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

Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services:

Which One is

Best for You?

By Ronald Tuch

By Ronald Tuch

staff augmentation vs managed services

Long gone are the days when hiring full-time employees in-house for IT was your only option. And we’re thankful for it because traditional hiring consumes time, effort, and money, which may set you up for failure on time-sensitive and expensive projects.

As a hiring manager or business owner, you can get the iOS app development services you need without taking the traditional route. Two alternative methods are staff augmentation and managed services. In this article, we’ll compare both to help you determine which model best suits your business.

Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services Model: Definition & Meanings

To begin with, we’ll cover the two outsourcing models, staff augmentation vs. managed services, by defining them.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

In staff augmentation models, you contact a service provider asking for staff to add to your existing team for app development as a temporary or long-term solution.

With staff augmentation, you can increase or decrease the number of staff according to your workload and fill skill gaps within your team, fulfilling your current business needs. These new employees are on your team for as long as you see fit, which renders staff augmentation the most suitable model for temporary or complex projects.

In the context of software development, your qualified team might miss some core skills (in terms of programming, app development, quality assurance, quality control, workflow optimization, or anything else) for a product or be too small to accommodate time and budget restrictions.

By adding qualified personnel, such as talented iOS developers, IT experts, or both, staff augmentation focuses on combining full-time benefits with project outsourcing.

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What Are Managed Services?

Unlike the previous outsourcing model, a managed services model gives you access to a completely new team. You can outsource entire projects to third-party providers known as managed service providers (MSPs).

If your company can’t afford or manage a full in-house team, managed services models are a solid idea. They relieve you of that burden, as they work independently on a designated task with a set deadline and timeline and regular communication.

On a software development project, these teams can handle anything like cybersecurity, backup recovery, data migration, database administration, and more.

Comparing Staff Augmentation vs. A Managed Services Provider

IT staff comparing their outsourcing options

In the staff augmentation vs. managed services debate, you need to consider the ups and downs of both and who they’re best for. Accordingly, you can decide which outsourcing model works best for your business needs.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

A staff augmentation model offers you the following perks:

  • Flexible Team Size: As your workload and capacity shift, you can increase or decrease the outsourced team.
  • Seamless Integration: There’s no intensive onboarding process for new team members, which allows you to save money and costs related to the hiring process. Also, they catch up quickly and need no training (as they already have the skills), filling any gaps caused by staff shortages. They tend to work with each existing team member as a unit.
  • Specialized Skills and Expertise: Staff augmentation services give you just the IT skills your team lacks, and they do so quickly. Even better, you get access to top talent and work with experts that you wouldn’t, otherwise, have found on such short notice.
  • Cost Effectiveness: You don’t need to pay for the hiring, onboarding, or training of non-permanent employees. Also, you don’t pay full-time salaries.
  • Complete Control: Staff augmentation grants you total control over new team members and the project results. You can supervise it and ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.
  • Meeting Strict Deadlines: Do you have a strict deadline? Staff augmentation saves time, as you get the needed workforce fast and skip the lengthy onboarding cycle, which the service provider conducts.

Disadvantages of Staff Augmentation

Understanding the downfalls of staff augmentation will help you determine if it’s the right pick for your company.

  • Long-Term Inefficiency: For long-term projects, staff augmentation tasks can be problematic. That’s because outsourced employees might be obliged to take on additional tasks. And if you need that extra personnel for over 12 months, it may be less costly to hire an in-house team.
  • Need for Instruction: Although outsourced employees will have the required skill set for your app development, they’ll be unfamiliar with your company goals, processes, and techniques. So, you’ll need to familiarize them with them. This is challenging if you don’t have the management resources and halts the workflow if you do.
  • Integration Challenges: You can’t be sure whether a new member will get along with existing team members, which will impact productivity and quality levels. They might see the new hires as threats.

Who Is Staff Augmentation For?

The staff augmentation model is arguably perfect for businesses that need temporary hires or have low-budget projects.

In other words, they supply you with a temporary need, such as extra personnel to accommodate an unusually high workload or employees who have the skills your team members are missing for iOS app development. Finally, you can use staff augmentation to test the waters with some candidates before hiring them as full-timers.

Benefits of Using a Managed Service Provider

If you opt for the second alternative method, managed services offer the following benefits:

  • Relatively Predictable Costs: Some pricing perimeters govern a managed IT services company, which allows you to plan for your fees accurately.
  • Cost Savings: With a managed service provider, you can save costs, as there’s no need for additional training, new hardware, or full salaries.
  • Tight Security: A managed service provider is well-trained in cybersecurity practices and risk management strategies. For instance, the measures they enforce include access control, data encryption, authentication protocols, and more. So, there’s brand reputation protection and little to no risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, or vicious attacks.
  • Access to Talent and Skill: Your in-house team might lack certain talent or skills, while managed services have a big network of IT experts with a wide range of skills and expertise.
  • Guaranteed Results: Managed services provide you with the outcome you require. These external vendors take on any risks and handle all obstacles to ensure that the software works properly. After all, the service level agreement (SLA) determines guidelines, by which they must abide to receive their fees.
  • Project Management: Because you aren’t adding members to an existing team, you don’t need to hire another project manager. Instead, the third-party provider oversees and manages entire projects, ensuring the availability of the needed tools, resources, and technologies.

Disadvantages of the Managed Services Model

To get a well-rounded understanding of a managed services provider, you must understand their disadvantages, which are as follows:

  • Lack of Control: Managed services provide you with project management as part of their quotes. To explain, you give up control over the project development and processes. At the same time, being overly specific about your requirements and micromanagement affect the performance of managed services providers negatively.
  • Security Risks: Typically, managed service providers require access to sensitive systems and confidential information. You must be picky with them, or you’ll risk working with unreliable or unethical individuals, who may misuse them.
  • Potentially Wasted Resources: If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself paying for an external provider who offers services and packages that don’t serve your project. So, make sure the agreement benefits your app development goals.

Who Is Managed Services For?

Managed IT services are excellent for companies that want to expand their offerings to involve other software development services (like iOS app development) but don’t have the in-house resources for it.

They can’t afford or don’t want to hire a whole team and would rather outsource specific projects. Also, managed service providers benefit business owners who want a controlled or predictable budget.

How to Choose the Right Model for Your Organization

how to choose between staff augmentation and managed services for your organization

As you’ll see, it’s crucial to prioritize the needs of your business and consider the following aspects when deciding between staff augmentation and managed services.


If you experience fluctuations in workloads and face unique challenges that call for extra skills, you should prioritize flexibility.

Staff augmentation enables you to scale your team up or down (depending on the dynamic project needs). Team members get accustomed to the workflow relatively fast. So, you can add skills and talents as needed and decide at any time you no longer need them.

As for managed services, the flexibility they offer you depends on your contract. You might be charged additional costs to add more employees to the project. Nonetheless, managed IT services are more flexible than in-house teams in terms of working hours, thanks to their higher availability.

Project Investment/Cost

When we talk about cost-effectiveness in staff augmentation and managed services, it depends on the project duration. If you need software developers for less than 12 months, choose staff augmentation, and you’ll avoid paying full-time wages, cut operational costs, and only pay for the time the project takes.

If it’s a long-term need, costs will add up. Despite managed services being higher in price, they are more cost-effective in the long run with their efficient and streamlined services.

You can save up by outsourcing the hiring, onboarding, resource management, HR work, maintenance, hardware, and equipment. Also, the ongoing maintenance of managed services will address any issues that would, otherwise, break the bank.

If you need to know the project budget ahead of time, managed services enable you to predict that, thanks to their fixed or subscription-based pricing metrics.

Level of Control

When you compare staff augmentation to managed services, you’ll see that the former grants you far more control over the software development process and the company system and data. Also, the entire team, including outsourced staff, abide by your company policy and methods. Your project manager can closely monitor them to ensure they execute tasks properly and meet strict deadlines.

To compare, a managed service provider takes care of the entire project, which gives you little control and allows you to focus on core systems. Still, you can have consistent communication with the management services providers.

Relinquishing control can mean the managed service providers adopting a different approach or technique to software project development or project management. Also, it entails granting them access to your company’s sensitive data and systems. So, you must pick a service provider who’s committed to customer satisfaction.


Whether you choose staff augmentation, managed services, or other models, security should be your priority. The former affords you more security. However, you must get outsourced staff to abide by your security protocols, which is easily accomplished with an NDA.

Managed services are less secure, as you give such services access to your company data and more. However, they have cybersecurity standards to uphold, so the key to avoiding unethical use of information is to choose a reputable third-party provider. This way, you’ll feel confident in their commitment to safety measures, such as regular security audits and monitoring.

Another point is intellectual property. You should confirm with the managed services providers that you’ll own the intellectual property rights to the project when they complete it.


Team augmentation and managed services accommodate short-term projects and long-term and ongoing projects, respectively.

Augmentation gives you software developers with specialized skills temporarily (for under 12 months). Although service level agreements can be altered and the periods extended, it probably isn’t financially sensible.

Managed services and the outsourcing of the whole project ensure the fulfillment of long-term goals, spanning various aspects of your IT needs. And it can save costs in the long run (12 months or more), as you save on recruitment, training, and so on.


Staff augmentation is a lifesaver if your core team lacks some key skills, experience, or knowledge in iOS app development that’s necessary for a project. It bridges skill gaps (due to staff shortages or business expansion). This way, you can fulfill your goals, and do so quickly, as these employees already have the needed skillset.

Now, what if there’s a needed range of skills that’s outside of your team’s scope or a skill that’s needed more permanently? In that case, outsourcing it via managed services is a solid idea because these teams have a wide range of skills. With access to valuable skills or knowledge, this model helps maintain your system and infrastructure. Additionally, it allows you to dedicate your internal resources to other initiatives.


In staff augmentation vs. managed services, the responsibility lies on you in the first model and on the managed services company in the second one. When you add specialized IT developers to your existing team, they act as part of your team. This model supports proactive monitoring, so it’s up to you to oversee the project development and meet deadlines.

When you hire managed services, this burden falls to the other party because they monitor the project from start to finish, which includes project management, providing tools and equipment, and more.

Not to mention, they’re obliged to abide by the agreed-upon regulations in terms of security. They’re also required to replace any IT professionals who quit mid-project without your help. And they’re responsible for compliance with service-level agreements.

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What Are the Other Options for Outsourcing?

Are there other options for outsourcing?

We can classify outsourcing according to its purpose into staff augmentation and managed services, but there are also other options. Also, some classifications relate to the geographical locations of the outsourced team as we’ll see.

SDaaS (Software Development as a Service)

Software outsourcing is a full-cycle customized software development service. You list the specifications you’re looking for in a product, and the outside vendor delivers them. It comes in handy when your in-house team doesn’t have the capacity, expertise, or knowledge needed for a specific project.


Nearshoring is a method of outsourcing in which the client and the outside vendor are located in neighboring countries and mostly in the same time zone. The close proximity reduces cultural and geographical barriers and differences, which helps with remote work logistics.


Offshoring is an outsourcing option, in which an outsourced team lives in a distant country from the company (usually in a different time zone). The goal of offshoring may be to target software developers from countries with relatively low hourly wages, which is cost-effective. It also gives you a wider pool, so you can choose true tech talents.

Staff Augmentation With All-Win Solutions

Ultimately, we can’t announce a clear winner in the staff augmentation vs. managed services faceoff. What we can do is urge you to let your project deadline, budget, challenges, goals, and priorities guide you to the suitable outsourcing model for you.

Finally, if you need a cost-effective and short-term solution to iOS app development, staff augmentation is the way to go. Book a call, and gain access to a free 2-week trial with one of All-Win Solution’s developers now!

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