Introducing “Team as a Service” (TaaS)

Get the basics on the new model that is disrupting consultancy

Photo from Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

In a dynamic and demanding global marketplace, we often witness businesses becoming more agile and market-ready to leverage new revenue strategies. Such endeavors usually involve additional workforce and specialization, with a strong focus on aggressive “time-to-market” deadlines, guiding organizations to look for distinct solutions. One new concept is meeting all the requirements and becoming a game-changer recently: Team as a Service (TaaS).

What is “Team as a Service” (TaaS)?

Like Software as a Service (SaaS), this concept introduces businesses' possibility to plug-in new teams and switch on new capabilities. The main advantage? Having a well-oiled, mature, and an autonomous team specialized in a given business branch. Everything works without the need for additional training, micro-management, or lengthy ramp-up periods. Team setup is prepared to be quite multi-disciplinary to manage requirements' complexity and flexible enough to up & downscale headcount depending on the initiative fluctuation.

This model is becoming relatively powerful in Software Development initiatives due to the large return on investment on leveraging digital transformation to ramp-up business streams.

Main differences between TaaS, in-house, and outsourcing setups

When it’s time to kick off a new initiative, the discussion regarding “how” and “who” arises. Often, we witness organizations debating:

#1: In-house workforce

It seems the quicker solution to apply. You either A) assign existing collaborators to perform the work or B) activate your hiring pipeline to take over main project goals. The issues usually arise when the organization:

  • Doesn’t have the right expertise to leverage the initiative (e.g., non-technical companies ramping-up technical topics)
  • Complete a hiring pipeline taking much longer than expected;
  • Doesn’t have a mature Talent department to spot the right people for the task;
  • Re-assigns existing collaborators to the new initiative, leaving a gap in the previous business line, where the collaborator’s performance was fundamental;
  • Doesn’t accurately assess the endeavor’s length, by hiring additional headcount which, for the long-term, are not needed;

Overall, the client risks spending time & money on fulfilling an internal or external allocation pipeline misaligned with the needs.

#2: Outsourcing workforce

Justice to be made, TaaS is also a form of outsourcing but not following the usual standards. Common these days, several businesses rely on usual outsourcing models by having their centers in distant timezones, understaffed, and with nerve-racking supervision. Also, the before-mentioned model assigns ultra-junior personnel to fit seniors' gap (proficiency wise). Even though labor costs are one less problem (hiring, payroll, training, etc.) the client organization still needs to worry about the volatile setup, leading the business to underperform.

Conclusion: When throwing TaaS into the equation, we get the best of both worlds:

  • The specialized team is externalized, giving the client enough flexibility;
  • Rely on TaaS provider to render the right setup, allowing tailor-made solutions for given market niches;
  • Reduce client structure’s overhead with internal hiring;
  • Maximizes return-on-investment (ROI), by reducing project’s time-to-market and team’s development stages progression;
  • Keep all options opened if scaling is needed;

Client & Team relationship

This may be the greatest value proposition in TaaS: the team works closely with the main stakeholders. When setting up TaaS, the client decides which type of specialists will be part of the team and the engagement rules. TaaS team shall work as an extension for the business context, almost like an in-house team. Especially in Software projects, interactions are valued above all, by putting in contact all key persons who may help to build a better product (sponsors, stakeholders, end-users, SMEs, developers, designers, architects, analysts, etc.), so the TaaS model enables proximity across all individuals rather than silo-ed approaches we witness in the standard outsourcing models.

Final Thoughts

Improved collaboration and business responsiveness are two key factors in today’s world. The TaaS model exemplifies how to achieve a high level of understanding of clients’ business and expected outcomes, which results in tailor-made solutions. The client can externalize costs (and growing pains) and benefit from a mature team, knowledge savvy on what the client needs, without low-level management to ensure outcomes are met.

It is important to mention that a TaaS model provides the workforce, the toolchain, and the processes that come with it. All team members work properly under Agile frameworks, with iterative approaches breathing feedback loops, plus using the appropriate digital tools for project management, issue tracking, and incident management.



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