By Adrian Vogt

Resource augmentation, managed services or project-based consulting: which model is right for your organisation?

Managed services versus staff augmentation, managed services or staff augmentation, is managed services or resource augmentation better, managed services or contract work

When it comes to recruiting tech talent, there’s been something of a perfect storm over the past two years.

As a consequence of the global pandemic, businesses across the world have had to fast-track digital transformation to simply survive, meaning a significant increase in tech implementation projects – including CRM projects.

However, those new projects require specific people with specific skill sets. Border closures have meant that it’s been increasingly difficult to bring in new staff from overseas, leading to businesses exploring different models of delivering IT projects. 

There are three main models for businesses to deliver new projects – resource augmentation, managed services, and project work – and the right model (or combination of models) depends largely on the organisation’s current maturity, existing systems, and desired outcomes, along with the resources and expertise already on hand. 

In this two-part series, we’ll look at each of the three models, helping you understand when each approach may be best for your business. In some cases it may be one option – in others, it may be a combination of all three. 

First up, resource augmentation. 

What is resource augmentation? 

Let’s start by defining exactly what we mean when we use this term. Usually, ‘resource augmentation’ refers to businesses supplementing their current team with another set of hands – something that’s increasingly common with the rise of the gig economy and freelancers looking for contract work. 

Essentially this means organisations will bring in someone with knowledge of industry best practice on a short-term basis to increase capacity on a project.

When should organisations consider using resource augmentation? 

Resource augmentation can be useful for businesses that have a strong existing team and need additional resources to achieve a project goal. In other words, it might be the right solution if you just need some flexibility to bolster the existing team for a CRM project

In addition to filling a skills need or resource need on a specific project, resource augmentation can be useful to cover staff holidays and periods when staff are absent from work due to illness. 

What are the pros of using resource augmentation? 

In addition to quickly accessing specialist skills, resource augmentation can help businesses deliver projects within tight timeframes. From a business perspective, bringing in resources this way can be easier to budget for, as opposed to committing to full-time employees. 

What’s the downside to resource augmentation?

Typically, resource augmentation is beneficial in the short term. However, in the medium to long term, those benefits can decrease as, due to the nature of the relationship, costs may be higher and the resource may choose to take up another project elsewhere at short notice. 

Temporary resources will also require training on the business’s processes and procedures, as well as the other onboarding that’s needed, and that time investment may be weighty when considering the temporary nature of the engagement. The client will also lose the knowledge the temporary resource has gained.

The second model we’re going to look at is managed services. 

What are managed services?

A managed service is a long-term method of businesses outsourcing components of their IT functions to a specialist, expert team. This approach provides businesses with a pool of specialist resources to access, meaning there’s always capacity and capability there when needed. 

Managed services can be valuable for businesses that don’t have all of the specialist knowledge required in-house, and don’t have the budget or resources to build out an entirely new team that’s capable of getting the business to where it needs to go. 

This is generally a longer-term approach since the goal is to create an extension of your existing team, one with staff who don’t need to be constantly re-trained or brought up to speed on your organisation.

When should businesses consider using managed services? 

Managed services can be beneficial when internal resources spend much of their time on functional tasks, rather than value-add work. Engaging a managed service provider and delegating the day-to-day BAU tasks, can free time up for those value-add tasks. When working with a managed service provider, businesses have access to high-level specialists across all of the Salesforce clouds who can step in for specific projects and people who can supplement the team should additional resources be required. 

In other words, with a managed service provider, you can still enjoy one-off specialist input for time-bound projects while freeing your internal team from everyday troubleshooting or maintenance.

What are the pros of using managed services? 

Working with a managed services provider is a long-term collaboration, and provides a guaranteed pool of resources. It provides continuity of knowledge and best practice, and can be cost-effective and predictable from a budget perspective. 

In addition, you benefit from the support of platform maintenance and enhancement. 

What’s the downside to managed services?  

Depending on where your managed services team is located, you might need to factor in whether you’re comfortable with an on-site or off-site team. More broadly, choosing a managed service provider is a major step and you need to ensure you do your due diligence – including speaking with current clients – to assess the provider’s suitability for your business. This includes choosing a partner who can meet intensive security evaluations, especially for those in the public sector or highly regulated industries.

Like any relationship, the right managed service provider can be a game-changer for your organisation, while the wrong provider might mean you don’t get the ROI you’re looking for. 

Summing it up: you might not have to choose

Resource augmentation can be the perfect solution for businesses with a specific, short-term need – you can bring in a specialist resource to work on a specific task. Over the longer-term, however, the benefits of resource augmentation may wane. 

A managed service provider, meanwhile, can be invaluable for businesses with an ongoing need for access to specialist resources and maintenance, and can provide certainty and assuredness over the long term. 

But we all know that organisations’ needs are rarely straightforward – or static. That means you might want to partner with a managed service provider, while occasionally using resource augmentation when it makes sense for your circumstances. You don’t necessarily need to choose one or the other, since complex problems often require a mix of solutions and the right partner can help you access a range of resources according to your organisation’s changing needs.

In part two of this blog, we look at a third model, project-based consulting, and do a visual side-by-side comparison of all three — be sure to check it out!

Simplus can help with all three models. Get in touch with our friendly team if you’d like to discuss which approaches could be right for you.

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