Between going public in 2009 and February of this year, shares of Medidata Solutions (NASDAQ:MDSO) surged in value almost 700%. Since then, however, the stock has cooled off considerably, falling more than 40%.

Medidata has carved out a lucrative niche with drug companies. It provides cloud solutions to help companies streamline the FDA testing and approval process. While R&D costs are somewhat high right now, the company is able to win over customers and create a situation where switching costs are very high.

That business model enticed me to buy shares in August of last year. Though I have a long-term time horizon, the slideshow below will cover when any type of investor--short, medium, or long term--should be looking for when the company reports earnings later this week.