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Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Video Content Management

Published: 29 November 2016 ID: G00298879

Analyst(s):

Summary

Video content management serves a wide range of existing and new use cases, but no single product covers them all. Application leaders that manage video content, portals, e-commerce, collaboration and communications must assess their core needs and weigh the options against current and planned uses.

Overview

Key Findings

  • Enterprise video content management attracts attention from organizations of all sizes. Some are looking to employ it for specific tasks (such as internal executive messaging, research group collaboration or marketing). Others need a general-purpose platform.

  • Cloud-only and hybrid architectures now dominate new sales.

  • Emergent capabilities — such as interactivity, sophisticated search, and built-in editing, augmentation and improvement — have particular value in some use cases.

Recommendations

  • Choose vendors and services for internal use on the basis that a product will serve in its role for a maximum of three years before re-evaluation.

  • Expect video migration efforts to be substantial unless governance is strong throughout project's life cycle and backups are kept on-site.

  • Choose vendors and services for external use on the basis that a product will serve in its role for one year before re-evaluation, as changing the product is not onerous and new vendors emerge frequently. In this case, you should favor a strong bias for consumption-based pricing.

  • Evaluate how broadly you will realistically use the product you select when considering its suitability for your organization's spectrum of use cases.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

Through 2018, organizations that make collaboration managers responsible for video use cases will have 50% more workers using video than organizations that leave responsibility for video fragmented.

By 2018, 75% of workers at large organizations will interact with various kinds of video more than three times daily.

By 2018, 25% of large organizations will have an explicit strategy to make their corporate computing environments similar to a consumer experience.

What You Need to Know

This Critical Capabilities research is a companion document to the "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management."

The enterprise video content management market continues to develop as more specific use cases continue to emerge.

We have identified the following key use cases:

  • Internal executive messaging

  • Internal training

  • Internal collaboration

  • External video for sales

The volume of inquiries we receive on this topic continues to be significant (more than 120 per year). The most-common use cases center on executive messaging and training. We often learn of innovative and previously unheard-of specific uses for video content management, but the perfect product to address all such uses does not exist.

The key areas of differentiation can be fundamental — such as a hybrid delivery architecture (software as a service [SaaS] or the cloud as well as on-premises, possibly using appliances); or innovative — such as video production, interactivity or search.

Tools that vendors have designed to serve internal constituents may be strongest in video delivery, video creation or governance. External capabilities may depend on external delivery optimization. We recommend that organizations weigh all vendors not only against their current planned uses, but also possible future uses. It is likely that a bias toward external or internal use cases will result in the selection of different vendors, in part for technical and in part for organizational reasons (technology needs can differ as well as buying centers).

In addressing external use cases (such as marketing and merchandising) we could not include all the vendors we would have preferred. Ooyala, Limelight Networks, Vidyard, InXpo, Viddler, Brainshark, uStudio, Vimeo and others all deserve consideration for external video provision.

Analysis

Critical Capabilities Use-Case Graphics

Figure 1. Vendors' Product Scores for the Internal Executive Messaging Use Case
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

Figure 2. Vendors' Product Scores for the Internal Training Use Case
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

Figure 3. Vendors' Product Scores for the Internal Collaboration Use Case
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

Figure 4. Vendors' Product Scores for the External Video for Sales Use Case
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

Vendors

Agile Content

Few other vendors have identified Latin America as a potential area for strategic growth (although Agile Content has full-scale operations in North America and Europe as well). Customer references felt that Agile Content was attentive and knowledgeable about their business needs.

The company is developing its product portfolio. Its strongest points are a flexible delivery architecture and noteworthy interfaces for the search and discovery of video, as well as analytical examination of the video its product houses.

Brightcove

Brightcove pursues enterprise opportunities in video content management directly with a digital marketing business unit (it also has a media unit). It targets all geographies with global sales and support and appeared on more shortlists in the reference base than any other vendor. It has invested in a simpler, easier-to-use interface and product set for corporate communications, marketers, retail merchandising and other business users. Its pursuit of internal applications for executive messaging and training is also growing. References cited the vendor's personnel strength as a key benefit.

Genus Technologies

Genus offers an unusually broad spectrum of products for a video content management vendor, including enterprise content management and digital asset management. Its unique portfolio distinguishes it for projects that need those associated facets. Genus also offers particularly close integration with the IBM Connections social software product, which references confirmed to be excellent. References also indicated the vendor's implementation services were particularly valuable.

Haivision

Haivision offers a video delivery platform on-premises, via hybrid or cloud models that can be delivered with appliance support or without. It offers a general enterprise product and other versions that address particular needs in healthcare, education, worship and sports or broadcasting. References indicated they were particularly satisfied with the strength of the vendor's technological offering, including its hardware choices. The vendor is among the few with video content management, IPTV and digital signage products.

Kaltura

Some organizations try Kaltura's product initially because of its free open-source offering. But the company's revenue comes from sales of its commercial enterprise version and its SaaS. Organizations often choose Kaltura to develop customized video applications as the software is modularized and intended to support such efforts. Like several other vendors in video content management, Kaltura pursues media organizations and has significant sales in that vertical (as well as others, including education). Kaltura offers an extremely broad set of capabilities, including delivery to smart TVs and other devices, which accounts for its strength in so many use cases. The vendor scored well in many use cases, thanks to the comprehensiveness of its offering.

Kollective

At the heart of Kollective's offering is efficient network delivery from a cloud foundation. The vendor allows any kind of content to be delivered, commonly via its on-machine client. The software client optimizes delivery by serving as a node that provides delivery to other machines via branches. Kollective focuses on projects where delivery to internal constituents (both off and on the WAN) is the primary goal Kollective was formerly known as Kontiki, a name now borne by its flagship product. It is particularly attractive for executive messaging because it is effective at delivering high-quality video to known endpoints with little network impact. References confirmed the value of the software-assisted delivery model.

KZO Innovations

KZO's marketing still lags behind its competitors, and its products are not well-known in the industry. Its security features are exceptionally strong, and references cite this particular aspect of the product as a reason for selection. References also cite KZO's ease of use, as well as attentive and exceptional customization and integration services. KZO reports that its integration to Salesforce drives significant external delivery usage for marketing. The vendor has a new focus on external video for marketing and merchandising, and it has invested in specialized capabilities for that use case.

MediaPlatform

MediaPlatform's original focus on live streaming makes it stand out for many organizations that select it. Executive messaging is a strong offering, thanks to the vendor's historical effectiveness in delivering webcasting video for streaming corporate addresses. Its network optimization and on- and off-premises quality of service (QoS) monitoring are quite strong. It has introduced new analytics for system analysis of its video delivery performance. References particularly praised the responsiveness of the vendors' support and services team.

Panopto

Panopto has a strong collection of customers in the education sector, largely because of functions that target those areas (such as search, and multicamera capture). It has significantly increased its presence in enterprise video content management. Most of its references cited ease of use as a reason they selected it. Effective video creation and augmentation make it attractive for executive messaging. It has introduced HD streaming, particularly attractive for such applications. References emphasized the ease of use of the product almost unanimously.

Polycom

Polycom has a very attractive and simple pricing structure, and is striving to develop ways to combine the value of its teleconferencing and telepresence strategy with its video content management for existing Polycom clients. This vendor is present in a significant number of prospect shortlists. Most organizations who consider it do so because of an existing relationship.

Qumu

Qumu is a strong candidate for many use cases, especially internal executive communications and training. A major factor in the success of its offering is its depth in functional areas that organizations often cite as priorities. Qumu is exceptional at optimizing delivery on networks, and in providing transparency into performance, and it also offers a particularly rich set of security capabilities. References particularly praised the responsiveness of the vendors' support and services team.

Sonic Foundry

Sonic Foundry was a very early entrant to the market with effective search capabilities and an appliance to which enterprises can attach any camera (the offering does not depend on this appliance). This can be used to easily capture events such as classroom presentations and executive messages. Such messages and internal training are common uses for the company's offerings. It also offers direct support for live video production. Its pricing model allows for very broad creative adoption and viewer volumes in enterprises. This vendor also has a strong workflow for creating and publishing video. References value the longevity of their relationship to the vendor and its customer support team.

IBM (Ustream)

Ustream, which IBM has acquired, is best-known for its service that offers one-to-many streaming for small organizations and larger enterprises. Its initial focus was on external network delivery, and it has strong content delivery network partnerships and quality of service (QoS) monitoring as a result. It is expanding its on-demand offering and internal network optimization. Its investments in innovations — such as search and video interactivity — are also still developing.

VBrick Systems

VBrick's new video content management cloud offering has simplified pricing and a modernized profile. This vendor's references identify key features and capabilities such as network optimization, better business understanding, and other factors as key to their selection decision. It is best-known for delivering real-time video in very large enterprises. It has also developed a full video content management system, and reports that sales of this product now comprise most of its new business. VBrick has a particularly close sales partnership with Cisco. It also offers very strong external delivery and QoS monitoring. VBrick's customer references particularly valued its ease of use, and indicated that the support team was particularly helpful.

Vidizmo

Vidizmo is closely linked to the Microsoft product line. It is also among the few vendors who specialize in using Microsoft Azure for hosting and video delivery, a factor that led to its selection by reference customers. Investments in innovative capabilities such as video interactivity and search make this vendor stand out. It has also introduced a new product package targeting storage and management for video from surveillance and wearable cameras. References particularly value what they described as a positive support and services team.

Context

Enterprise video content management is used in a large variety of use cases in organizations, and this document considers four of these — three internal, and one external:

  • Internal executive messaging

  • Internal training

  • Internal collaboration

  • External video for sales

Organizations will, of course, want to know which product is "best" for their situation, but the first decision to make is how the product will be used. We recommend that organizations identify the heart of their main application, and then look across the organization to see which adjacent divisions, or even departments, have pending projects that will include video content management. This research will help them make a shorter list. They should also conduct inquiries with Gartner to refine their choices further (inquiries also allow users to discover nuances about these vendors and unlisted ones). We find that some factors that are neutral to some use cases are nevertheless very important to the organizations making their decisions. Examples include geographical presence, financial viability, or the quality of service or future vision that vendors demonstrate.

We also recommend using this document in conjunction with the "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management," which examines these same vendors from a more general perspective.

Product/Service Class Definition

Enterprise video content management products (or packages of products) must be able to address network traffic optimization for external or internal users, as well as workflows to address the use cases at which the products are targeted. Content management functions that users intend to address governance challenges are also critical. These include the approval or life cycle management of specific video content objects.

Critical Capabilities Definition

External Delivery Optimization

Organizations must deliver video outside their own networks to viewers who are off-site and to customers, partners and constituents.

Vendors that offer the most flexibility for such capabilities to match the needs of diverse IT and business strategies score the best here.

Delivery Model — Cloud/SaaS

Offering delivery via SaaS, possibly including cloud services, is attractive for organizations that want to minimize their investment in resources and deliver to external constituents.

The most basic capability in this category, receiving the lowest score, accrues when vendors do not offer off-premises capabilities except via partners. The most effective delivery includes offering enterprise video content management via one or more cloud services as well as through a native SaaS version.

Delivery Model — Hybrid

Some organizations prefer video files and application logic to be divisible. In many cases, they want the ability to maintain some videos on-premises and place others in the cloud. They might also want to take advantage of the ability to use application logic in the cloud, or divide that as well.

The most flexible offerings allow for files to be stored on-premises or in the cloud. They also allow the application to stay on-premises, or reside in the cloud, or to be distributed in both places.

Capturing Video From Collaboration

Many organizations need to capture video from collaborative activities, such as streaming, web conferencing, videoconferencing, and real-world events.

At its most basic, a vendor might allow files generated in other systems to be ingested once they have been transcoded into a usable format. More-sophisticated vendors support multiple file formats, or offer integration with standard protocols (more specifically, branded web conferencing or videoconferencing systems). Some vendors offer appliances with attached cameras for real-world events.

Integration (Portal/Collaboration)

Organizations may want users to be able to view videos through other interfaces (such as portals or web content management systems), and possibly to control the video content from such systems.

In nearly all cases, vendors allow basic embedding of videos within a web page or similar container. Some offer their own video players, which may be available within portals or other interfaces that allow the videos to be viewed in many contexts. Some vendors allow their software to be managed from other interface platforms, and some allow (or require) such systems to serve as the source of their workflow.

Search

Searching for videos using transcripts, contents and other metadata is valuable for many purposes. Basic search allows the metadata attached to a video to be searched to find files that match a set of given criteria.

Better searches may provide pointers to locations in videos, offer advanced analysis of queries, or transcribe spoken audio tracks. Visual objects are not yet identifiable.

Video Creation/Modification

Editing and manipulating video allows for greater clarity and improved production values.

Creating videos at its most basic level allows for "topping and tailing," in which introduction and exit slides may be inserted. More sophisticated offerings allow for better in-video captioning, annotation and display elements to be introduced. Some systems allow sophisticated video editing and special effects.

Video Interactivity

Dynamic elements allow users to interact in a way that disperses information through shorter videos and understand the content better.

Vendors may allow accompanying interactive elements (such as questions and answers) as a basic capability. Greater sophistication allows for in-video questions, with answers that route users in productive directions they choose for themselves.

Workflow Richness

Business processes that allow for effective video sharing. Basic workflow allows for the ingestion of video to trigger simple approvals. More-sophisticated models allow for publication workflows with multiple tracks.

This allows videos to be routed to various storage systems and executive approval processes, depending on the origins or uses of the video.

Streaming

Delivering reliable video that provides a communications channel for everyone — from executives to workers — is a key function of many video content management systems.

Streaming relies on effective throughput architecture that works well on internal networks as well as over the internet. Some organizations use streaming for both training and messaging, but it is significantly less useful for training than it is for messaging, because training is most effective when videos can easily be replayed and presented in context (although streaming does allow users to learn from each other in a simultaneous environment).

External Marketing

Video can serve as an automated support for merchandising in electronic commerce, or as a way to let a salesperson give a light or detailed briefing to a prospect or customer with a real-time or recorded low-pressure message.

Using video in marketing and merchandising allows users to see a richer, more detailed version of a product, or how to use it. The video can deliver emotional impact and explain the value of a product or system visually. Such videos are best when they are interactive and when analysis of their use is strong.

Security

Videos must be available only to viewers who have the correct privileges to see them.

Most organizations need video content management to interoperate with their internal security directories. Rarely, they may need the content management to provide native security. In most cases, integration to an internal sign-on system means Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) compatibility, but other systems are in use. In most cases, video content must be safe while stored, and while being transmitted or transferred among systems or to viewers. The ability to match an organization's policies for acceptable data encryption is valuable.

Quality of Service View

Organizations expect to be able to see how well video is being delivered with transparent telemetry that provides a view of system performance.

When application leaders are responsible for managing a video delivery event, or ongoing video services, the ability to predict and model quality of service is valuable. They want the ability to understand what they can expect, and to be able to plan for an event by simulating network circumstances before important video events.

Mobile Capture

Many organizations now need employees and executives to be able to view videos on their own mobile devices. Making this flexible and easy is key to several use cases, particularly internal training.

Use Cases

Internal Executive Messaging

Executives like to use video or mixed media to deliver messages about performance. Some also incorporate graphics and even footage captured in studios or by production teams.

Production values and video quality are an important part of delivering the desired emotional impact. Jerky video, poor lighting and ill-prepared executives create unintended negative impressions. The most important element is the one-way delivery of a crisp, credible, polished message. Also important are network optimization and delivery, production values, video capture, and publication work processes.

Internal Training

Workers find that videos are a good way to learn about best practices in developing and using software, using equipment, and developing interpersonal strategies and skills.

The ability to find the right video — and select the right spot in that video — is particularly important for training. Such videos often come from video collaboration and web conferencing, so being able to capture from these sources is valuable. In some cases, workflow is key, because of the value in routing decision making through various groups, possibly including equipment management, compliance and safety teams. The ability to effectively deliver these videos internally is also important.

Internal Collaboration

Video is an effective tool that creates a more emotional connection between co-workers and gives them the ability to share perspectives on physical or conceptual activities.

The ability to deliver video on internal systems from internally managed storage and software is important here, as is the ability to integrate with internal collaboration and portal software. Rich workflow is necessary to manage internal communications, and optimizing delivery on the network is also valuable. Searching for past conversations and providing an analysis of ongoing collaboration is also useful.

External Video for Sales

Prospects learn more about products and services they are considering from shared videos or videos provided to be watched later.

Organizations must be able to develop and deploy compelling videos in connection with existing e-commerce strategies. They must be able to track such videos' appeal and use, and quantify how they contribute to sales success.

Vendors Added and Dropped

Added

No vendors have been added.

Dropped

Lexmark was removed. The vendor is focusing more narrowly than the inclusion criteria would allow, but remains appropriate for many use cases.

Inclusion Criteria

To be included in this Critical Capabilities research, vendors must meet the following requirements:

  • Vendors' products must provide for workflow, storage, search and integration (into other user-facing products).

  • Vendors must have at least one installation with more than 1,000 seats for internal delivery.

  • Vendors must actively market products in either North America or Europe.

  • Vendors must (ordinarily) sell their video products separately from other products (such as enterprise content management, portals, web customer service or infrastructure).

  • Vendors must have achieved more than $8 million in (overall) revenue in 2015.

We used the same criteria from the "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management," because we matched the use cases closely to the information-gathering process for that research. Other use cases, including externally facing cases such as sales or customer support, are certainly valid, and we may also examine these next year.

Table 1.   Weighting for Critical Capabilities in Use Cases

Critical Capabilities

Internal Executive Messaging

Internal Training

Internal Collaboration

External Video for Sales

External Delivery Optimization

5%

0%

0%

20%

Delivery Model — Cloud/SaaS

5%

5%

10%

15%

Delivery Model — Hybrid

15%

10%

10%

0%

Capturing Video From Collaboration

5%

10%

15%

0%

Integration (Portal/Collaboration)

5%

10%

15%

10%

Search

0%

20%

10%

0%

Video Creation/Modification

10%

0%

0%

10%

Video Interactivity

0%

10%

0%

15%

Workflow Richness

10%

15%

20%

10%

Streaming

15%

0%

5%

0%

External Marketing

0%

0%

0%

20%

Security

10%

10%

5%

0%

Quality of Service View

10%

0%

0%

0%

Mobile Capture

10%

10%

10%

0%

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

As of October 2016

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

This methodology requires analysts to identify the critical capabilities for a class of products/services. Each capability is then weighted in terms of its relative importance for specific product/service use cases.

Critical Capabilities Rating

Each of the products/services has been evaluated on the critical capabilities on a scale of 1 to 5; a score of 1 = Poor (most or all defined requirements are not achieved), while 5 = Outstanding (significantly exceeds requirements).

Table 2.   Product/Service Rating on Critical Capabilities

Critical Capabilities

Agile Content

Brightcove

Genus Technologies

Haivision

Kaltura

Kollective

KZO Innovations

MediaPlatform

Panopto

Polycom

Qumu

Sonic Foundry

IBM (Ustream)

VBrick Systems

Vidizmo

External Delivery Optimization

3.0

4.0

2.0

3.0

3.5

2.5

3.5

3.0

3.0

3.0

4.0

2.1

4.0

2.0

2.5

Delivery Model — Cloud/SaaS

2.5

4.0

3.5

3.0

4.0

2.5

3.0

2.5

4.5

1.5

3.5

1.5

2.5

4.0

3.0

Delivery Model — Hybrid

2.5

3.0

3.0

3.5

4.0

2.0

3.5

4.0

3.5

1.0

5.0

3.0

3.0

4.0

3.0

Capturing Video From Collaboration

1.0

1.0

1.5

1.5

3.0

3.0

3.0

4.0

4.0

2.0

3.0

2.5

1.5

3.0

2.5

Integration (Portal/Collaboration)

2.0

4.0

3.5

3.0

4.0

4.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

1.0

5.0

2.0

1.5

2.0

3.0

Search

4.0

3.0

3.5

1.0

4.0

1.0

2.5

3.5

3.5

1.0

3.5

3.5

1.0

1.5

3.0

Video Creation/Modification

3.5

1.0

2.5

1.0

3.0

1.0

2.0

3.0

4.5

1.0

3.5

3.5

2.5

2.5

3.0

Video Interactivity

4.5

2.5

1.5

1.0

4.0

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.0

1.0

1.5

2.0

1.0

1.0

3.5

Workflow Richness

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.5

4.0

2.5

2.5

2.5

3.0

3.0

3.5

2.5

1.5

2.0

3.5

Streaming

3.0

3.0

2.5

5.0

4.0

3.5

1.5

3.5

4.0

1.5

4.0

2.0

4.0

4.0

3.0

External Marketing

1.5

4.0

3.0

2.5

3.5

1.0

3.5

3.5

1.5

1.0

1.5

1.0

2.5

3.5

2.0

Security

1.5

3.0

1.5

3.5

4.0

4.0

4.5

2.0

4.0

1.0

5.0

2.0

3.5

4.0

3.0

Quality of Service View

2.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

3.5

4.0

3.5

4.0

2.5

4.5

3.5

3.0

4.0

3.5

3.0

Mobile Capture

2.0

2.0

3.0

3.5

3.5

2.0

2.0

2.0

4.0

2.0

4.0

2.0

3.5

3.0

3.5

As of October 2016

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

Table 3 shows the product/service scores for each use case. The scores, which are generated by multiplying the use-case weightings by the product/service ratings, summarize how well the critical capabilities are met for each use case.

Table 3.   Product Score in Use Cases

Use Cases

Agile Content

Brightcove

Genus Technologies

Haivision

Kaltura

Kollective

KZO Innovations

MediaPlatform

Panopto

Polycom

Qumu

Sonic Foundry

IBM (Ustream)

VBrick Systems

Vidizmo

Internal Executive Messaging

2.45

2.85

2.75

3.25

3.73

2.78

2.83

3.10

3.65

1.90

4.08

2.46

3.03

3.25

3.05

Internal Training

2.73

2.80

2.73

2.33

3.85

2.30

2.78

2.90

3.43

1.53

3.75

2.50

1.95

2.50

3.13

Internal Collaboration

2.38

2.85

2.85

2.70

3.80

2.68

2.80

3.03

3.60

1.73

3.95

2.38

2.13

2.80

3.08

External Video for Sales

2.80

3.38

2.65

2.35

3.70

1.98

2.83

2.83

2.93

1.68

3.05

1.95

2.38

2.50

2.83

As of October 2016

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

To determine an overall score for each product/service in the use cases, multiply the ratings in Table 2 by the weightings shown in Table 1.

Critical Capabilities Methodology

This methodology requires analysts to identify the critical capabilities for a class of products or services. Each capability is then weighted in terms of its relative importance for specific product or service use cases. Next, products/services are rated in terms of how well they achieve each of the critical capabilities. A score that summarizes how well they meet the critical capabilities for each use case is then calculated for each product/service.

"Critical capabilities" are attributes that differentiate products/services in a class in terms of their quality and performance. Gartner recommends that users consider the set of critical capabilities as some of the most important criteria for acquisition decisions.

In defining the product/service category for evaluation, the analyst first identifies the leading uses for the products/services in this market. What needs are end-users looking to fulfill, when considering products/services in this market? Use cases should match common client deployment scenarios. These distinct client scenarios define the Use Cases.

The analyst then identifies the critical capabilities. These capabilities are generalized groups of features commonly required by this class of products/services. Each capability is assigned a level of importance in fulfilling that particular need; some sets of features are more important than others, depending on the use case being evaluated.

Each vendor’s product or service is evaluated in terms of how well it delivers each capability, on a five-point scale. These ratings are displayed side-by-side for all vendors, allowing easy comparisons between the different sets of features.

Ratings and summary scores range from 1.0 to 5.0:

1 = Poor or Absent: most or all defined requirements for a capability are not achieved

2 = Fair: some requirements are not achieved

3 = Good: meets requirements

4 = Excellent: meets or exceeds some requirements

5 = Outstanding: significantly exceeds requirements

To determine an overall score for each product in the use cases, the product ratings are multiplied by the weightings to come up with the product score in use cases.

The critical capabilities Gartner has selected do not represent all capabilities for any product; therefore, may not represent those most important for a specific use situation or business objective. Clients should use a critical capabilities analysis as one of several sources of input about a product before making a product/service decision.