Smartphone with black screen displaying text on wooden desktop

You may have heard the terms ‘outsourcing’ and ‘outstaffing’ before, but what are they and what’s the difference? Far too often, these terms get confused, but actually mean completely different things.

To make things more complex, the phrase ‘remote work’ usually finds it’s way into the conversation too. To help eliminate confusion, and to see whether or not you need to outsource of outstaff, this article explains these two concepts in more detail.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the main method businesses adopt when seeking outside support or help for their business. For example, suppose you’re looking for a software developer to create an intuitive app or platform for your business. Outsourcing means finding an individual or team to do this job.

These can both be freelancers or another business. For instance, using the same example, if you were to outsource your software needs, you could outsource to the BSPOKE Software team who would create your software around your business needs.

The important distinction is that outsourcing is choosing one individual or one team, not handpicking multiple people, freelancers, or teams.

Outstaffing

On the other hand, outstaffing is the process of putting a team together yourself. For example, let’s say you’re working on a creative project. You may outstaff by hiring a freelance content writer, filmmaker, editor, and sound expert.

There are both benefits and downsides to outsourcing and outstaffing, but your choice is entirely dependant on your situation and professional requirements for a project.

What you may not know is that sometimes companies, including software developers, outsource some of their work too. For example, although you may outsource a project, the company you outsource to may also outsource or outstaff some of this work. This is done usually to add further expertise, reduce time, and increase the efficiency of the project.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

Outsourcing and outstaffing share some of the same benefits. However, the distinct benefits of outsourcing include:

  • requires less effort
  • allows you to free up time for other projects

Firstly, when you outsource an entire project or piece of work, there is less effort on your part. For instance, when you outsource software development, you only really need to input the initial requirements to create a brief. After this, your time is free to focus on other projects.

Essentially, the main benefit of outsourcing is to set aside a project to a different team or individual to free up more time for you to run your business.

What about the downsides?

Just because outsourcing has benefits, doesn’t mean it gets off easier – there are a few downsides  which include:

  • being expensive than outstaffing
  • mediocre results if you choose a bad freelancer or team

When outsourcing, this can be more expensive than handpicking a team of individuals with expertise. This is because the team is already assembled and they have greater overhead costs. However, although you may end up paying more, this does increase the efficiency of the project, you’ll be bothered less and not required to run the team yourself.

Moreover, if you select a bad team or freelancer to outsource to, the entire project could be in jeopardy. To reduce this risk, always ask for samples of work and a professional opinion on whether or not the expert is confident in their ability to meet your requirements.

What are the benefits of outstaffing?

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of outsourcing, let’s discuss the benefits of outstaffing. Some of these include:

  • handpicking specialist freelancers for their expertise
  • can sometimes be cheaper

Firstly, when you handpick individuals, teams, or freelancers, you can choose those with the most skills in a given niche or industry. Usually, when you select a team, they will have a variety of expertise, but selecting these yourself can sometimes be more cost-effective, and more tailored to your individual project.

What about the downsides?

Downsides of outstaffing include:

  • team members must work effectively together for best results
  • requires more work and other committments

Finally, for outstaffing to be successful, all team members must work effectively together for the best results. This requires expert leadership, time, and communication. Often, this is not something a business has the capacity for and so outsourcing is generally preferred.

That said, if you want to be more involved in a project, whether developing an app or a bespoke piece of software for your business, outstaffing is the way to go, especially if you have some expertise or knowledge of software coding and creation yourself.

Where does remote work fit into this?

Both outsourcing and outstaffing can be done remotely. Thanks to advancements in technology, especially more recently, you can hire a team or freelancer from anywhere in the world. This provides you with access to greater expertise and a wider talent pool – there’s never been a better time than now to outsource or outstaff your next project.

Increased focus on what matters

There are benefits and downsides to both outsourcing and outstaffing. However, most businesses and organisations prefer outsourcing an entire project. This frees up more time and unloads stress, allowing a business and its team to focus on jobs more important or essential to them.

If you are in the market for outsourcing custom software creation, be sure to contact the BSPOKE Software team. We have created various applications and software for a variety of businesses, some of which you can view by clicking here.