IT Services Are Distinct From IT Goods
Clearing some underbrush... It is generally accepted that Products subtype into Goods and Services. This distinction appears very frequently in the management literature.
Another distinction that is often made is that IT Services are distinct from the technology components that make them up.
However, I have never seen this formulation:
"IT services are distinct from IT goods."
The concept of "goods" could and should, in theory, be applied to all those tangible, imperishable, storable things we build and buy in our quest to deliver IT services. IT "goods" would be:
- Computing devices
- Commercial off the shelf software (independent of its runtime aspects, e.g. an Oracle CD sitting on the shelf)
- In house developed software, again without regard to runtime, e.g. source & object code checked into a definite software library
The trouble is, I never hear the term "IT goods," and more typically I hear the distinction "IT services are distinct from IT products." This is even baked into some CMDB metamodels I know. Of course, if one understands subtyping, it's nonsensical or at best misleading to say that "services are distinct from products" - kind of like saying, "Collies are distinct from Dogs."
Dave McComb's thoughtful Gist ontology sees Services and Products as subtypes of Offering, so I guess I'm not the only one wrestling with this.
I'm not sure we're going to unwind this one any time soon. But I have to constantly remind myself that what I often hear called technology products are actually technology goods, and IT services actually are products, as far as the management literature is concerned. Comments
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About the Author:
Charles Betz is a Senior Enterprise Architect, and chief architect for IT
Service Management strategy for a US-based Fortune 50 enterprise. He is author of the forthcoming Architecture and Patterns for IT Service
Management, Resource Planning, and Governance: Making Shoes for the Cobbler's Children (Morgan Kaufman/Elsevier, 2006, ISBN 0123705932). He is the sole author of the popular www.erp4it.com weblog.
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