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7 Types of Outsourcing Models: How to Choose?

Table of Contents
Types of Outsourcing Models

You’re likely familiar with outsourcing as a business strategy, maybe you’ve even implemented it in your company. Essentially, outsourcing involves tapping into external resources. To put it simply, it’s the practice of assigning various tasks, functions, projects, and processes to an external organization.

If you’re keen to explore more about this subject, including the different models of outsourcing, and the potential advantages it could offer your business, continue reading for an introductory overview of these topics.

1. Onshore Outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing is when you partner with a company within your country for services. It’s like having a skilled team in your backyard, ready to collaborate closely with your in-house staff.


  • Sharing the same language and cultural nuances facilitates smoother interactions and understanding.
  • Working in the same time zone simplifies scheduling and enables real-time collaboration.
  • Familiarity with local laws and regulations reduces complexities related to compliance and legalities.


  • Due to higher labor costs in developed countries, onshore outsourcing tends to be more expensive.
  • Compared to the global market, the available talent pool may be smaller.

Onshore outsourcing is ideal when

  • For projects requiring frequent, real-time interaction and collaboration.
  • Essential for projects needing adherence to specific local legal and regulatory standards.
  • When dealing with sensitive or confidential information that requires strict data protection adherence.

Onshore outsourcing fosters strong partnerships, leading to successful project outcomes. It’s about weighing the need for close collaboration against the higher costs, a decision that varies based on the project’s specific requirements and goals.

2. Nearshore Outsourcing

Nearshore outsourcing is when you partner with companies in neighboring or nearby countries, often within the same or similar time zones. It’s like extending your team across the street, where they’re close enough for comfort but still bring a touch of diversity.


  • Similar cultures and time zones facilitate smoother collaboration and communication.
  • Offers a balance between cost and quality, providing a more affordable option than onshore with reasonable talent quality.
  • Geographical proximity allows for easier travel and more direct communication, enhancing team coordination.


  • More affordable than onshore but generally costlier than offshore options.
  • Broader than onshore but not as vast as offshore, offering a middle ground in terms of talent variety.
  • Despite proximity, there can still be cultural differences, though typically less pronounced than offshore.

Nearshore outsourcing is effective when

  • Ideal for seeking cost savings while maintaining geographical and time zone proximity.
  • Projects benefit from cultural similarities and easier communication.
  • When regular, real-time collaboration is important but at a lower cost than onshore.

Nearshore outsourcing offers a sweet spot for many businesses, blending proximity, cost savings, and cultural alignment. It’s about choosing the right partner and leveraging the geographical and cultural closeness to your advantage.

3. Offshore Outsourcing

Offshore outsourcing is when you delegate work to a company or team based in a far-off country, often across oceans. It’s different from onshore and nearshore models primarily due to the geographical distance and significant time zone differences.

Offshore Outsourcing


  • Lower labor costs in countries like Vietnam or India lead to substantial cost reductions.
  • Open up access to a wide range of skills and expertise from professionals around the world.
  • Provides the ability to easily scale operations and adapt to business needs without local employment constraints.


  • Differences in language and culture can lead to misunderstandings and communication challenges.
  • Coordinating across multiple time zones can be challenging and may cause delays.
  • Maintaining consistent quality can be more challenging with remote teams, especially if there are language barriers.

Offshore outsourcing is most suitable when

  • Best suited for situations where significant budget constraints necessitate lower labor costs.
  • Need for specialized skills not available locally.
  • 24/7 operations, projects benefit from round-the-clock work due to time zone differences.
  • Suitable for extensive projects where close collaboration is less critical.

Offshore outsourcing opens up a world of opportunities for businesses to scale and innovate. It’s about striking the right balance between cost savings and maintaining quality, a challenge that, when navigated well, can lead to substantial rewards.

Read more: Onshore vs Nearshore vs Offshore Outsourcing

4. Hybrid Outsourcing

Hybrid outsourcing blends elements of onshore, nearshore, and offshore models. It’s like creating a custom recipe that perfectly suits your business’s unique taste. This model allows companies to strategically distribute their tasks across different regions, optimizing for cost, quality, and efficiency.


  • Combines different outsourcing models to balance cost-effectiveness with quality, offering a tailored approach.
  • Allows for solutions that are closely aligned with specific project requirements and business goals.
  • Diversifying outsourcing locations helps spread and mitigate risks associated with single-model dependency.


  • Managing multiple teams across different models requires robust coordination and can be challenging.
  • Diverse teams bring varied cultural and communication dynamics, which can complicate collaboration.
  • While potentially cost-effective, it can lead to higher management costs due to handling multiple relationships and contracts.

Hybrid outsourcing is ideal when

  • Need for a tailored approach combining various outsourcing models.
  • Perfect when you’re looking for the right mix of cost-effectiveness and quality control.
  • Wanting to spread operational risks across different outsourcing models.
  • Projects that benefit from both local and global talent for different aspects.

Hybrid outsourcing as a strategic approach that, when executed well, offers a tailored solution to complex business needs. It’s about striking the right balance and effectively managing the diverse elements to harness the full potential of this model.

5. Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is like calling in reinforcements for your project. It involves bringing in external professionals to supplement your in-house team for a period. These professionals are typically hired to fill specific skill gaps or to boost your team’s capacity during peak periods. They work under your management, seamlessly integrating with your existing team.

Staff Augmentation


  • Quickly scale your team up or down based on project needs, offering adaptable workforce solutions.
  • Provides access to a wide range of specialized skills and expertise not available in-house.
  • More economical than hiring full-time employees for short-term needs, avoiding long-term financial commitments.
  • Augmented staff can integrate into your existing team, maintaining workflow without extensive onboarding.


  • Additional managerial workload required for coordinating and communicating with augmented staff.
  • Potential risk of augmented staff not being fully aligned with your company’s culture and processes.
  • The quality of work can vary depending on the individuals hired, necessitating thorough vetting processes.

Staff augmentation is your go-to strategy when

  • You need specific skills or expertise for a short-term project, but hiring full-time employees doesn’t make sense.
  • Your project demands fluctuate, requiring you to scale your team up or down quickly.
  • You’re looking to control costs without compromising on the quality of work.

Staff augmentation can be a game-changer, especially when you need to swiftly adapt to project demands or bridge skill gaps. It’s about finding the right balance between external expertise and internal team dynamics.

6. Managed Services

Managed services in outsourcing is like entrusting the keys of a specific department of your company to an expert. It’s a comprehensive approach where an external provider manages and delivers services, typically IT, on an ongoing basis. This model is more than just outsourcing tasks; it’s about partnering with a provider who takes full responsibility for certain business operations, offering strategic support, not just technical assistance.


  • Allows businesses to concentrate on core activities by offloading specialized tasks.
  • Provides access to the latest technologies and specialized expertise without significant resource investments.
  • Offers predictable budgeting with fixed monthly fees, often resulting in cost savings over in-house management.
  • Providers often take a proactive approach to maintenance, preventing issues before they escalate.


  • Reliance on external providers can create a dependency, posing challenges if the partnership changes.
  • Handing over control of systems and data can pose security risks, requiring trust and robust security measures.
  • The quality of service can vary, necessitating thorough research to find a reliable provider.
  • Outsourcing operations means relinquishing some control, which might not always align with internal practices.

Managed services are ideal when

  • Ideal for continuous, long-term management of IT infrastructure and operations.
  • When specialized skills or technologies are required but not available in-house.
  • For businesses seeking predictable IT costs with fixed monthly service fees.
  • When a company wants to focus on core business activities without the distraction of managing IT or other specialized services.

7. Project-Based Outsourcing

Project-based outsourcing is like hiring a specialized team for a specific mission. It involves contracting an external organization to handle a particular project from start to finish. The scope typically includes a clear set of objectives, deliverables, timelines, and a fixed budget. This model is distinct from other types of outsourcing because it’s focused on a single project, rather than ongoing tasks or services.


  • The project’s scope and goals are well-defined, making it easier to manage and execute.
  • Often more budget-friendly than hiring full-time staff, especially for short-term or specialized projects.
  • Provides access to a wide range of skills and expertise tailored to the project’s specific needs.


  • You might have less control over the project execution compared to in-house development.
  • Your project timelines might be affected by the outsourcing partner’s availability and schedule.
  • The quality of output can vary, depending on the vendor’s expertise and understanding of your project requirements.

When to Use Project-Based Outsourcing

  • Ideal for projects that require specialized skills not available in-house and have a defined beginning and end.
  • When your current team is stretched thin or lacks the necessary skills for a specific project.
  • Useful for pilot projects or when exploring new technologies without committing long-term resources.

Project-based outsourcing has proven to be a strategic tool for handling specialized, time-bound projects efficiently. It’s about choosing the right partner and clearly defining the project scope to ensure success.


Once you’ve thoroughly understood your project’s requirements, cost structures, and work scope, you’ll be in a stronger position to determine the most suitable IT outsourcing model for your needs. Finding a dependable IT outsourcing team, such as EZtek in Vietnam, who are committed to your project and can offer guidance from inception to completion, is straightforward.

Keep in mind that partnering with the appropriate team for outsourcing can protect your business from expensive errors.

Are you prepared to reap significant benefits for your business? Let’s start a conversation!


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