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Ultimate Guide to Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services

by | May 2, 2024

In today’s business landscape full of remote work and outsourcing, it’s hard to find the perfect balance between resource allocation and operational efficiency.  

As a software development company, we know that finding the right IT partner can be challenging. If you’ve landed a new project, but don’t have the resources to handle it, what should you do? 

This is where staff augmentation and managed services come in to help companies. Both solutions entail outsourcing or hiring professionals who can supplement your workforce or support you in achieving higher efficiency, especially in the field of IT. 

Both staff augmentation and managed services are increasingly growing in popularity. In fact, with a CAGR of 3.53% and 12.8% respectively, staff augmentation and managed services truly bring value to modern businesses looking to upscale their IT force with quality talent. 

But what is the difference between a managed team and staff augmentation? Which one is the right option for you? Let’s explore the answers to these questions, along with the pros, cons, and differences of the two models in this comprehensive guide. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Both staff augmentation and managed services are growing in their importance to successful business operations. 
  • Staff augmentation is the process of hiring a supplemental workforce to temporarily work alongside your internal team and fill specific gaps in technology roles. 
  • Managed services entail the outsourcing of specific functions within operational management to third-party providers that optimize those business functions, such as IT support and development. 
  • Staff augmentation is better for short-term projects where scalability is paramount and specific expertise is required. 
  • Managed services are better for complex projects where businesses need ongoing maintenance that comes at a justified cost. 

What Is Staff Augmentation?

To understand the differences between staff augmentation vs managed services, let’s first talk about each one separately.  

By its definition, staff augmentation is self-explanatory. It involves augmenting or expanding your IT staff through an external workforce.  

This additional workforce joins up with your internal team to bring in specific expertise and tackle specific tasks. Usually, this is more of a short-term project model, but can also involve long-term engagements.  

How Does It Work?

Staff augmentation is a solution that helps with sudden surges in workforce demand. So, let’s imagine a real-life scenario where your company lands a new project but doesn’t have the staff to cover the entirety of the project’s IT support.  

Rather than overloading your internal team and working under pressure to make ends meet, you can choose to use staff augmentation. How do you do this? Well, you can temporarily hire additional remote staff that will cover the additional workload in an outsourcing model.  

This way, your project will be delivered on time and without extra stress or overstretching of your internal resources.  

Whether you need to augment your staff for just a week, a month, or even a year, this is a prime solution for the issue at hand. It brings many benefits, which is why companies have started using it more and more. 

staff augmentation service

Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation 

To help you better understand the concept of staff augmentation services, let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages.  

Why are companies around the world ready to spend $81.87 billion on staff augmentation across 5 years? What are some factors that can stop your organization from joining their ranks? Read on through to find out. 


Access to Experts & Talents

One of the main benefits of IT staff augmentation is the access it provides to a huge pool of expert specialists from across the globe. This way, you can expand not only the capacity of your staff but also its expertise.

Staffing flexibility

Resource augmentation services deliver a flexible model that can adjust to your software project’s requirements. You can scale your IT workforce up and down based on your needs. This serves as the best way to optimize the allocation of your resources. 


Thanks to its short-term model, IT staff augmentation allows you to have greater control of your human resource costs. Not only will you be able to better forecast your expenses, but you will also be able to implement changes to your budget with a shorter turnaround time. 


Using an IT staff augmentation service, for example, empowers your business to quickly adapt to market demands and scale your teams up/down according to project requirements. This way, you will become flexible enough to be less dependent on the scale of projects you take on. 


Oversight and management

One of the biggest differences between staff augmentation vs managed services is the management aspect of it all. With staff augmentation, you may face supervision challenges when coordinating your internal teams with external staff. 

Onboarding External Staff Difficulty

Just as with hiring internal IT staff, you will have to put effort into onboarding external staff members to your company and projects. This can temporarily disrupt your regular workflow and take up lots of time.

Security and Confidentiality Risks

Last but not least, staff augmentation is a risky endeavor in terms of confidentiality. You will be sharing sensitive information with external IT support staff, which might pose a data security risk. 

What Are Managed Services? 

Having covered the staff augmentation model, let’s now move on to managed services. Simply put, managed services involve outsourcing the management and maintenance of specific operations like IT support or a full-cycle software development project to a third-party provider (a managed services provider). 

These providers take on the responsibility of ensuring and optimizing the designated processes. Essentially, they take on the burden of overseeing specific departments to allow the other departments to focus on their core competencies.  

Usually, managed services encompass processes like IT infrastructure management, cybersecurity, custom software development, and more. 

How Does It Work?

When a company doesn’t want to hire an in-house team but still wants to optimally manage and oversee its operations, it will opt for IT managed services. 

For example, if you don’t have an in-house tech team and want to improve the cybersecurity measures of your software application, you would hire a managed services provider to implement proactive security measures within your systems. 

When looking at staff augmentation vs managed services from a workflow point of view, it becomes clear that the first model involves hiring in-house staff you will manage internally, while the latter involves outsourcing a specific operation to a team with its own managers. 

Pros and Cons of Managed Services

To help you better understand the intricacies of managed services, let’s talk about their advantages and disadvantages. What would help or stop a company from hiring managed services? Keep on reading to find out. 


Access to Large Pool of Experts

Managed services providers have specialized teams that have top-notch skills. Essentially, managed services give you access to seasoned professionals who have a wide range of knowledge across different domains. 

Reduced Operational Burden & Cost-Effectiveness

One of the biggest benefits of managed services is the combination of cost savings and reduced operational responsibility you get. Employing managed services brings in a responsible team that takes on the burden of some business functions, which can result in cost savings.


Usually, managed service providers offer support and monitoring with almost round-the-clock availability. This way, your issues will be resolved effectively and in a timely manner.


Quality of Performance by Managed Service Providers

Depending on the managed services provider you partner up with, you will be accessing different levels of expertise and resources that you expect from your internal teams. This means that the quality of their performance will be out of your control. 

Lack of Flexibility & Direct Control

With an external team, you relinquish direct control, which may limit your flexibility and customization options. Implementing prompt changes may also prove to be difficult.

it staff augmentation service

The Differences Between Staff Augmentation and Managed Services

Now that we’ve discussed both models separately, it’s time to compare them. On one hand, managed services take the burden of the actual development process from your shoulders while staff augmentation upgrades your capabilities. 

When looking at staff augmentation vs managed services, there are many differences across costs, control, flexibility, security, etc. 

So, what is the difference between managed services and resource augmentation? Let’s talk about the 7 main differentiators of these models. 


Cost is one of the main differences between managed services and staff augmentation. Staff augmentation is more of a short-term expense involving hiring processes. On the other hand, managed services cover a wider range and timeline, which introduces ongoing service fees or even subscription costs. 

Flexibility and Scalability

Both software development staff augmentation and managed services are flexible and scalable in their nature. However, there is still a difference between the two.  

Staff augmentation offers a bit more flexibility in terms of adapting to project needs while managed services are more scalable in terms of the range of their services and resources. 

Quality of Talents 

Another difference between staff augmentation and managed services is the quality of staff you can access. With staff augmentation, you go through a hiring process and pick the professionals you like and need. With managed services, you choose the provider and rely on the expertise of their team. 


Security is one of the disadvantages of staff augmentation due to the risk you take in sharing sensitive information. Luckily, with managed services, there are usually robust security measures implemented from both sides to ensure security. 


When you choose to implement one model or another, there is always an integration period. With staff augmentation, you need to bring in new staff into existing workflows. As for managed services, you would need to adapt to the provider’s processes and vice versa. 

Comparison Table for Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services

Differentiation Point  Staff Augmentation  Managed Services 
Cost  Depending on project length  Ongoing / subscription based 
Level of Control  Higher  Lower 
Flexibility and Scalability  Higher  Lower 
Quality of Talents  Hired by you  Hired by the provider 
Security  Risky  Safe 
Integration  Internal  External 
Longevity  Short-term  Long-term 

Choosing The Right Approach

When debating between staff augmentation vs managed services, there are many factors you should consider. From your project needs and budget restrictions to scalability and timelines, each approach has its perfect fit. 

To help you choose the right solution for your business, we’ve identified the best approaches on how to evaluate and decide between the two models. 

When Should You Choose Staff Augmentation? 

As a software development and support company, we know how tough the decision to add external staff to your in-house team can be. Here is when you can confidently choose staff augmentation over managed services: 


  • You have a short-term project on your hands. Staff augmentation is the perfect solution for temporary skill gaps or projects that do not fall within the main category of your services. 
  • You lack specific expertise within your internal teams. If a new, short-term project requires special skills that your in-house teams don’t have, staff augmentation will be the band-aid you need. 
  • Your demand is volatile, and workloads fluctuate often. Having on-call staff available on short notice can be a lifesaver. If your company experiences seasonality in workloads, staff augmentation is the flexible and scalable solution you need. 

When Should You Choose Managed Services? 

Managed services work for specific tasks and project requirements. For example, outsourcing software developers is a common practice. In fact, managed services usually involve IT support, cybersecurity, development, etc. 

Here are a couple of more ways you can truly know that you should choose managed services over staff augmentation: 


  • You need ongoing support. If a project is long-term and you need ongoing IT support and maintenance, managed services are the way to go. 
  • You’re dealing with complicated IT systems. IT infrastructure or cybersecurity systems can be resource-intensive and require expert management. Managed services come in to save the day here. 
  • You’re looking for a long-term and cost-effective solution. With operational functions that aren’t related to your core business, outsourcing to managed service providers can result in cost savings over the long term. 


Overall, choosing between IT staff augmentation vs managed services comes down to your business requirements, the nature of the projects you take on, and the long-term objectives you’re tackling. 

In this guide, we tackled the ins and outs of the two models, including their pros and cons, differences, and more. 

While staff augmentation gives you a boost in flexibility and control over temporary staff, managed services help you forget about the entirety of specific business functions. 

If you’re experiencing a temporary surge in demand and need a short-term staff upgrade, staff augmentation is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a longer-term partner to handle your IT infrastructure and maintain your cybersecurity issues, managed services are the answer. 


How do you manage staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a lengthy process that includes finding suitable candidates for your project’s needs and onboarding them into your existing workflows. Essentially, managing this integration of external staff into your in-house teams is like standard hiring processes but on a temporary hiring basis. 

What Are the Types of Managed Services & Staff Augmentation Available in the Market?

When looking at staff augmentation vs managed services, it’s clear that they are suitable for different types of projects.  

For example, managed services are better for IT infrastructure management, cloud services, customer support, etc.  

On the other hand, staff augmentation brings in individuals with a wider range of skill sets, including IT, software development, marketing, engineering, etc. 

Are There Any Differences Between Staff Augmentation and Consulting?

Staff augmentation and consulting are similar in that they both involve bringing in external expertise to a business. However, when looking at staff augmentation vs consulting, they differ in terms of their timelines, involvement levels, scopes of responsibility, and much more.  

Typically, staff augmentation is a more hands-on solution, while consulting involves advisory services and strategic guidance. 

Is Scopic a Managed Services Provider?

Not specifically. We are a custom software service provider. Our teams manage large projects, but we can also provide resources for the client to manage. From cloud services to ransomware protection and IT infrastructure, we deliver IT support and maintenance. 

About Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services Guide

This guide was authored by Angel Poghosyan and reviewed by Alessandra Papini, Sales Manager at Scopic.

Scopic provides quality and informative content, powered by our deep-rooted expertise in software development. Our team of content writers and experts have great knowledge in the latest software technologies, allowing them to break down even the most complex topics in the field. They also know how to tackle topics from a wide range of industries, capture their essence, and deliver valuable content across all digital platforms.

Note: This blog’s images are sourced from Freepik.

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