Staff Augmentation and Outsourced Training: Do You Need It?

People working at tables

The goal of any company is to reduce costs and increase profit, especially when it comes to online and IT projects. When an IT undertaking is a transitional effort, it makes sense to consider staff augmentation and outsourcing.

Consider the marketing efforts of one worldwide corporation. Until recently, each brand and global region built and hosted its own websites independently, often without a unified coding and branding standard. The result was a disparate collection of high maintenance, costly brand websites. 


A Thousand Sites: One Goal

The organization has created nearly a thousand sites in total, but those sites were not developed at the same time or with the same goals. That’s a pain point. To solve this problem, the company decided to standardize all of its websites onto a single reference architecture, built on Drupal. 

The objective of the new proprietary platform includes universal standards, a single platform that can accommodate regional feature sets, automated testing, and sufficient features that work for 95% of use cases for the company’s websites globally.

While building a custom platform is a great step forward, it must then be implemented, and staff needs to be brought up to speed. To train staff on technical skills and platforms, often the best solution is to outsource the training to experts who step in, take over training, and propel the effort forward quickly.

As part of an embedded team, an outsourced trainer is an adjunct team member, attending all of the scrum meetings, with a hand in the future development of the training materials.
 

Train Diverse Audiences

A company may invest a lot of money into developing custom features, and trainers become a voice for the company, showing people how easy it is to implement, how much it is going to help, and how to achieve complex tasks such as activation processes. The goal is to get people to adopt the features and platform. Classroom style training allows for exercises on live sites and familiarity with specific features. 
 

The Training Workflow

Trainers work closely with the business or feature owner to build a curriculum. It’s important to determine the business needs that inspired the change or addition. 

Starting with an initial outline, trainers and owners work together. Following feedback, more information gets added to flesh it out. This first phase can take four to five sessions to get the training exactly right for the business owner. For features that follow, the process becomes streamlined. It's more intuitive because the trainer has gotten through all the steps and heard the pain points, but it’s important to always consult the product owner. Once there is a plan, the trainers rehearse the curriculum to see what works, what doesn’t work, what’s too long, and where they need to cut things.
 

Training Now & Future

Training sessions may be onsite or remote. It is up to the business to decide if attendance is mandatory. Some staffers may wish to attend just to keep up with where the business is going.

Sessions are usually two hours with a lot of time for Q&A. With trainings that are hands-on, it’s important to factor in time for technical difficulties and different levels of digital competence. 

Remote trainings resemble webinars. Trainers also create videos to enable on demand trainings. They may be as simple as screencasts with a voiceover, but others have a little more work involved. Some include animations to demo tasks in a friendlier way before introducing a more static backend form. It is the job of the trainer to tease out what’s relevant to a wide net of audiences. 

The training becomes its own product that can live on. The recorded sessions are valuable to onboard and train up future employees. Trainers add more value to existing products and satisfy management goals.

Leslie Salazar
Leslie Salazar

Technical Documentation & Training Specialist

Prior to joining Zivtech, Leslie worked as a Tutor for college students in the subjects of Objected Oriented Program principles and Data Structures & algorithms, primarily using Java and C++. She has also worked doing technical support, graphic design and as an e-commerce manager for a biotech hardware company.

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