Quick Summary

Staff augmentation and consulting are two popular options for adding resources or expertise to an organization. However, it differs in every business and workflow. This comparison blog – Staff augmentation vs Consulting simplifies the differences, understanding its why and how, its best use cases, and factors to consider while choosing suitable business services.

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Struggling to find the skilled tech talent you need to thrive?

You are not alone! According to a survey, the global tech staffing market is expected to reach a massive $470 billion by 2023, highlighting the high demand for specialized expertise. But simply throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer.

The key lies in a well-thought-out outsourcing strategy. According to a Deloitte survey, 60% of companies use staff augmentation to fill skill gaps, while 72% utilize consulting services to tackle specific business challenges. Both staff augmentation and consulting offer valuable tools for boosting your business, but understanding the key differences, is crucial for maximizing their effectiveness.

This blog sheds light on crucial aspects of staff augmentation vs. consulting. By the end of this blog, you can acquaint yourself with these concepts and determine which one is ideal for your organization.

What and Why Staff Augmentation vs Consulting Services?

Staff augmentation means adding experts or external talent to your existing team. It might also be for a temporary role where an expert is required and could be chosen for short-term goals. Meanwhile, consulting services are for long-term goals. Yet, why compare it? Let’s understand what staff augmentation and consulting are precisely.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation refers to a situation in which an organization hires third-party services to provide temporary help for tasks like system integration or the development of new functionalities. In simple words, it is temporary staff added to your team to achieve a particular project.

Moreover, it includes adding a unique skill set to your team so you can optimize workflow execution and maintain the project with control and flexibility. According to a survey, staff augmentation is a $92.5 billion market expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.05%.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation:

Cost-efficiencyWith the staff augmentation model, you can save thousands of dollars by outsourcing rather than hiring in-house teams.
Scalability and FlexibilityDepending on your workforce needs and project requirements, you can quickly down or scale up talent.
Domain-centric TalentsBy opting for staff augmentation services, you can access a vast pool of talent specialized in their respective domain.
Project VisibilityThe augmented team is well-experienced in managing, completing, and informing the work progress from time to time.

Here are some of the significant aspects of staff augmentation:

  • It is not a typical hiring process; it is merely chosen based on the skill set
  • Despite being temporary workforce, they are dedicated to your project
  • You don’t have to pay extra fees like sick leave, incentives, or medical expenses.
  • An augmented team boosts efficiency by bringing new ideas and approaches to your project.

Also, staff augmentation can be called-

  • IT Staff Augmentation
  • Resource Augmentation
  • Team Augmentation
  • Staff Augmentation
  • Flexible Staffing
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What is Consulting?

Consulting, also known as project-based consulting, is a staffing model in which an organization hires specialized professionals or teams to provide additional support to the project. It is similar to staff augmentation but with a specific niche and specialization. Moreover, sometimes, the consultant could be an individual contractor.

In addition, the consultant is an expert who provides guidance and advice for project enhancement. Unlike staff augmentation, consultants are hired at any project stage and can easily integrate into the required process. According to a report, the global consulting services market size was valued at USD 343.47 billion in 2022 and will expand to reach USD 494.57 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 7.56%.

Benefits of Consulting Services:

Better ProactiveIt assists you in identifying critical challenges and modifying requirements before any problem arises.
Valuable ExpertiseA consultant can provide valuable insights that help you stay ahead of the latest trends and developments.
ObjectivityConsultants have in-depth industry knowledge and specialization to deliver high-end, successful solutions without glitches.
Immediate SupportWith years of experience, a consultant can help fill the right gap with rapid solutions and support that match the requirements.

Most consultancies can provide advice and offers for:

  • Project management
  • Project planning and design
  • Staffing
  • Customer service

IT consulting services include:

  • Project planning
  • Conceptualization
  • Implementation
  • Management
  • Post-launch services
  • Customer service

Key Differences: Staff Augmentation vs Consulting

Staff augmentation professionals indicate who works for you, whereas consulting professionals indicate who works with you. There are many differences between IT staff augmentation and consulting, focusing on different reasons.

1. Cost-effective

Both outsourced hiring processes are cost-effective for different scenarios and purposes. Staff augmentation is hired when an expert professional is needed; it can be cost-effective, as it is cheaper than hiring a full-time employee.

Consulting is cost-efficient because it is flexible and allows you to provide guidance based on the projects. By hiring a consultant, you don’t need an entire team; you only require an external expert. Consulting is more expensive than staff augmentation but more affordable than building an in-house team.

2. Team Resources

In staff augmentation, you can outsource experts who fill the gaps and resources within your team. You can also hire a team of professionals based on a project or a temporary placement that works for your team.

Conversely, consulting provides expert professionals; you don’t need to manage them. Moreover, it offers external expertise without the requirement of integrating them into your team structure. However, a consultant will require time to understand your company’s scope and workflow structure.

3. Flexibility

Staff augmentation is highly flexible because you can add other resources to your team. The consulting team is less flexible because it will require specific experts with particular skill sets regarding the project to be carried out.

Staff augmentation service will be ideal if you are looking for a project with a fluctuating workload. Conversely, projects requiring a particular specialization should choose consulting for their businesses.

4. Engagement Model

Regarding scalability in the business services model, staff augmentation includes hiring individual contractors with specific expertise and temporary talent. To augment or outsource a team, contact them directly or through agencies that help you find your match.

On the other hand, IT consulting services involve an organization or firm that provides a specialist team for your project. Staff augmentation offers fixed-term and open-ended contracts, but consulting is project-based and timely.

5. Focus

Both staff augmentation and consulting have different focuses and purposes in boosting businesses. Augmentation services focus on completing particular and well-defined tasks within the project to improve the existing team’s capabilities.

However, the consulting services highlight the bigger picture by providing strategic guidance and recommending solutions to address specific business challenges. The purpose is to provide long-term solutions that support client goals.

6. Security

Staff augmentation is more secure than consulting as the augmentation process occurs within the company, so you don’t need to share security information with any third parties. Also, all access rights and documents remain safe.

However, dealing with consulting for security can be uncertain because you need to share crucial information with outsourced professionals. For instance, if the external entity is unreliable, security breaches increase. As a result, data security depends on the entity’s authenticity.

7. Communication

When comparing consulting vs staff augmentation, both have different sides in terms of communication. In staff augmentation, communication is accessible as the staff is available and understands your company’s workflow. Conversely, consultants are available at certain times as they work on multiple projects simultaneously.

Moreover, in the augmentation services, you can communicate directly with the temporary employees as the professionals become part of the team. However, in consulting services, you must schedule a time and follow the agile methodology, as the consultant’s attention to the task is limited.

8. Involvement and Responsibility

A significant point of staff augmentation vs consulting differs significantly in the responsibility and involvement of the service providers in the businesses. In the augmentation process, you have complete control over the project because the professionals you hire integrate into the client’s team and operations.

However, consultants have high responsibility as they have the authority to make decisions and operate independently. However, in terms of involvement, consultants participate less than staff professionals.

Factors to Consider While Choosing Staff Augmentation vs Consulting

Here is the breakdown of aspects you must consider while determining whether to opt for staff augmentation or consulting services for your business.

Project Duration

🔶 Staff Augmentation is ideal for ongoing projects or those with flexible timelines. You can rapidly scale the team up or down as required.

🔶 Consulting is best for short-term, well-defined projects with a clear deliverable. Consultants can bring their expertise to focused projects.

Team Dynamics

🔶 Staff Augmentation includes integrating team members, fostering knowledge sharing, and collaborating.

🔶 Consulting involves consultants who work separately and deliver solutions based on their expertise.

Desired Control

🔶 Staff Augmentation lets you control project management and how augmented staff work.

🔶 Consulting enables you to take ownership of project delivery, offering recommendations and leading implementation.

Cost Consideration

🔶 Staff Augmentation can be cost-effective for longer projects, especially compared to benefits for full-time employees.

🔶 Consulting will appear more expensive due to consultant fees, but it can be cost-effective for bringing in particular expertise for a limited time.

Risk Factor

🔶 Staff Augmentation requires more internal effort in onboarding and managing augmented staff.

🔶 Consulting decreases in-house workload but relies heavily on the consultant’s expertise and understanding of your needs.

When to Expand Your Team: Opting for Consulting vs Staff Augmentation?

Do you still need clarification about when to choose staff augmentation or when to choose consulting for your business? Let us simplify it by using cases of staff augmentation vs project-based consulting.

Factors Staff Augmentation Consulting
Training Require little training to understand the company’s working process No need for training as they work individually for the company
Best for Add on the support of expertise within the existing team Specialist with well-defined knowledge for analyzing and solution
Project For the middle phase of a development project New startup or existing project that requires professional competence
Budget Affordable and depends on the professional required You need a larger budget to hire consultants for your business

When to Choose Staff Augmentation: Use Cases

🔶 Project Scaling
When your existing project team requires additional resources to meet deadlines or handle an increased workload during the middle phase of development.

🔶 Skill Gap Filling
When your team needs more specific technical skills for a project, you require expertise in a new programming language or technology.

🔶 Temporary Support
When you need temporary support to cover circumstances like specific skill requirements or short-term skill shortages without recruiting them as full-time employees.

🔶 Cost-effective Expansion
To expand your team affordably, leverage external professionals to minimize overhead costs.

When to Choose Consulting: Use Cases

🔶 Strategic Planning
A consulting company can provide specialized insights and actionable recommendations when your business requires strategic advice or direction for new startups or initiatives.

🔶 Problem-Solving
Consultants can provide innovative solutions and frameworks while facing complex challenges or issues that need in-depth knowledge and expertise.

🔶 Project Management
Consultants can help in smooth transitions and practical guides that drive management strategies that emphasize process improvements.

🔶 Specialized Expertise
Consultants bring focused expertise when seeking specialized knowledge in industries like legal compliance, market research, or digital transformation.

When to Choose Staff Augmentation and Consulting Service Together

  • When your organization requires manpower and specialized expertise for a complex project.
  • Your project needs a combination of hands-on experience and strategic thinking of specific professionals.
  • While your project require an team of resources that provide strategic guidance and expertise to enhance their tasks.


This comparison guide of staff augmentation vs consulting will enlighten you on the core service differences. Considering all the elements mentioned, one thing becomes clear: both strategies suit different businesses. Moreover, there is no clear-cut winner that this is the best business service, but both are equally suitable for the necessitated business. So, the choice between staff augmentation and consulting depends on your company’s needs, infrastructure, and budget. Ultimately, both are crucial and can make all the difference with proper implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Staff augmentation offers greater flexibility and scalability than managed or consulting services while providing cost-effectiveness for short-term requirements. However, companies should determine the most suitable service model based on its pros and cons.

Staff augmentation tackles short-term requirements with particular skill sets like new feature development, while consulting provides strategic advice for complex issues like digital transformation.

Yes, you can. It can be a good strategy if your project has well-defined aspects requiring consultants and ongoing tasks requiring augmented staff to support your existing team.

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