Direct sales of Crystal Decisions' products now exceed indirect sales, although both continue to grow, according to chief financial officer Eric Patel. Earlier this month, the company announced a deal with Hyperion Solutions Corp. to resell Crystal Decisions' software as part of its data- analysis product line. Like other software companies, Crystal Decisions reports making fewer large corporate deals in the last several quarters compared with pre-recession days, as customers keep their spending in check. But Patel says the number of big contracts the company signed in the second quarter increased slightly on a quarter-to-quarter basis.
Business-intelligence software vendors have turned in mixed performances during the economic slowdown. SAS Institute Inc., the world's largest privately held software company, had sales growth of around 8% last year for total revenue around $1.2 billion. But last month, Cognos Inc. reported flat year-to-year sales for its third quarter, while Hyperion Solutions and Actuate recently reported quarterly sales declines from one year earlier. Industry heavyweights Business Objects SA and MicroStrategy Inc. both report financial results this week.
Businesses today are generating reams of data through enterprise resource planning, customer-relationship management, and E-commerce applications. Those companies are buying Crystal Decisions' software to leverage that information to become more efficient and improve relationships with their customers, Patel says. He adds, "That's what business intelligence is all about--using data to improve your competitive position."