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Managed Services vs. Staff Augmentation: What’s The Difference?

Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services

Managed services vs. staff augmentation are both strategies to enhance your workforce, but they differ in execution. Managed services involve outsourcing entire business processes to a third-party provider. In contrast, staff augmentation supplements your existing team with additional professionals. However, this is a very simple distinction.

Staff augmentation is similar to managed services in the sense that both models provide outsourced experts, but that’s where the similarities end.” – Andrew Wolff, ComSys

Both options have their unique place in business strategy, and choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and circumstances. While managed services offer a more hands-off approach, allowing you to focus on core business activities, staff augmentation provides flexibility and control.

If you’re choosing between the two, this article will provide a brief overview of the key differences between them. You can use the information here to help you in your decision making process.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a flexible outsourcing model that allows you to hire tech talent globally and manage your augmented team directly. This approach is different from traditional hiring. Think of it like renting the expertise you need when you need it.

The staff augmentation model works by allowing you to select individuals with the precise skill sets required for your current projects. The process typically involves identifying the skill gaps of your in-house team, then partnering with a staff augmentation provider who supplies professionals with the desired expertise.

What Are Managed Services?

Managed services refer to the practice of outsourcing certain business operations and processes to a third-party provider. IT is the most common area that uses this model. Almost 88% of SMEs use a managed services company for IT.

The managed services model works by establishing a partnership with a provider who takes over the management of specific business functions. You typically pay a recurring fee, often monthly or annually, which can be tailored to your business’s specific needs.

Staff Augmentation: Pros & Cons


Access to Specialized Skills

One significant advantage of staff augmentation is the ability to access specialized skills that might not exist within your current team. This method allows you to bring in experts for short-term projects without the long-term commitment of a full-time employee. 


Staff augmentation can be more cost-effective compared to hiring full-time employees. You avoid expenses related to permanent hiring, such as benefits, training, and long-term salaries. However, frequent rehiring of augmented staff members can incur high long-term costs. 

Complete Control

With staff augmentation, you maintain complete control over your projects. The augmented staff integrates into your existing team, allowing you to manage the project directly.


Management Challenges

Integrating external professionals into your existing team can pose management challenges. There can be issues with team cohesion and communication, especially if an augmented team member is working remotely.

Dependency Risks

Relying on external talent can lead to dependency risks. If your project heavily relies on skills that only the augmented staff possess, there might be challenges in sustaining the project once their contract ends. 

Potential Impact on Company Culture

Bringing in external professionals can sometimes impact your company culture. The temporary nature of staff augmentation means these individuals may not fully integrate into your company’s ethos, which can affect team dynamics.

Learn More About What an MSP Can Do

Managed IT Services: Pros & Cons


Proactive Support & Risk Management

Managed IT services typically include proactive monitoring and maintenance. This approach helps in identifying and addressing issues before they become major problems. Most providers will also help you improve your overall security posture with additional tools and practices. 

Enhanced Technology

These providers are focused solely on IT and ensure that your business benefits from the most current tech solutions and industry knowledge. This access keeps your company competitive and up-to-date with technological advancements.


Managed IT services offer scalability, allowing your IT infrastructure to grow or change according to your business needs. This flexibility is crucial for adapting to market changes, business growth, or evolving technology without the need for significant restructuring.


Less Control

With managed IT services, you relinquish a degree of control over your IT operations. The service provider makes decisions about your IT infrastructure and how certain services are managed.

Generic Solutions

Some managed IT providers may offer more generic solutions that do not fully address the unique aspects of your business. These one-size-fits-all solutions might miss specific requirements or nuances that a dedicated in-house team would typically catch. Although, you can avoid this challenge by vetting partners with dedicated consulting services

Potential for Overdependence

Over time, your business might become overly dependent on your managed IT service provider. This dependence can limit your internal team’s development and understanding of your own IT infrastructure.

When Should You Choose Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services?

Choosing between staff augmentation and managed services depends on your specific business needs and the nature of your IT challenges. Staff augmentation is ideal when you need specialized skills for a short-term project or to fill a temporary gap in your team. Managed services are better suited for long-term, ongoing IT management and operations.

Here’s a table outlining specific situations where you may choose either staff augmentation or managed services.

Use CaseStaff AugmentationManaged Services
Short-Term Projects or Deadlines✔️
Direct Oversight and Project Management✔️
Variable Workloads✔️
Long-Term, Consistent IT Support ✔️
Comprehensive IT Strategy Planning✔️
Regular Updates and Maintenance of IT Systems✔️
Access to Broad IT Resources and Expertise✔️
Reduced Internal IT Management Burden✔️

Think Managed Services Are The Right Fit For You?

Staff augmentation is great for a temporary solution, but you should opt for managed services if you predict that you will continue to need the extra help in the long run. In this case, it’s also a more cost-effective solution as your service fee won’t change with service needs.

If you’re looking for a good provider in Florida, ComSys can help. We offer managed IT services and a 24/7 IT helpdesk to ensure that you will always have the support you need. ComSys also provides a range of services, so you won’t have to worry about juggling vendors. 

Reach out to us today to get started.

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