs

What is staff augmentation and what are managed services?

Staff augmentation is a strategy where external professionals are hired to supplement an organization's existing workforce, typically to fill specific skill gaps or to support a project temporarily.

Managed services involve outsourcing entire business functions or processes to a third-party provider, who then manages and operates those services on an ongoing basis.

Can staff augmentation and managed services be used together?

Yes, organizations often use both approaches together to meet different needs within the same project or operational structure, leveraging the flexibility of staff augmentation for specific skills and the comprehensive support of managed services for ongoing functions.

How do the time commitments compare between the two?

Staff augmentation is typically used for short-term to medium-term projects, allowing businesses to scale up or down as needed. Managed services are generally a long-term commitment, providing ongoing support and management of functions.

What are the primary reasons to choose staff augmentation vs managed services ?

Organizations typically choose staff augmentation to quickly fill skill gaps, meet project deadlines, or address temporary staffing needs without the long-term commitment of hiring new full-time employees.

Alternatively, businesses opt for managed services to efficiently manage and optimize ongoing functions, reduce operational complexity, and gain access to expertise and technologies without the need to invest in and manage them directly.