Not all the services are the same. It can come in various forms. Based on the examples that I have quoted, you have a service like Office 365 where you are given privileges to use the software, and then there are services that come into play when you register an issue with the service provider.
When we get into services, we can broadly differentiate them into three categories. This is not comprehensive, there are more, but from ITIL’s perspective, these are the three that matter.
- You go into an electronic store and purchase yourself a new mobile phone. As soon as you pay for it and walk out of the store, the product becomes your responsibility. You would be responsible for its well being and its security. Whatever happens, it happens on your watch. You cannot pin it on the manufacturer unless there are manufacturing issues of course. Of course there are warranties but for a limited period. But talking about the product itself, you are responsible. This is the first variety of a service offering where the responsibility for future use is with the consumer.
- Next one is like a Netflix subscription. You download the app, login and watch movies and shows. While the TV stick, app, internet and the TV itself are a consumer’s responsibility, the TV shows, the CDN networks and the design of the app is the responsibility of Netflix. If something in these areas break, then Netflix need to get on the job. Even though the service is used by a consumer, the service provider’s resources are Netflix’s domain and their responsibility. The service that is offered states that the service provider offers the resources to a consumer to access the resources only until the subscription is active or under an agreed period of time.
- Finally, service actions. These are the issues that are registered with the service provider either when you are facing issues or when you need something else to be added on. The timelines for carrying out the activities are governed by a service level agreement (SLA). Take the example of a purchase on ebay. You didn’t receive the product as per the prescribed timelines. You can initiate a case and within 48 hours, the seller should respond back with the status. The 48 hours comes under the SLA established by ebay as a part of their guarantee to enable buyers to trust the ebay network.
The official definition of a service offering is: A formal description of one or more services, designed to address the needs of a target consumer group. A service offering may include goods, access to resources, and service actions.