IT Consultants Are in High Demand: Staff Augmentation or Professional Services—How Do I Choose?

Lila Nelms

The market for IT consultants has consistently grown, with no slowdown in sight. It can be a highly rewarding and lucrative career for those in IT. It can be equally beneficial for an organization that needs technology expertise or an extra set of hands, without the full-time expenses.

IT needs span across the board, and it can be confusing whether staff augmentation or professional services is a better fit. The distinction between staff augmentation and professional services can also be unclear. At Connection, we can help you understand the differences, and which solution makes the most sense for you.

What Are the Differences?

IT Staff Augmentation: Staffing consultants are brought in with a specific skillset to fill your current skill gap, assist with a project, or backfill your current team. We provide candidates that fit your technical needs, and you are equally involved in the interview process to ensure a great fit. The variety of roles can range from infrastructure to application development to IT management. Contract IT staff are guided by your daily directions, timelines, tasks, and responsibilities, and are billed by the hour. IT staff consultants will lend their expertise in the specific IT skillset, but they will not necessarily provide direction to your IT division. IT Staff consultants work as an extension of your existing team to help you achieve your overall goal. There are no deliverables associated with a staff augmentation placement. IT staffing consultants are typically assigned for a 1-6 month duration, based on 40+ hours per week. If identified up front, staff augmentation consultants can also be hired on a contract-to-hire basis. Connection has a very successful contract-to-hire program, where you can hire consultants after 90 working days, with no additional fees!

Professional Services: Professional service engineers are full-time, resident, partner employees. They may have several, simultaneous, committed projects, and be dedicated to a full-time solution for a committed period of time. Professional service engineers offer strategic consultation, and work hand in hand with your organization to provide consultative services. Think of them as an extension of your team! Professional service engineers can guide, advise, assess, design, implement, and train, depending on your project parameters. They tend to work on high-end, complex projects that require very specific IT expertise and knowledge. Professional services consultants help with work that is typically written up as a price per scope, with a set of deliverables to match. Professional service consultants are not available to hire (i.e., contract-to-hire). They work with you to assess your objectives and identify new areas of opportunity, recommending technologies and solutions and services to give your company a competitive edge. Professional service engineers provide a true, full-cycle consultative approach.

It’s advantageous to work with a partner who offers both IT staff augmentation and professional services. Many IT initiatives need a combination of professional services to prepare the overall scope, recommendations, and outline, as well as IT staff augmentation to supplement the day-to-day tasks associated with a project.

At Connection, we provide all the IT staffing services your organization needs. Our professional services range from Data Center and Security to Networking and Mobility to Cloud, and more. We also provide IT staff augmentation for your day-to-day tasks, including Help Desk, Desktop Support, Network Administrators and Engineers, Project Managers, Developers, and other IT skillsets.

Lila is Vice President of Staffing Services for Connection with over 24 years of experience in consulting, staffing, hiring, and human resources. She is part of the National Staffing & Recruiting Industry Association (NSRIA), as well as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Her hobbies include boating, interior decorating, and working with children and teaching.