Service Strategy introduces an interesting pair of complementar concepts: Resources and Capabilities.
Straight from the book we have:
Resource: A generic term that includes IT Infrastructure, people, money or anything else that might help to deliver an IT Service. Resources are considered to be Assets of an Organization.
Capability: The ability of an organization, person, Process, Application, Configuration Item or IT Service to carry out an Activity. Capabilities are intangible Assets of an Organization.
People are at the same time a Resource (in the sense that people are frequently instrumental in delivering an IT Service) and a Capability (people carry out Activities…).
The productive capacity of a service provider dependes on how Capabilities use (develop, deploy and coordinate) Resources. This added value can be seen as having a positive effect on… the resources and capabilities of the receiving Customer (thus, in turn, increasing his productive capacity to achieve business goals).
Maybe in a bit too simplistic way we can say that capabilites take time to build up whereas resources are relatively easy to acquire (a bit like when we buy goods – if we the money and the resource is available, then we can have it fast).
So, capabilities are generally harder to copy by competition (thus should constitute a positive difference) and help service providers gain advantage on the market space they’re going after.
People are then, from these definitions, the ultimate Asset on every organization. Why? Because they’re flexible, work well with uncertainty and can use all other types of resources and capabilities (more on that on the Appendix B from the Service Strategy ITIL v3 core book).
In a way not that far from what Blue Ocean Strategy advocates, an organization can be successful by creating a set of distinctive, hard-to-replicate capabilities that deliver a customer experience hard to replicate. The challenge is to get the right balance between resources and capabilities, by fulfiling a Customer need with a cost-effective set of connected capabilities and resources to satisfy those needs. An example from Blue Ocean: Cirque du Soleil does it by offering a new kind of show aimed at adults by having the capabilities to provide shows with a story, sophistication, blend of arts and at the same time being more effective on resources by letting go the expensive animals and attractions a traditional Circus offers).
Section 3.2.1 from Service Strategy for a good introduction, Appendix B, Section B.1 also from Service Strategy.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne