Companies have spent billions on software to collect data. The problem? Well, according to a recent study by BusinessWeek Research Services and Business Objects (NASDAQ:BOBJ), executives are frustrated that they do not have the tools to make decisions based on the huge amounts of data. Rather, many of the decisions are on "gut feel" or experience.

Of course, Business Objects develops software to help with the problem -- which is known as business intelligence (BI). In fact, many top-performing companies, such as Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), and JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), use BI to beat the competition.

Yesterday, Business Objects announced its earnings for the second quarter. The company posted a profit of $18.2 million, with revenues of $222.2 million. In the same period a year ago, the profits were $23.6 million on sales of $129 million.

The firm expects to generate earnings of $0.80 to $0.85 a share for 2004, with revenues of $905 million to $915 million.

The company is continuing to innovate its BI solutions with its BusinessObjects 6.5 release. The product also integrates the features of Crystal, which was the result of a major acquisition. The new product release, moreover, likely helped in the expansion of its partnerships with IBM (NYSE:IBM) and PeopleSoft (NASDAQ:PSFT).

Earlier in the month, the stock price for Business Objects got whacked -- as did those of many other software companies when they warned. Even though Business Objects guided lower yesterday, the stock price surged 8%. In other words, investors probably believe that the current price has bottomed out for the time being.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli is the author of The EDGAR Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He does not own shares in any of the stocks mentioned.