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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Paul Zolfaghari, President of MicroStrategy (Part 4)

Posted on Tuesday, May 13th 2014

Sramana Mitra: That’s the modus operandi from the point of view of your large customers. Do you have customers who are independent software vendors who are also developing on top of your analytics platform, and are providing the business logic for maybe a particular vertical and then selling?

Paul Zolfaghari: Yes, in fact it’s a substantial growth area for us. One of the areas that we see is that we have a very strong analytics, reporting, and mobile engine. They have vertical insights, or they have some business work rules. They basically place our engine under those work rules, insights, and vertical expertise that they have. Those then get projected to their customers in a much more visually appealing visualization engine with substantially more analytic horsepower – more depth, more breadth, and better insight.

Sramana Mitra: That is the platform as a service ecosystem business model.

Paul Zolfaghari: Yes. Some of those run in their own data center. Kronos, one of our customers, has a workforce and time management application. People sign up to that as a cloud service. Our analytic engine is in that application which they’re hosting and delivering as a service to their customers.

Sramana Mitra: In that scenario, what you’re providing then is a private cloud stack?

Paul Zolfaghari: In that particular case, they are hosting the application themselves. What we provide them is our software, which they then embed into their private cloud and make available to their customers or subscribers.

Sramana Mitra: How many independent software vendors are working with you in this mode?

Paul Zolfaghari: Hundreds, probably. We have some that are very small because a lot of software companies are very small. Some are large. Kronos is a multi-billion dollar company but most of them are smaller than that. OpenText is a new platform partner of ours. It’s a growing area. A lot of these companies would really be considered small to medium sized businesses. Meaning, the software companies themselves are maybe in the single digit or tens of millions. Then, occasionally you have the big software companies that have multiple millions of dollars in revenue. We certainly have those relationships as well.

Sramana Mitra: But you don’t have the very small ones?

Paul Zolfaghari: We have some very small ones too. We do very well with small companies that want to acquire analytics platform. I would say on the ISP side of the business, we have some very small customers who are in the single-digit millions and very large companies up into the multiple billions. Our product is very well regarded in that community because of certain inherent benefits that are in that platform.

Sramana Mitra: In terms of trends, what do you track, execute against, or consider as threat?

Paul Zolfaghari: We’re seeing a growing interest in the concept of using MicroStrategy to access Big Data. We consider ourselves a leader in that space. We have a public and very strong relationship with Facebook, who uses MicroStrategy to do analytics on their user community. It helps them figure out the way to monetize their relationship with their customers. What we’re seeing is that years ago, data resided in a single relational database. Now in 2014, you got a lot of data sources that people are putting data in. They’ve got analytic appliances, public cloud, relational database, and non-relational database. They have stuff in Hadoop.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Paul Zolfaghari, President of MicroStrategy
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