Global developer staff augmentation is polarizing. The way talent is sourced for Open Source software (OSS) project development has changed. It’s no secret that companies discovered the benefits of a blended model exceed far beyond price point comparisons. Blended services, or onshore and offshore team augmentation, can make up the middle ground between a complete insource and a total outsource.
Global Developer Staff Augmentation Is Viable
What keeps these clients loyal to this model isn’t perceived value alone. Decision makers pursuing this balanced solution are getting higher levels of quality output, better economies of scale, and control that doesn’t cost the same as would’ve otherwise.
Developer staff augmentation is a real choice that should be seriously considered. Here’s why.
1. Turnaround Time & Production
Continuous output—well after the close of business—for a few weeks could be enough to turn entire projects around. Don’t conceive it as an employee working 16 hours a day; that’s unethical for one (unsustainable for two) and the quality of the last 8 hours of work: terrible.
What you’re looking at here is a blended offshore model that harnesses the benefits of time zone separation. Fresh 9 to 5’s—back to back—Monday through Friday. What if this were possible long term? It’s not just the idea, it’s what many of your competitors could be doing to pull ahead. Even if the work isn’t full-time, the turnover can make up a significant difference.
2. Maintaining Control
By offshoring projects completely, organizations aren’t able to maintain the same amount of control. Developer staff augmentation instills security over uncertainty by allowing oversight. One of the perceived risks of outsourcing is the loss of visibility. Integrated, blended teams cast this aside. This isn’t a matter of transparency, this is about cooperation. Blended teams work together to accomplish goals. It’s one of the things that makes developer staff augmentation unique.
3. 24 Hour Support
Things happen, and some things happen when you’re not there. A USA Today survey of 200 data center managers found that over 80% of these managers reported that their downtime costs exceeded $50,000 per hour. For over 25%, downtime cost exceeded $500,000 per hour. While these costs may seem too high to apply, it’s worth considering the costs that apply to a site, product, or project going under while the staff is away. With a blended onshore and offshore team, this risk is mitigated.
4. Extending Reach
It may not be long before having a global reach is just as import as having a global ready CMS.
As economic globalization increases everywhere, it may leave isolated business models nowhere special. Dynamic, smart growth eventually leads to considering overseas solutions, maybe not in full but in part.
Today extending an organization across borders can also be a safe move. Economic instability stateside can translate into talent sourcing challenges. Whereas some view offshore options, even blended options, as dangerous; it’s worth asking why after the recession that so many US companies have turned toward outsourcing (some blended, some not) for a more stable future.
5. Lower Communication Barriers
With more globalized engagement creating opportunities for professional development, English proficiency is rising overseas. According to the 2014 English Proficiency Index (EPI) countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) have higher EF EPI scores than ever: India, in particular, has made significant progress.
The failing but chief argument of proponents against any globalized business model is being thwarted by advancements in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the side effects of the globalized workplace. Timid authors listing “communication” gaps as the chief reason for project failure aren’t wrong; these articles are spot on. This the same with any project be it on or offshore.
Even outsourcing execs acknowledge communication as a chief concern. Communication is key in any project. The fact is it’s just easier to do it more efficiently now with international augmentees.
Not all projects require a full team of global developers. Scalability is what blended teams allow for. Having the ability to ramp up talent for ongoing projects means flexibility. The annual amount of capital lost in the hours—days—wasted on necessary labor costs would be staggering. This scalability is about having control over resources.
7. Balancing Costs: Resourceful, Competitive
When offshore options are put on the table, it’s assumed that the motive is cost. There’s an aura of “cheap labor” surrounding the word, but that’s slowly changing. The global market is becoming more competitive, and distributed agencies are hungry for opportunities to prove their worth and showcase their thought leadership.
As rising stars in India’s tech industry fix themselves above the competition, offshoring is becoming less about a cheap workforce and more about an able one. What we’re looking at here are capable teams not “good enough” stand-ins with rudimentary skills.
So why does it cost less? The expense of hiring onshore freelancers or bringing on another full-time or part-time employee may be manageable but not as strategic. Scaleable offshore teams mean adjustable skills and competitive costs on a per project and need basis.
8. International Opportunities: Conferences, Travel
Maybe this one seems more like a perk, but if professional and personal development opportunities are perks then these are the best kind. Those who have been in the industry long enough will tell you that working in places like Boston, NYC, or California isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Not unless you have the opportunity to travel outside of the city for business. You make global friends, not just contacts, that last a lifetime.
9. Internal Expansion
Global developer staff augmentation isn't offshoring. There are misconceptions about blending offshore and onshore teams. Bringing talent onboard is very different from sending projects overseas. It could be described as being closer to insourcing: growing teams internally to maintain control and visibility.
While projects can be handed over to be dealt with by an external agency, for many organizations it makes more sense to expand as needed. So rather than shrinking, a business’ onshore, internal team blends with a distributed one.
10. Fresh Perspectives & Applications
Globalization has changed and accelerated the tech industry. There are new perspectives and practices, innovations, which emerge from global locations that shouldn't be missed.
Systems like Kanban, technology like Drupal—these are global ideas which have in turn become practical implementations my fellow team members use daily. The basic point is this: there's a whole world out there. Localized solutions are limited and will always be when it comes to development.
Global developer staff augmentation brings an agency closer to its global consumers. Strategically, this talent sourcing can provide the right offerings to a target marketplace, ensuring fast turnaround, and accessible points of contact.
Developers in relevant geographies will likely have a better understanding needs, greater access, mutual understanding when it comes to regional preferences and practices. Essentially, this approach can ensure a more effective implementation of a tech product or service.
12. The Global Delivery Model
With new tools for the distributed office and remote work benefits—not only for employees, for businesses—service delivery is evolving. This evolution has been happening in tech for years. In the beginning, it was shakey and heavily criticized. But since its beginnings it's been optimized and if you haven't collaborated with telecommuting developers recently, you're missing a bigger picture. For developers today, remote working just makes sense. Have questions about the global delivery model? Ask us.
13. Access to Exceptional Talent
If hiring managers only had access to local talent pools organizations could never advance. The skills and experience of globally distributed teams can’t be overstated. OSS technologies like Drupal wouldn’t exist without international talent. The diversity of blended teams is what helps make innovation and outside of the box thinking possible. Diverse, global teams like ours are innovative powerhouses.
This article was originally published in December 2015. It has since been updated.
Nathan Roach, Director of Marketing
Germany-based consumer of old world wine and the written word. Offline you can find him spending time with his wife and daughter at festivities in the Rhineland.