Business Objects and MicroStrategy report Q3 Earnings

On Wednesday, Business Objects reported Q3 earnings of 41 cents per share after adjustment of one-time charges, beating the consensus estimate of 34 cents. Revenue was $310.4 M, ahead of the consensus estimate of $295 M. License revenue was $132 M (up 9% YoY), while service revenue was $179 M (up 27% YoY).

Yesterday, MicroStrategy reported Q3 earnings of $1.32 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.19. Revenue was $77.7 M, also beating the consensus estimate of $74.1 M. Product license revenue was $24.5 M (up 8% YoY), and support/services revenue was $53.2 M (up 23% YoY).

Wall Street cheered the results of both companies, sending Business Objects share up 9% on Thursday MicroStrategy shares up 4% today.

These are good reports for the data warehousing in general, as both companies are important players in the space. Their reports also show that the big software companies, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, do not yet have their business intelligence products quite up to the level of the specialist players yet. Given that this is still a growth area, it remains to be seen if any of these 3 big companies will make a big move (either releasing a next-generation product or acquiring an existing company) in the near future.

Business Objects Buys Armstrong Laing

BI software vendor Business Objects announced today that it is buying London-based Armstrong Laing for about $56 million in cash. Armstrong Laing’s Enterprise Performance Optimization Suite has strong collaborative planning and multidimensional modeling capabilities. For the latest fiscal year, Armstrong Laing reported revenue of $19 million. The official announcement can be viewed here.

Business Objects have been growing by acquisition, and this represents their entry into the budgeting and planning space, traditionally a stronghold of Hyperion. At the grand scale of things, this is not an acquisition that will dramatically change the BI space. At the same time, it is interesting to see how the finance niche in BI will play out with this acquisition.

MicroStrategy 8

I had the chance recently to attend a session where MicroStrategy representatives discussed the new features implemented in the new MicroStrategy 8.

There were basically two improvements over the prior version:
1. MicroStrategy 8 added plenty of features for users to generate nice-looking reports.
2. MicroStrategy 8 added additional data source connectivity capabitilies.

That was pretty much it. When I first saw MicroStrategy 7, I was very impressed as it represented a big step forward from their earlier versions. With 8, I was not as impressed. One thing that was interesting was the absence of any new, more power OLAP features. I am wondering if this means that the OLAP tool vendors have pretty much included all the features that can be added, and now can only improve their product by expanding into other areas of data warehousing such as reporting, data mining, and ETL?