Services, Solutions and Products. These terms are very commonly misused. To a large extent it’s a matter of interpretation, and to some extent it’s about misleading marketing jargon.
My definition for the three are as follows
Services are limited to the scope of one time deployment or single customer or client requirement based applications. These are applications which are very specific to the needs of an individual customer. They do not factor-in industry best practices or processes, and to a large extent driven by customer inputs.
Solutions are more generic than services, in that they are about 50%-70% pre-built application, and the rest is customer specific requirements. These are applications which have a set of standard modules that address a key part of the customer needs in a particular domain. Solutions are half way to a product, as some modules would meet requirements of-the-shelf and the rest would be customer specific development. Typical the ready modules are built to be standards compliant.
Products are applications which are ready to use. These are nearly 90% ready modules and in some domains could be 100% ready with just a few minor configurations for roll out. Products require the application to be compliant with industry standards. Most customisation would be done with configuration and additional customisation would also be structured as extensions to prevent the core product being tampered with.
In terms of costing for a customer, they would see products being available at much lower costs than solutions or services. Services being the most expensive.
At the same time, services are highly customised to the need of an organization and rewrite minimal change in organisation for adoption.