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Systems-products and enabling system services

The target system used to be often thought of as a delivered product, a physical object**.** Such a system is manufactured by the project team usually from the raw materials purchased by this team, and then physically delivered to its end consumer for use. And it is at the consumer's end that this product performs its role/function, acting as part of a supra system in operation. The system consumer/client/owner uses this product in two ways:

  • within their target system (for example, your watch-product is installed in your car-product, and then the car is sold to the customer, and the watch shows the time during the operation of the car)
  • within their customer product creation system (for example, your watch-product is installed in their workshop on the wall so workers can keep track of time during the assembly of the customer's car—then the customer sells the car without the watch or with some other, not your watch. Your watches end up being used within the workshop).

An alternative option is to consider that the target system-product does not belong to you, but to the client, and remains with the client. The work is carried out not with your raw material, and there is no delivery of the product to the customer. The work is done with the customer's raw material, and the product remains with the customer. You simply change the state of the physical world, which at that moment does not belong to you. Here you will only have work/behavior/changes in someone else's target system. You will only be a creation system here, and your team will provide the client with only external behavior—service (service).[1].

We will not call an enterprise offering a service or equipment performing a task a service. Service—is indeed behavior, work, a service. And the service is provided by a service enterprise, service equipment, server, facility, provider. The constructive object-service performs the service-work. We differentiate these concepts:the server or provider providing the service and the service work carried out by the server or service provider. The system provides a service, changing the external world. The service is provided by the system, it is the process/work of changing the world.

A carpenter drives a nail: driving a nail is a service, the carpenter is the service provider for driving the nail. A hammer drives a nail: the hammer is the server (equipment) driving the nail as a service. Remember that in our discussions about systems in creation chains (if not about project roles played by agents developing their strategies to achieve their goals—the hammer cannot play a labor/project role! The hammer is not an actor, it is not hired!), both living and non-living systems can be servers/service providers/providers/servants. Their action to change something externally is a service.

A service—is the behavior of the creating system in changing the environment at the interface from it to the created system, which will be in the environment of the service provider system. From the perspective of the environment/suprasystem, the same behavior can be a function and may have another name. The behavior—service of driving a nail can turn out to be the function behavior of fastening boards, preparing the fastening for a picture on the wall, removing a scratching nail, etc. A function—is a look at behavior from the perspective of the suprasystem, "why it is needed," role-based. A service—is a view of the system's behavior towards the suprasystem, "I don't know why it is needed, but I change the environment," constructive. A function—is the subsystem behavior in the system as a functional/role object. A service—is the system's behavior towards the suprasystem as a constructive object. It is often about the service of the creation system in changing the target system during creation (for example, the service of a hair salon as behavior towards hair, which after the work of the hair salon as the provider of this service changes in hairstyle).

So do not be surprised when discussing the same subject, the same product, and its same behavior, you will hear two completely different conversations: this is the specificity of interests. The constructive interest pertains to the time of creating something. Functional—is about the time of use. A service—is usually about the behavior of creating something (although at this moment the server/provider is used, but as part of creation systems).


  1. In the literature, there are many different opinions on what a "service" is. Here are just a few works on this topic: https://yadi.sk/d/4hIEcpcn3Ny9iN. The main confusion here is that "service" is used to refer to both the process (action unfolding in time, observable behavior) of providing a service and the system that generates this behavior, i.e., the "server". Sometimes these are functional "services" and sometimes modular ones. Occasionally, "service" is also used to refer to the interface between the "server" and the external world being affected by this "server". In our course, we adhere to the view that a service is the external behavior of a system as a module. ↩︎