Utility and Warranty come handy when characterizing and checking the value of a IT Service as it progresses throughout its lifecycle.
Utility – Functionality offered by a Product or a Service to meet a particular need. Utility is often summarized as “what it does”.
Warranty – A promise or guarantee that a Product or a Service will meet its agreed requirements (“how it is done”).
These two concepts help in the definition of the Service Level Package (the closest concept to this with ITIL v2 would be the obscure Service Specification Sheets), a new ITIL v3 concept used in the Service Design phase in order to specify both Utility and Warranty for a particular Service Package being designed.
This in turn will feed the most important deliverable from Service Design: the Service Design Package, the IT Service’s blueprint during the next two phases (Service Transition and Service Operation), as the new or changed Service is developed, tested, transitioned into live environment, and then maintained day-by-day until it becomes obsolete.
The Customer will most certainly focus more on the Warranty aspects of a IT service after starting using it.
For example, if I go to a hairdresser to get a haircut (the Utility being the haircut service; it could also include shaving or hair dying) I’ll certainly be expecting that:
- It won’t take too long to get my hair cut
- My head suffers no harm
- I have a comfortable chair
- and so on…
All these build up my perception of “how the service is being delivered” – the Warranty.
We may say that (depending on your local habits), the hair washing may serve an Utility purpose (extra functionality besides the haircut) that can have a positive impact in the Warranty of the haircut service (if properly done…).
Likewise, when using a IT Service, the Customer is quite influenced by how well the Service Provider performs regarding, for instance, the agreed Availability, Capacity, Security and Continuity service levels (the Warranty).
And that level of Warranty may just be the distinctive advantage one Service Provider has against the competition (which quite probably is able to provide the very same functionalities… the Utility of a IT Service).