Service provider

A service provider (SP) provides organizations with consulting, legal, real estate, communications, storage, processing. Although a service provider can be an organizational sub-unit, it is usually a third party or outsourced supplier, including telecommunications service providers (TSPs), application service providers (ASPs), storage service providers (SSPs), and internet service providers (ISPs). A more traditional term is service bureau (esp. 1960s to 1980s).

IT professionals sometimes differentiate between service providers by categorizing them as type I, II, or III.[1] The three service types are recognized by the IT industry although specifically defined by ITIL and the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996.

  • Type I: internal service provider
  • Type II: shared service provider
  • Type III: external service provider

Type III SPs provide IT services to external customers and subsequently can be referred to as external service providers (ESPs)[2] which range from a full IT organization/service outsource via managed services or MSPs (managed service providers) to limited product feature delivery via ASPs (application service providers).[3]

Types of service providers

See also


  1. Stuart Rance and Ashley Hanna (30 May 2007). "Glossary of Terms, Definitions and Acronyms" (PDF). ITIL - IT Service Management. Office of Government Commerce. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  2. Staff (2011). "External Service Provider (ITILv3)". Knowledge Transfer. Knowledge Transfer. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  3. Barry J. (23 January 2012). "IT Policies - Policy on Use of External Services". The University of Chicago. The University of Chicago. Retrieved 3 June 2012.

Further reading

  • Hall, Mark (7 February 2000). "Service Providers Give Users More IT Options". Computerworld: 40.
  • "Mapping the xSP world". CIO: S8–S10. 15 September 2001.
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