What Does “Augmented” Mean in Business?

What Does “Augmented” Mean in Business?

What Does “Augmented” Mean in Business?Augmentation is a thrilling buzzword, thanks to its implications of advanced technology and superior performance. In business, augmentation can mean many things depending on what is being augmented. Some of the most commonly augmented components of business include:

 

Product Augmentation

Business leaders always want to offer their customers the latest and the greatest products on the market. By adding value to their products, leaders can attract more attention to their brand and generate more significant profits to grow their company and achieve success. One way of adding value is through augmentation — but what does that mean?

The essential definition of an augmented product is a product that has been enhanced with added features or services. Before augmentation, a product might be indistinguishable from others offered by competitors within the marketplace. By adding intangible benefits beyond the product itself, companies can increase the value of their product respective to their competitors, thereby winning greater visibility, which should translate to more conversions, greater loyalty, and other positive outcomes.

 

In general, there are three categories that a product might fall into the core, actual, and augmented.

A core product is not an item; rather, it is the product’s value to the consumer. Understanding the core product will help an organization develop actual products that better meet consumer needs. Core products can also guide organizations to select augmentations that make a meaningful difference in product performance.

An actual product is an item for sale as well as all of its branding, including marketing, design and packaging. For an actual product to succeed, it must deliver on customer needs and expectations — as outlined by the core product.

An augmented product comprises the actual product as well as any additional features and services included by the company. Importantly, augmentations should not change the actual product in any way, and they should have a minimal impact on cost. However, it is vital that augmentations increase the perceived value of the product by consumers — which in turn should allow companies to charge a premium price for the product.

Some businesses use the term “augmented” to indicate that their products are special in some way — but that does not necessarily mean that the products qualify as augmented products in the marketing sense. For example, augmented analytics involves utilizing machine learning models to improve the accuracy of insights gleaned from Big Data. In truth, the analytics tools themselves are different thanks to the integration of machine learning technology. Thus, these are not merely augmented products but new actual products that do more to deliver on the core product that consumers want and need.

 

Staff Augmentation

Self-AUgmentationStaff augmentation is the use of contingent workers, usually on a temporary basis, to fill staffing needs that are currently unmet within an organization’s existing workforce. Few businesses operate with only the staff they have hired in-house. Increasingly, businesses are coming to rely on a variety of types of outside personnel for a variety of reasons. Some studies suggest that two out of three U.S. companies regularly participate in staff augmentation, and as many as 80 percent plan to increase their use of contingent workers in the future.

 

There are three types of staff augmentation: commodity, skill-based, and highly skilled.

Commodity augmentation involves hiring workers to perform basic tasks, like manual labor or basic retail or warehouse work.

Skill-based augmentation involves workers with some specific skill, but the level of the skill is not relevant to the work. For example, hiring outside staff for clerical work, copywriting, data processing and the like would fall under this category of staff augmentation.

Highly-skilled augmentation involves utilizing outside staff with exceedingly advanced training and experiences, such as software engineering, contract law, or social media branding.

Different organizations will experience different pros and cons related to staff augmentation. Some of the most common advantages include cost savings, as an organization does not need to pay contingent workers a full salary for their services. However, staff augmentation should not be the dominant employment model, as organizations will require workers to have contextual knowledge for some key projects.

Augmentation is already popular in these two fields of business strategy, and it could become a major trend across other business operations, as well. Understanding the role of augmentation will help business leaders achieve success as they strive to navigate the shifting markets of the future.