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Software Company's Strategy Pays Off

By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 1, 2007

After keeping a low profile for about six years, MicroStrategy has started to come out of its shell.

The McLean data-mining company last week released solid fourth-quarter earnings, showing revenue growth for the fourth consecutive year.

Also last week, the company hosted its annual MicroStrategy World conference in Las Vegas, which drew more than 1,000 customers and software professionals. And it released a new product called "dashboards," which display information through animated graphics.

MicroStrategy experienced a 20 percent increase in revenue during the fall quarter and a 19 percent jump in profits, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sanju K. Bansal, MicroStrategy's chief operating officer and vice chairman of the board, said the healthy numbers reflect the high demand for business intelligence software, which helps companies sift through huge sets of data to find crucial nuggets of information.

For example, home improvement giant Lowe's uses MicroStrategy's software to answer more than 150,000 business questions each week and 30 full-time staffers dedicated to analyzing data. Other clients include American Express, Chevron, Estee Lauder, Comcast and Campbell's Soup.

"I think it's indicative of where many large companies are headed," Sanju said.

MicroStrategy has maintained a strong presence in the local technology scene. Since its stock took a big hit when the tech bubble burst, it has hunkered down and focused on strengthening its business products, Bansal said.

The company's continued growth since has triggered several third-party consultants to enter the market.

Such companies, including Reston-based Claraview, sell and implement software from MicroStrategy and its competitors.

Sid Banerjee, one of the original members of the MicroStrategy team and chief executive of Claraview, said MicroStrategy is growing much more quickly than its competitors.

"MicroStrategy has done a good job running much higher profit margin than competitors," he said. "That makes a big difference in our ability to market the product."

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