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Tibco Needs to Raise the Bar

The bears, meanwhile, remained unimpressed.

Look, I'm not suggesting that this was an extraordinary quarter by any stretch. I'm not going to pretend that the prolonged weakness in Europe and government spending suddenly no longer matter. Still, we have to agree that on the basis of non-GAAP EPS of 18 cents, which met Street estimates, management's efforts to reorganize infrastructure sales are moving along better than expected.

Tibco's challenge -- above all else -- is to grow revenue at a rate that convinces the Street that the company is gaining some real operational leverage. In other words, while there are clear business improvements, there is still plenty of work left for the company to do to justify more gains in the share price. I believe this work starts on Thursday, when third-quarter earnings are released.

The Street will be looking for EPS of 22 cents on revenue of $258.2 million, which represents revenue growth of just 1.3%. Essentially, there's not a whole lot that's expected in terms of top-line growth. I believe this is a situation where the Street has essentially embraced Tibco's new direction, while appreciating the company's efforts at reorganization.

To go along with the company's existing strengths in messaging and integration, over the past couple of quarters, management has been working to grow Tibco's capabilities in areas like real-time business intelligence, visualization and complex event processing. These are technologies that are specifically targeted to capitalize on the growth of big data. These area -- including message-oriented middleware, where Tibco currently ranks second to IBM in market share -- makes Tibco a direct rival of giants like IBM and Oracle.

What's more, management recently discussed shoring up the company's strengths in data analytics, which is not only Oracle's specialty, but it's also a market in which SAP has shown strong interest. While Tibco isn't expected to immediately threaten Oracle, IBM or SAP, the company's ambitions and its high level of execution makes it one to watch. While growth has not been exceptional, Tibco deserves some time to get its house in order.

It's a good thing that management has done such an excellent job of communicating the company's course. The Street, meanwhile, even by virtue of its dismissive reaction to the company's progress, appears to now be on the same page. While this can certainly be a good thing for the company, it also means that unless Tibco blows the Street away with earnings and raises guidance, this stock just might have reached its ceiling.

At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: TIBX, ORCL, IBM, SAP 
Richard Saintvilus is a co-founder of StockSaints.com where he serves as CEO and editor-in-chief. After 20 years in the IT industry, including 5 years as a high school computer teacher, Saintvilus decided his second act would be as a stock analyst - bringing logic from an investor's point of view. His goal is to remove the complicated aspect of investing and present it to readers in a way that makes sense.

His background in engineering has provided him with strong analytical skills. That, along with 15 years of trading and investing, has given him the tools needed to assess equities and appraise value. Richard is a Warren Buffett disciple who bases investment decisions on the quality of a company's management, growth aspects, return on equity, and price-to-earnings ratio.

His work has been featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Forbes, Motley Fool and numerous other outlets.

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