This interview has a very interesting discussion on the future of user interfaces that interact with data. Read on!
Sramana Mitra: Paul, let’s start with introducing our audience to you as well as to MicroStrategy.
Paul Zolfaghari: I’m Paul Zolfaghari. I’m the president of MicroStrategy. We’re an enterprise software company that’s been in existence for 25 years. We went public in 1998. As an overall background of the company, we are a global company with global operations. We operate directly in 26 countries around the world. We’ve got north of 4,000 customers across a multitude of industries. In 2013, our revenue was just short of $600 million and we consider ourselves the leader in analytics, business intelligence, and recently, leaders in cloud delivery of analytics and business intelligence.
Sramana Mitra: We could discuss trends in cloud and Big Data. Feel free to cross-pollinate the discussion with either of those because we do cover Big Data quite extensively as well.
Paul Zolfaghari: Let me start by saying it’s interesting as I hear you describe the background of what you do and what you try to cover with your blog and your public presence, and as you talk about this concept of really being a knowledge base for entrepreneurship. I would think it’s interesting to combine that with what we see as really going on in analytics in cloud. That is to say that cloud and cloud computing is going to be an enabler of substantial increase in entrepreneurship as it is. In other words, if you think about companies and you go back four or five years ago, there was a very substantial barrier to entry in really entering the enterprise analytics for application space because of cost of infrastructure – the fact that you not only need substantial capital but also substantial resources to manage and operate your own IT. What we see is an explosion of opportunity for entrepreneurship in and around the analytics and the delivery of analytic applications because of what the cloud is able to do.
I was at a dinner last evening with Presidents, Division Heads, and CEOs of software companies in Silicon Valley. Everybody at that meeting was talking very optimistically about how the barriers to adoption for cloud and cloud computing are coming down at the enterprise level. One of the things that I commented on is not only is it happening, but it’s creating tremendous opportunity for smaller companies. I think to be able to be effective in their marketplaces, they have to leverage on cloud infrastructure that they no longer have to maintain. Cloud is an engine for substantial entrepreneurship because it’s lowering the barrier of entry for companies to build and create.