Science & Technology

Professional Services or Staff Augmentation

As detailed in the article titled ‘types of technology outsourcing models‘, Professional Services or Staff Augmentation is a governance based outsourcing model.

In this model, consultants from the outsourcing vendor act as an extension of the client’s project team and they will be supervised by a client manager responsible for that project delivery.

Salient Features

Salient features of this model are as listed below.

  • This model is typically used when certain skills are not available in-house to execute a project.
  • This model is also widely used when the client team requires additional head-count to tide over a short period of increased work.
  • The client manager is fully responsible to manage the Consultants
  • The Consultants are normally located onshore at the client’s location
  • This is also a model that will enable close interaction with the client’s internal project and user teams

Example

ABC retail company has Oracle Retail installed as the core application. ABC’s internal IT team also doubles up as the support team for an internal user base numbering 400 employees. ABC is in expansion mode and needs to implement additional modules within the Oracle Retail suite of products, a project that will take 6 months to implement.

The internal IT team is best equipped to execute this project. However, the support related work to the existing users will suffer in the process. ABC decides to hire on contract three consultants with Oracle Retail experience for a period of 6 months so that these three personnel can provide support to the user base.

Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation

Pros

  • Client will have access to quality resources without having to budget for corporate overheads. Such overheads will include costs to keep a similar resource on the client’s direct payroll.
  • Quality of deliverable can be closely monitored as the consultants will be directly under the control of the client manager.
  • Budget variances in the project will be minimal and costs can be accurately forecasted.

Cons

  • Even though quality can be closely monitored by the client manager, if the deliverable is not upto standards client cannot hold the vendor responsible. At best, what can be done is to get the consultant replaced immediately at no cost to the client. This has to be built into every Staff Augmentation contract.
  • Knowledge retention will be a huge challenge. Clients may not always get the same personnel to work on projects within the same area if they re-engage the same vendor after a time gap. Effective documentation of the work being executed and building a long term relationship with the vendor will help. Also, working with a full fledged IT Services organization as opposed to working with recruitment agencies or body shopping outfits is the approach that will mitigate this risk by a long way.
  • This model is expensive in the long run.

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