Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of MicroStrategy (Nasdaq: MSTR) soared more than 20% on heavy volume after reporting record revenue and earnings that obliterated expectations.

So What: Best known for providing business intelligence (BI) software that competes with similar offerings from IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), MicroStrategy booked $139.1 million in Q4 revenue and $1.60 a share in earnings. Analysts were expecting $121.57 million and $0.93, respectively.

Now What: It's always nice to see the stock you own beat expectations in reporting results, but the top- and bottom-line victories may not be responsible for MicroStrategy's big move today. Instead, I suspect that we can credit a 59% increase in license revenue. This metric means a lot to enterprise software companies, since it measures sales to new customers.

MicroStrategy's license revenue grew materially faster than overall revenue, which improved 32%. The implication? Release 3 of the MicroStrategy 9 BI platform, which went on sale in October, was a much bigger hit than anyone expected.

Interested in more info on MicroStrategy? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of IBM and Oracle at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of IBM and Oracle and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is at least 10% better than other disclosure policies.