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January 5, 2012

Old Dogs Learn New BI Tricks

Nicole Hemsoth

When it comes to business intelligence software, customers face an endless parade of options to plow through. In other words, as a vendor in the BI space, it means bringing a lot to bear in terms of competitive offerings–and responding well and instantly to change.

As older companies that didn’t respond to the big data shift begin to fade away, others who have weathered the data (not to mention overall tech market) storm over the years are finding new inroads—and new customers calling for robust offerings.

On this list of software firms that have been able to respond to change and secure new customers is certainly MicroStrategy. The Virginia-based company has a long history in the world of enterprise software, a fact made semi-evident by the use of the word “micro” in the name…something of a carryover from the cutting edge lingo that resonated in high-tech marketing in say, like 1989.

The company got its start just before the boom of the 90s and has persisted through the hardest of times, integrating both big data strategies and the advantages of the mobile web into its master plan. In fact, the four trends that have dominated the last few years; the mobile web, the cloud that backs that web, the social media that is reliant on the former two, and of course the “big data” era are stated areas of focus for the company’s line of enterprise software products.

Mobile is really where the company’s strategy to learn new tricks as times rapidly changed is most keenly felt. MicroStrategy is a contender in the mobile business intelligence market with its self-titled Mobile and Mobile Suite packages, as well as with its transactional systems and databases connectors that let users tap into advanced corporate info and make changes on the fly on mobile devices, including all major mobile platforms. The apps that charge both their mobile and on-site efforts are handled by the company’s PaaS MicroStrategy Cloud.

This week they made news with their acquisition of another notable customer, this time SWIFT, one of the those big, powerful, but behind-the-scences-companies-no-one-hears-anything-about type of customers. This one just happens to manage the mind-bogglingly complex network of telecommunications that exist between disparate groups of mega financial services firms.

When it comes to making big press announcements about customer wins though, what really matters here is that it calls some not undeserved attention to the company and its existing list of customers. To pick a few, eBay, Campbells (as in mega-soup), Groupon, Lowe’s, Priceline, Yahoo and others.

In this burgeoning, grand era of analytics startups, it does one good to look at a few of the companies that have survived some tough times; especially at a moment in history when nothing seems certain other than continued unchecked growth of evermore complex waves of data. While there are many others that could receive the same accolades for their history alone, MicroStrategy’s burst into yet another new market segment (the complex world of telecommunications for financial services—a veritable minefield of security, data integrity and other nasty issues) just seemed worth noting on this slowest of slow news days.

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