IT Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services: Which is Best for Your Business?

Employees are the foundation of every company – they are the ones that keep the business afloat and on schedule. And today, remote work allows us to tap into the global talent pool and outsource critical tasks to the very best people for the job. As businesses evolve, so do their IT requirements, which often lead to issues with productivity, making the choice between IT staff augmentation vs managed services. Keep reading to learn which of these concepts align with your business needs most.

What is IT Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is an increasingly popular outsourcing strategy, offering a way to temporarily expand your in-house team with narrowly focused tech professionals from around the globe. These professionals can possess a variety of skill sets, ranging from software developers to project managers

In 2023, this sector is witnessing transformative trends, including the increasing use of automated applicant tracking systems, a stronger focus on diversity and inclusion in recruitment, and evolving screening practices.

Moreover, there’s a notable shift towards incorporating AI specialists in staff augmentation services, catering to the burgeoning demand for roles in data analysis, data science, and data engineering – reflecting that data is ‘the new oil’​​.

A diverse group of coworkers discussing IT staff augmentation vs. IT managed services
As with the rest of the tech sector, IT staff augmentation is transforming as we enter 2024.

Situations ideal for staff augmentation

Staff augmentation shines in scenarios requiring specialized software expertise, short-term commitments, or when full-time employment is not viable. It’s a go-to strategy for projects demanding agility and precision in skill deployment.


  • Flexibility and scalability: Adapts swiftly to changing project requirements, allowing team scaling as needed.
  • Control and ownership: Retains full control over your project, ensuring alignment with your vision.

Potential challenges

  • Higher long-term labour costs: Not cost-effective as a long-term solution due to overheads and profit margins.
  • Dependency on third-party selection: Relies on staffing agencies for candidate selection, which might not always align with company culture.

What are Managed Services?

Managed services involve entrusting management, IT operations, and process delivery to third-party organizations, known as Managed IT Solutions Providers (MSPs). This model is about delivering predefined results, where MSPs take full project control, covering everything from system maintenance to continuous monitoring and support.

These services are becoming increasingly vital, as evidenced by the anticipated growth of the managed services market to $393.72 billion by 2028. It’s projected that by 2025, at least 60% of organizations will depend on managed IT services​​. 

Two people looking at a document on staff augmentation vs. managed services
In the right circumstances, MSPs can really turn your whole business around.

Managed services encompass a broad range of IT functions, including but not limited to, network management, cyber security management, and cloud development services. This model is particularly appealing for businesses seeking a comprehensive, outsourced solution to manage and optimize their IT infrastructure.

Scenarios for managed services

In the battle of staff augmentation vs. managed services, managed services are most effective for long-term IT needs and when outsourcing entire projects. It’s a model where the parent company steps back, allowing MSPs to take the helm.


  • Cost predictability: Offers a fixed pricing model, allowing for accurate budgeting.
  • Continuous support: Ensures efficient task completion under set service level agreements (SLAs).


  • Dependency on MSP: High reliance on external providers can lead to risks in project delivery and control.
  • Confidentiality concerns: Involving external entities raises data security and confidentiality issues.

Key Differences Between Staff Augmentation and Managed IT Services

Both approaches offer unique advantages and cater to different business needs and scenarios. However, understanding the nuances between IT staff augmentation vs. managed services is essential for any business looking to optimize its IT strategy. 

This section delves into the key differences between these two models, providing insights to help you decide which approach – staff augmentation vs. managed services – best aligns with your business goals and operational requirements.

Control and management involvement

  • Staff Augmentation: In this model, your business retains a high level of control and direct involvement. You manage the augmented staff just as you would your in-house team, making decisions and guiding the project’s direction​​.
  • Managed Services: Here, control shifts to the Managed Service Provider (MSP). They take full responsibility for managing and executing the tasks. This model is suitable for businesses willing to delegate significant portions of their IT operations to an external entity​​.

Cost implications and budgeting

  • Staff Augmentation: This model operates on a pay-per-use basis, which can be more cost-effective for short-term projects. You pay for the specific skills and time you need, avoiding long-term financial commitments​​.
  • Managed Services: Managed services usually involve a fixed monthly cost, providing financial predictability. This model is ideal for long-term partnerships where budgeting and cost planning are essential​​.
Laptop, calculator and dollar bills on a table.
The difference in costs of IT staff augmentation vs. IT managed services is reflected in long-term budgeting.

Flexibility and scalability

  • Staff Augmentation: Offers unmatched flexibility. You can scale your team up or down based on project requirements. This model is perfect for businesses facing fluctuating workloads or needing specialized skills for short periods​​.
  • Managed Services: While also scalable, managed services are more structured. Scaling usually happens within the framework of the existing contract, making it a bit less flexible but more predictable in the long term​​.

Expertise and specialization

  • Staff Augmentation: Provides access to a diverse pool of highly specialized skills on demand. You can bring in experts for specific tasks or projects, ensuring your team always has the requisite expertise​​.
  • Managed Services: MSPs offer a broader range of specialized skills, often beyond what is typically available in-house. This model is excellent for businesses that require ongoing access to a wide array of IT skills and knowledge​​.

Long-term vs. short-term engagement

  • Staff Augmentation: Ideally suited for short-term, specific projects or when you need a rapid increase in workforce for a limited period. It allows for quick adaptation to project needs without long-term commitments​​.
  • Managed Services: These are more aligned with long-term goals and continuous support. Businesses looking for a stable, ongoing partnership to manage and execute their IT operations will find this model more suitable​​.

Project outcome and responsibility

  • Staff Augmentation: The responsibility for the project outcome remains largely with your company. You’re in charge of the direction, management, and final results of the project, utilizing external resources as an extension of your team​​.
  • Managed Services: The MSP is responsible for delivering the agreed-upon results, often defined in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This shifts the burden of achieving specific outcomes to the service provider​​.

When analyzing your IT challenges and future needs, consider your business objectives and how they align with IT staff augmentation vs managed services. Identifying goals and aligning them with the chosen service model is crucial for successful IT outsourcing.

Cost Comparison and ROI

When it comes to cost, it’s not just about the upfront expenditure. Consider the long-term financial implications of each model

Staff augmentation might appear cost-effective initially, but does it offer the best value over time? Conversely, managed services might require a more substantial initial investment, but it could lead to significant savings through optimized operations and reduced downtime.

The ROI of staff augmentation vs. managed services is crucial. It’s not just about saving pennies today; it’s about investing wisely for a more efficient, productive future. Evaluate how each model could potentially enhance your business’s bottom line in the long run.

The Deciding Factors Between IT Staff Augmentation and Managed IT Services

Selecting the right IT service model involves weighing several factors: your company’s size, the complexity of IT needs, in-house expertise, and the scalability required. Each model has its strengths, so your decision should reflect a balance between your immediate needs and long-term business strategy.

Two professionals in an office, having a meeting
Thoroughly assess your company’s needs before picking between staff augmentation and managed IT services.

How to evaluate your current and future IT requirements

Accurately assessing your current and future IT needs is crucial. Do you foresee a need for continuous IT support or just for specific projects? Are your IT requirements likely to evolve rapidly? Answering these questions will help you choose a model that can adapt and scale as your business grows.

Tips for selecting the right service provider

Choosing the right provider is as important as choosing the right service model. Look for IT outsourcing companies with a proven track record, positive client testimonials, and the ability to offer tailored solutions. A good provider should understand your business’s unique needs and be able to propose a service model that aligns with your goals.

Choose the Best Approach for Your Business

IT staff augmentation vs. IT managed services – the right model is out there for your business. Whether it’s the flexibility of staff augmentation or the comprehensive nature of managed services, the decision should align with your business objectives, financial considerations, and future technological trends. Make an informed choice, and set your business up for IT success.


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