Information technology (IT) is the backbone of nearly every modern business. However, keeping pace with the latest IT advancements while also meeting your unique business needs can be challenging. This is where IT augmentation comes in.
IT augmentation involves extending a business’s in-house IT capabilities through external resources and partnerships. With IT augmentation, companies can enhance their tech talent, tools, systems and overall capabilities on an as-needed basis.
But is IT augmentation right for your organization? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key benefits of IT augmentation and provide best practices for implementation. Read on to determine if augmentation is the missing puzzle piece for your IT strategy.
Benefits of IT Augmentation
The strategic use of IT augmentation delivers numerous advantages that directly impact a business’s bottom line. Let’s examine some of the top benefits of IT staff augmentation:
One of the major appeals of IT augmentation is enhanced cost-efficiency. With augmentation, businesses avoid the high costs of hiring, training and providing benefits for specialized IT staff members. Augmentation allows you to only pay for the specific skills you need, when you need them.
This on-demand flexibility is far more budget-friendly than permanently expanding your IT team. In fact, IT augmentation can reduce IT operations costs by 25-45% for many organizations. These major savings can then be reallocated to fuel innovation, upgrade systems or pursue other priorities.
IT augmentation also enables unmatched scalability. As your business grows and evolves, so do your IT needs. But scaling traditional IT teams often requires significant training, hiring and onboarding – not to mention layoffs should your needs decrease.
With IT augmentation, you can dynamically scale your IT capabilities up or down. Augmentation allows you to expand your tech talent pool for special projects or busy seasons, then draw it back as needed. This agility is incredibly valuable for organizations with variable IT workloads.
Access to Expertise
Your in-house IT staff delivers baseline technical capabilities. But it’s nearly impossible for any single team to master every evolving IT domain. From automation to security, augmentation provides access to specialized IT skills and knowledge outside your organization’s wheelhouse.
By tapping into an extended network of expert IT professionals, you can complement and elevate your existing resources. You’ll also gain an external perspective to spur innovation. According to a report, 72% of IT leaders rely on augmentation to enhance skills. This emphasis on targeted, expert IT augmentation enables organizations to achieve their strategic goals.
Finally, thoughtful IT augmentation improves efficiency. Your in-house team can focus on core deliverables and maintaining institutional knowledge. An augmented talent pool handles specialized one-off projects, seasonal workloads and other tasks that are better suited for external specialists.
With the right IT augmentation model, you can optimize costs, increase existing staff productivity by up to 50%, and accelerate execution across the enterprise. Reports that augmented IT teams can deliver projects 25% faster than traditional staffing models. Defined properly, augmentation allows you to derive more value from your IT investments.
Best Practices for IT Augmentation
Now that you understand the significant benefits, let’s explore proven recommendations for effective IT augmentation:
Define Your Goals
Like any business initiative, your IT augmentation strategy requires clearly defined objectives. Before exploring specific solutions, clearly articulate your overarching goals.
Common IT augmentation goals include closing a skills gap for a special project, freeing up your staff from routine IT tasks, enhancing scalability for growth or spikes in demand, and gaining access to emerging technologies like AI and automation.
Of course, augmenting simply for augmentation’s sake rarely delivers meaningful benefits. So take the time to pinpoint exactly what you hope to achieve, and ensure augmentation directly serves those business needs. A targeted approach based on strategic goals will maximize your ROI.
Assess Your Current IT Infrastructure
Once you’ve defined your IT augmentation objectives, conduct an honest assessment of your current IT infrastructure. This includes evaluating staff capabilities, tools and technologies, security protocols, and any weaknesses or gaps in your tech environment.
A comprehensive understanding of existing IT resources and needs allows you to focus augmentation efforts where they will deliver the greatest impact. You can also identify current staff members best suited for knowledge transfer roles. The right assessment provides a blueprint for an augmentation strategy tailored to your unique requirements.
Choose the Right IT Augmentation Partner
Choosing the ideal IT augmentation partner is critical for long-term success. You want a provider that fully understands your goals, environment and staff capabilities. Relevant industry experience, technical breadth and depth, and cultural fit should inform your decision process.
Vet potential partners thoroughly based on client references, sample work, range of services, and workplace policies that mesh with your values. A trusted partner that invests in your success can elevate IT augmentation beyond purely transactional benefits.
Many organizations find the greatest advantage in IT augmentation partners who provide long-term managed relationships rather than one-time project assistance. Ongoing partnerships enable knowledge retention, continuous optimization, and ultimately maximum value.
Develop a Detailed Plan
Now you’re ready to design a detailed IT augmentation plan. This documented plan should outline the goals, scope, success metrics, required resources, integration protocols, and ongoing management for your augmentation initiative.
Clearly delineate which IT functions will remain in-house versus those you intend to augment. Define policies for access to systems, IP, or sensitive data. Outline plans for knowledge sharing between internal staff and external augmentation resources. Planning these details sets your augmentation program up for excellence.
Your plan should also be somewhat flexible, since projects evolve and needs change. Build in checkpoints for periodic evaluation and adjustment to ensure augmentation continues conferring optimal advantages as your business grows.
Monitor and Adjust
Even with thorough planning, diligent monitoring and adjustment is imperative once implementation begins. Issues like unclear role definition, communication disconnects, or process conflicts can arise. So continually measure augmentation outcomes against defined KPIs and solicit feedback from both internal and external contributors.
Watch for new pain points or opportunities to enhance augmentation advantages. For example, a project’s extension might warrant expanded scope for external partners. Regular checkpoints allow you to course correct, fine tune integration, and maximize the business impact of IT augmentation.
IT Augmentation in Action
Let’s look at a few examples that demonstrate the benefits of IT augmentation best practices:
Company A needed to quickly onboard 50 new employees across multiple locations. Their small IT team couldn’t handle the surge in demand while maintaining daily operations. By augmenting with managed IT services for deployment and deskside user support, Company A accelerated onboarding by 4 weeks with no disruption to existing staff. Augmentation enabled them to scale smoothly for growth.
Company B had an urgent cybersecurity compliance need requiring specialized technical knowledge outside their in-house capabilities. They augmented with an experienced security consultant who collaborated closely with internal staff during policy design. The security consultant’s industry expertise allowed Company B to fulfill the compliance requirement on time while upskilling its staff.
Company C wanted to free its IT technicians from help desk tickets and minor issues. They augmented Level 1 support with an external provider to handle routine requests. Company C increased IT team productivity by over 40%, while end users benefited from expanded service availability. Augmentation drove efficiency gains without additional permanent hires.
When designed and managed properly, IT augmentation delivers tangible benefits ranging from cost reductions to competitive agility. By tapping into a flexible, specialized talent pool, organizations can target their most pressing IT priorities without the risks or overhead of expanding permanent teams.
First, clearly define your augmentation goals and conduct a thorough assessment of existing IT systems and staff capabilities. Choose an IT partner that fully understands your specific needs and environment. Develop a detailed plan, allowing room for adjustment as needed. And consistently monitor outcomes to ensure augmentation continues driving maximum value.
With the right strategy guided by the best practices outlined here, IT augmentation can take your technology capabilities to the next level. Hire dedicated programmers, empower your in-house experts, gain access to emerging tech skills, inject new thinking and do more with less through targeted augmentation.