Home Business Software Development Outsourcing Vs. Outstaffing: Is There Any Difference?

Software Development Outsourcing Vs. Outstaffing: Is There Any Difference?

by Marcin Wieclaw
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Software Development Outsourcing Vs. Outstaffing: Is There Any Difference?

In the rapidly evolving tech landscape, businesses continually seek efficient methods to develop software solutions that meet their dynamic needs. This pursuit often leads them to two popular software development services staffing models in the tech industry: Software development outsourcing and outstaffing. While both models offer unique advantages and aim to augment the development capabilities of organizations, they significantly differ in structure, operation, and outcome. This article focuses on demystifying these concepts, highlighting their core differences, and helping decision-makers choose the right model that aligns with their project goals and organizational structure. Whether you are a startup exploring cost-effective development options or a well-established enterprise looking to expand your tech capabilities, understanding the nuances between outsourcing and outstaffing is crucial in the current digital era.

What Is Software Development Outsourcing?

Software outsourcing is a strategic development practice where a company delegates its software development tasks or projects to external experts or agencies rather than utilizing in-house resources. This approach enables organizations to reach a larger pool of talent and expertise that may not be available internally.

The simplest form of IT outsourcing is the staff augmentation model. In this model, an outsourced team collaborates with the company’s internal team to develop software. This model enables a seamless blend of in-house and external resources, promoting flexibility and scalability.

However, software development outsourcing is not limited to staff augmentation. It can also involve contracting out entire projects or specific parts of the software creation process to a third-party service provider. Such providers are typically equipped with a skilled team of developers, testers, and other professionals needed to deliver a complete software solution.

One of the reasons why businesses opt for software development outsourcing is cost reduction. By paying for services as needed, businesses can control costs more effectively than maintaining a full-time, in-house software development team. Moreover, outsourcing can speed up the whole product development process, as time is not spent on hiring every engineer, designer, or other specialist.

Strategic software development outsourcing can also bring many benefits to startups, including access to specialized expertise and faster time-to-market, which is why it is the solution to the problems of tech talent shortage. However, like any strategy, it has its pros and cons and must be approached with a clear understanding of the company’s needs and capabilities.

What Is IT Outstaffing?

Outstaffing is a business model that involves hiring experts from another company to work full-time as part of the client’s team. These professionals are officially employed by the outstaffing agency but perform all their job duties for the client’s company.

In the IT sector, outstaffing often includes hiring a dedicated team of IT professionals such as software developers, web developers, software testers, or any other IT specialists. They work on the client’s project under their control and supervision, making this model particularly suitable for long-term projects.

An outstaffing contract means that the hired specialists will perform the stipulated work for the customer while remaining on the provider company’s staff. This model stands in contrast to outsourcing, where a specific part of the duties and tasks are transferred to a third-party contractor.

Outstaffing is also a type of staff augmentation process wherein businesses hire software professionals from IT outsourcing companies to boost their existing workforce. It can be a strategic model of external employment, which could be onshore, nearshore, or offshore.

Differences Between Software Development Outsourcing and Outstaffing

Software development outsourcing and IT outstaffing are two prevalent business models that organizations employ to entrust their software development tasks. These models, while similar in the aspect of delegating tasks to external entities, have distinct differences in terms of control over the project, scope of work, contractual obligations, and cost structure. Here’s a more comprehensive look into their key differences:

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Control Over the Project

In Software Development Outsourcing, the client hands over the reins of an entire project or a specific portion of it to an external service provider. This approach implies that the service provider assumes full responsibility for the project management, including the task of steering the project from its inception to its culmination, resulting in the delivery of the final product. The client entrusts the outsourcing company with the authority to make crucial decisions that drive the project forward.

On the other hand, IT outstaffing presents a different scenario. In this model, the client hires remote professionals who function as an integral part of the client’s team. Despite these professionals being on the payroll of an outstaffing agency, they operate under the direct supervision and control of the client. This means that the client retains complete control over the project management and the workflow process, allowing for a more hands-on approach.

Scope of Work

The scope of work in both models varies significantly. Outsourcing typically involves a clearly defined scope of work. The outsourcing company is accountable for the end-to-end execution of this scope, encompassing all stages of the project lifecycle, including planning, development, testing, and delivery. The client sets the expectations, deliverables, and deadlines at the outset of the project, and the outsourcing company works towards fulfilling them.

Conversely, in the outstaffing model, the staff operates based on the client’s instructions and can be engaged in a diverse range of tasks as per the client’s needs. This model offers more flexibility in terms of the scope of work, as it can evolve and change over time according to the changing requirements of the project.

Contractual Obligations

In outsourcing, the contract is result-oriented. The service provider commits to delivering a specified output within a predetermined timeframe. The contract outlines the expected results, and the outsourcing company is obligated to meet these expectations.

In contrast, outstaffing contracts are resource-oriented. The outstaffing agency provides skilled professionals who dedicate their time and expertise to the client’s projects. The focus here is on the provision of human resources rather than the delivery of a specific output.

Cost Structure

The cost structure in both models also differs. In outsourcing, the client pays for the completion of the project or task. The total cost usually includes all the services provided by the outsourcing company, including project management, quality assurance, and the development process itself.

In outstaffing, the client pays for the hours the outstaffed employees work. The payment is typically a monthly fee based on the agreed rate for the outstaffed professionals. This fee covers the professional’s salary, taxes, and other associated costs.

In conclusion, both software development outsourcing and IT outstaffing offer unique advantages and can be leveraged based on the specific needs, capabilities, and circumstances of the organization. The choice between the two models boils down to the level of control the company wants to retain, the nature and scope of the project, contractual preferences, and budget considerations.


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