Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting

IT Services
Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting
Article by Sumana Ganguly
Last Updated: April 26, 2023

There are a lot of moving parts when running a successful business, and it can be tough to keep track of everything. That's where staff augmentation and consulting come in. These services can help businesses with a variety of needs, from filling short-term staffing gaps to providing expert advice on strategic decisions. 

However, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right service. If you put staff augmentation vs. consulting in the ring, the winner ultimately depends on your specific needs. 

If you don’t want to risk making the wrong choice, stick with us as we get into the nitty-gritty of staff augmentation, consulting, and the differences between the two. 

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What Is Staff Augmentation & Its Advantages? 

Staff augmentation is the strategic addition of professional personnel to an organization in order to supplement the existing workforce and enhance productivity. It is a flexible solution that can be tailored to the specific needs of any business, no matter its size, and can be scaled up or down as required. 

As the tech industry rapidly grows with each passing day, so does the demand for tech professionals to handle day-to-day tasks and contribute towards the companies’ goals.

It’s no wonder that outsourced IT services are becoming a standard. The staff augmentation market is expected to have an incremental spend of USD 81.87 billion by 2025, accelerating at a CAGR of 3.53%.

Why Businesses Opt for Staff Augmentation

There are many advantages that staff augmentation services bring, including: 

  • Access to skilled professionals whenever you need them: Staff augmentation allows you to hire the right people for your project without the need to invest in full-time employees. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that require additional staff on a temporary or project-based basis. 
  • Filling skills gaps within an organization: When your team lacks the experience to complete a project, you can outsource it and receive specialist knowledge and expertise. For example, if you need to design a new website but don’t have any in-house developers, you can hire a web development agency to provide the necessary skills and resources. 
  • The expertise you need, on a budget: One of the main advantages of staff augmentation is that it is a cost-effective way to add skilled workers to your team. You only pay for the additional workers you need on a project-by-project basis. This can save your company money compared to hiring full-time employees or using outside consultants.
  • Unparalleled flexibility that results in better outcomes: When you augment your staff, you can choose exactly the right mix of skills and experience for each project and even branch out to other non-core services you originally offer. This allows you to tailor your team to the specific needs of each project, which can significantly improve project outcomes.
  • Boosted morale and motivation: Staff augmentation can also improve morale among your existing employees. When you use augmented staff, it shows that you are willing to invest in your team and give them the resources they need to be successful. This can lead to increased motivation and productivity from your existing employees. 

What Is Consulting & its Advantages?

Consulting is the provision of expert advice on a particular issue or concern and typically focuses on providing strategic guidance, for instance, developing the best IT strategy.

As such, IT services for businesses that third-party agencies offer are among the most sought-after services in today’s digital era. 

The IT consulting sector is projected to reach $61.19 billion by the end of 2022 while research shows that it will achieve a whooping revenue of $82.38 billion by 2027.

Why Businesses Opt for IT Consulting 

The demand for information technology services companies and consultants is ever on the rise as they deliver: 

  • Objectivity and fresh perspective: When you're too close to a situation, it can be difficult to see it clearly. A consultant can offer a fresh perspective and help you identify potential solutions that you may not have considered. This can be helpful for businesses that are stuck in a rut or looking for new ways to improve their operations.
  • Expertise and access to resources: Upon consulting with someone, you are tapping into their expertise. A consultant can provide the knowledge and skills you need to get the job done right. When you hire a consultant, you also gain access to their network of resources. This can be invaluable when trying to find information or locate specialized services.
  • Improved decision-making skills: Working with a consultant can help improve your decision-making skills. This is because they will challenge your assumptions and help you think through the implications of your decisions more carefully. As a result, you'll be better equipped to make sound decisions that will benefit your business in the long run.
  • Greater innovation: Businesses that are stuck in their ways often have trouble keeping up with the competition. Consultants can help introduce new ideas as they have unbiased opinions and are always objective, thus helping the business to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Flexibility (minus the hefty bill): Since you can use consultants on an as-needed basis, you can save money compared to hiring full-time employees. Additionally, if your needs change, you can easily adjust the scope of your project with a consultant, giving you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. 

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: The Similarities 

One thing is for sure: staff augmentation and consulting are services that provide businesses with access to additional staff and/or expertise and can be extremely valuable. 

As such, they have a lot of things in common as both of these services:

  • Save time and money by providing access to skilled professionals who can get the job done quickly and efficiently without having to hire them as full-time employees; 
  • Help organizations reduce their risks by providing access to experienced professionals who can identify and mitigate potential risks;
  • Improve the businesses’ bottom line by helping them achieve their goals; 

Can be used to supplement your existing workforce or to provide an entirely new team of workers. 

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Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: The Differences 

The distinction between staff augmentation services and consulting services can be blurry, but knowing the key differences between the two can ultimately help you decide which is right for your business.

Difference in: 

Staff Augmentation 


Services provided 

Focused on adding additional staff to an organization in order to meet increased demands or to fill a skill gap 

Focused on providing expert advice to organizations on specific issues  


The augmented staff works according to the company’s inner processes  

Consultants suggest strategies and models and employ them within a company  


Companies don’t expose sensitive data to augmented staff 


Consultants usually know the company’s (or project’s) ins and outs which can increase the chances of a data breach 


Usually less expensive 

IT consultants often have higher rates  

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Which Service to Choose? 

Staff augmentation, consulting, or both?

Both staff augmentation and consulting can prove invaluable to any organization that needs extra help. However, there are a few key considerations to bear in mind when choosing between staff augmentation or consulting services. 

Now that we covered the advantages of staff augmentation and consulting above, let’s shortly define how to make the right choice.

Choose staff augmentation over consulting if you need: 

  • Specific expertise
  • Additional capacity during peak periods
  • Flexibility in your workforce
  • Short-term help
  • Access to a larger pool of talent
  • Save time on recruiting and training

Opt for consulting over staff augmentation if you need: 

  • An objective perspective
  • Help with change management
  • An expert opinion
  • Fresh ideas
  • Help making a big decision
  • Short-term assistance

However, when discussing staff augmentation vs. consulting, you don’t have to pick one over the other. Many companies nowadays choose staff augmentation, consulting, and other outsourced services to streamline their operations and boost their productivity. 

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Key Takeaways 

Around 300,000 jobs are outsourced from the US every year — if you were wondering whether outsourcing your work is smart, the numbers speak for themselves. 

But, when it comes to running a business, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Your business needs are as unique as your objectives — the organizational structure within one company, no matter how successful, may not work for your company. 

So, if you're considering working with an outside firm to help with a project or supplement your staff, identify your specific needs first. Bear in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to staff augmentation vs. consulting. 

If you need help with a specific project and you're looking for someone with specialized knowledge or skills, staff augmentation may be the way to go. However, if you need ongoing assistance in an area where you lack expertise, consulting may be a better choice.

Ultimately, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

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