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What is a Service?

IT Service (definition): A means of delivering added value to customers by making it easier for customers or helping them to achieve their desired results without them having to personally bear the responsibility for specific costs and risks.

Erbringung Mehrwert

This definition says it in a nutshell: The customer wants to and should concentrate on his business and should not have to care about the details of service delivery. He wants to be able to rely on the service provider and is ready to pay an appropriate price for that. It’s up to the service provider to deal with the risks and costs of service creation and delivery. A service is not just a product. In the past IT was defined by products like hardware, software, PCs etc. Due to a higher dependency of the business on IT this view is not sufficient anymore. The business desires a partner who takes care of these products and offers a functioning IT as a service. The main differences between products and services can be described as follows:

  • Services are not tangible: A service is not physically tangible and therefore cannot be delivered like a product.
  • Services are produced and consumed at the same time: The service is delivered at the time of the request. If e.g. a user calls the service desk to report an incident, the way of handling this incident report is the service.
  • Services are inconsistent: Services are delivered by machines and people. People are not machines and deliver a service according to their current mood and their capabilities. This can lead to fluctuations in the service delivery. However, this doesn’t mean that systems cannot fail.
  • The user participates in the production of services: It is frequently impossible for a service to be utilized without a specific action by a user triggering the service delivery. The customer has a significant influence on the quality of the service demanded.

Satisfaction is subjective: The service usage is influenced by the user. The quality can only be measured after being used and not before.

People, processes and technologies work together when delivering a service. The value of a service is experienced by the customer himself through a sustained support of the business activities.

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