How to Choose an IT Staff Augmentation Partner

In today’s digitized business landscape, the demand for talented software developers outweighs supply. According to commercial software company, ArcGIS’ survey Six-Figure Tech Salaries: Creating the Next Developer Workforce, nearly a quarter of a million development jobs remain unfilled in the US as a result of the digital skills gap. This skills shortage is a contributing factor to the increasing number of businesses turning to IT staff augmentation to gain fast access to the digital expertise they need to complete projects.

What is IT Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation means companies contract qualified software developers with specialist skills to work in-house, alongside their full-time team. This practice provides companies with the flexibility, professional acumen and speed to scale quickly and complete development projects on time.

Here are our recommended steps to choosing an IT staff augmentation partner:

Assess Your Internal Team’s Expertise

The first step to choosing an augmentation partner is to understand your needs. Companies that intend to outsource their IT should create a detailed project specification, outlining their goals, workflow process, associated risks and deadlines.

Evaluating your internal team’s expertise provides a clear overview of where skills gaps need to be filled. For example, your internal team may have strong mobile development skills but lack know-how in UI design. Distributing staff surveys can be an effective way of highlighting any areas where expertise is lacking.

Once you know what you need, you can begin your search for staff augmentation partners that have the specific skills and knowledge that you require.

Consider How Each Company Communicates

Every successful development project begins with a clear communication strategy. You’ll want to ensure that the provider you choose has a robust workflow in place to communicate feedback.

Poor communication, especially in the early stages of a project can be detrimental to the effectiveness of IT staff augmentation. According to OSF Global Services’ report Overcome Cultural Differences in the Outsourcing Process, of outsourcing projects that fail, 70% do so due to miscommunication.

A good IT staff augmentation provider will:

  • Provide a principal point of contact for discussing progress and feedback
  • Demonstrate their expertise in using project management tools
  • Take the time to understand your company’s underlying principles and goals
  • Ask questions about the specification and suggest effective workflows
  • Be adaptable to working in new ways

A partner with an open communication style provides companies with peace of mind and demonstrates their confidence in their abilities.

Verify Their Commitment to Security

Almost every business is affected by cybersecurity, so verifying a staff augmentation company’s expertise should be a top priority. According to global management consultancy Accenture’s Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust report, cybercrime will cost companies $5.2 trillion USD over the next five years.

An experienced IT staff provider will be able to demonstrate their expertise in ensuring that all cybersecurity compliances are met. Security should be integrated into their risk management process and include robust quality assurance checking, software testing and pre-certification and compliance testing.

Interestingly, Microsoft Store’s Small Business Insights Survey revealed that 70% of small businesses said they would prefer to pay for support in matters of cybersecurity than do it themselves.

Review Their Track Record and Reputation

The final step to choosing an IT staff augmentation partner is to research their previous work. Most providers will have an online portfolio that showcases the clients they’ve worked and the outcomes of the project. It’s a good idea to make contact with their previous clients to check how satisfied they were with the service and the results.

You should also try to find company reviews on third-party websites to get an indication of how they’re perceived in the IT marketplace.

In summary, our recommended steps to choosing an IT staff augmentation partner are:

  • Assess your internal expertise – Find out where your skills gaps lie and look for a partner that can fill those areas that you need help with.
  • Confirm their communication strategy – Review each potential partner’s approach to communication and make sure it’s a good fit with your own.
  • Verify their commitment to security – Ensure that your shortlisted providers follow security protocols and best practices.
  • Review their track record – Contact their previous clients, research their reputation on review websites and check their social media profiles for professionalism.