This paper uses relationships between Vargo and Lusch’s (2004) service-dominant logic (S-D logic) and Alter’s (2008b) of service system fundamentals to explore whether S-D logic provides insight about operational IT service systems. These approaches explicate fundamental ideas at different levels of analysis and for different purposes. S-D logic characterizes intersections between marketing and economics, whereas the service system frameworks and concepts in Alter (2008b) help business and IT professionals understand, analyze, implement, and improve service systems in organizations.

Synergies between these approaches might yield insights at both levels. The service system lens illuminates many areas where S-D logic might apply; it ignores topics related to markets rather than operational systems. Concepts in S-D logic related to customers, services, and economic exchange might enrich the analysis of service systems. The possibilities are tantalizing, but the paper raises questions about why S-D logic is cited so often in relation to operational service systems.