A Comparison of Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services

With so many businesses so heavily dependent on their information technology infrastructure, finding the appropriate personnel and resources to support their efforts can be extremely difficult. Many businesses find themselves turning to specialized consultants or outsourcing models provided by IT services firms to supplement the gaps in their resources or knowledge. Which leads to a natural question for business owners, IT managers, and CIOs: What is the better choice in the staff augmentation vs. managed services debate?

In this piece, we’ll compare features of managed services vs. staff augmentation to help you determine which is right for your business.

Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation: Which is Right for You?

Make the best choice for your business by partnering with ITSco today.

Learn More


Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation

Before we begin contrasting staff augmentation vs. managed services, we first need to define the two services.

Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably, but that overlooks some very meaningful differences between the two. Let’s start with a basic description of the two models.


Staff Augmentation

The staff augmentation model involves bringing in specialists for a defined period of time. The augmented staff can meet your IT needs on a particular project and thereby avoid the high costs of hiring on additional staff to support your full-time, in-house team.

Some businesses opt for this model due to the simple pricing structure (usually paid by the hour) and flexibility it provides (we’ll dive more into the pros and cons of both staff augmentation and managed services in a section below).


Managed IT Services

Managed service models usually involve outsourcing all or a majority of your IT needs to a team of specialists. Your managed services provider (MSP) will then take full ownership of all-or-part of your IT infrastructure, so you can offload your technology management burden to them. With managed services, you can leverage:

  • Managed service agreements with customized SLAs
  • CIO services
  • 24/7 monitoring and alerting
  • Cybersecurity services
  • Cloud support, implementation, and maintenance
  • Network and systems monitoring and support
  • Maintenance services, including patching, and upgrading
  • Extra resources for critical, short-term project initiatives

Managed services are typically charged at a flat monthly rate determined by the number of users supported, the number and types of devices supported, and the scope of the work. Project services are usually quoted at a fixed cost or at discounted hourly rates.


Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services: Pros and Cons

Breakdown of Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation
Managed IT Services Staff Augmentation
  • Long-term
  • Fixed costs
  • Cost-effective
  • 24/7/365 support
  • Adjustable packages
  • Total project management
  • Response times governed by SLA
  • Total offloading of your technology management burden
  • Service Levels Agreements (SLAs) guarantee service
  • Short-term
  • Variable costs
  • Simple contracts
  • Can fill specific gaps
  • Must be managed by your business
  • Cost-effective on a project-to-project basis
  • Can get expensive and harder to track long-term
For long-term support and total management of your IT needs. For shorter term needs and best when supplementing your existing in-house team and resources.


Staff Augmentation: Pros and Cons

Staff augmentation can be very flexible and relatively simple to structure. You may be working with a single worker or a vendor that supplies a small team of workers to support your needs.

There is definitely a good case to be made for relying on the staff augmentation model in some circumstances. According to data from SpendEdge, the IT staff augmentation services market is expected to grow by 3.53% between 2021 and 2025, and will reach a value of $81.87 billion.

As long as an engagement is defined by specific deliverables – and resources are managed accordingly – staff augmentation can be a valuable tool in your arsenal.

However, when it is not actively managed, consulting engagements have a way of extending themselves as dependence on external resources grows. And per-hour pricing is the least efficient cost structure for this kind of help.

It also becomes more difficult to measure the effectiveness of your augmented resources over time as they can become enmeshed with your full-time staff and become critical to the day-to-day functioning of your business. This can lead to a cycle of dependency, where you can’t release your contractor without suffering a severe gap in resources.

Also, when working with a single IT specialist, you must be prepared for them to take vacations, get sick, quit their job, and so on (just like an employee!).

Now, let’s compare that to the advantages and disadvantages of managed IT services.

Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation

Credit: michaeljung


Managed Services Pros and Cons

Engaging with a managed services vendor means outsourcing some or all of your IT functions to them.

While this is a bigger commitment – and may feel like a risk to some – over the long haul, professional managed services can provide all the IT resources you need to run your business on a predictable pricing schedule. With the best providers, you will get easy access to a trusted team of IT experts with a wide variety of domain specialties that can support the evolving needs of your business more efficiently than you can do it yourself.

A trusted IT partner should be able to:

  • Manage either part or all of your IT infrastructure for a price that is typically less than hiring and maintaining internal IT staff.
  • Ensure that your business will be well-served by creating customized SLAs that guarantee the level of service you need.
  • Provide flexibility by tailoring their support packages to meet your particular needs.
  • Offer dependable support around the clock to ensure you’ll have the help you need whenever IT issues arise.
  • Ensure access to an entire team of skilled resources – giving you access to a much wider variety of IT specialities than it is possible to maintain internally.
  • Provide your company with continuity and flexibility of IT resources, so that it is easier to expand or contract based on business conditions – and so that you never have to worry about losing your most important IT resources.
  • Provide both managed services packages for long term support, as well as additional project resources (at discounted rates) to help you implement critical projects quickly.

The biggest drawback of managed services is that you have to find the right partner to reap the greatest benefits. A partner:

  • Whose business model and philosophy are aligned with yours.
  • Who you can trust to be honest, reliable, and skilled at their craft.
  • Whose pricing is fair and transparent.
  • Who can offer a solid return on your IT investments (ROI).

As a final note – don’t expect managed services to be cheap – because good service (managed or otherwise) is never cheap. The managed services model should provide a better value for your IT spend than either in-house resources or temporary staff augmentation – but be careful not to fall for offers that look “too good to be true” – because they most certainly are.


Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services: Which is Best for Your Business?

Neither choice is inherently wrong. It all depends on your circumstances. At the end of the day, your industry, your business model, your size, the scope of the work required, and other factors will impact your decision.

That said, managed IT services are always worth considering. They can support your business long-term, meet all your IT needs, help you scale, and generally offer a superior ROI.

The next question you need to answer, then, is which MSP is best for your business?

Interested in learning more about the benefits of managed services vs. staff augmentation? Check out these blogs:


Make the Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation Decision Easier with a Trusted IT Partner

As a trusted IT services provider, ITSco can manage all of your IT needs with flexible managed service contracts. But we can also offer project specific implementation services and even staff augmentation services. And we’ll help you choose what’s right for you, based on the particular challenges you face.

In all cases, we offer world-class services at affordable rates, creating solutions that are customized to your business’s specific needs and budget.

By working with ITSco, your business will benefit from:

  • A reputation based on trust and results
  • Proven customer service focus
  • World-class technical expertise
  • Transparent pricing and invoicing
  • Over 25 years of experience providing professional IT services

For more information about our full range of managed IT services, contact us today.


Featured Image Credit: Freepik

Sign-up for our e-Newsletter

Get our latest content delivered to your inbox.

Does your IT infrastructure support your business goals?

Book a FREE, professional assessment to find out how to make IT a driver of business innovation and productivity.