Content analytics specialist NICE Systems (NASDAQ:NICE) had another good result for its first quarter. Revenue and earnings both came in ahead of Wall Street expectations, and the company continues to sign up large and high-profile customers.

Revenue climbed 13% for the March quarter, and NICE saw meaningful improvements in its gross and operating margins alike. At first blush, net income appears to have been flat, but about $3.2 million of the year-ago net income is now classified as income from discontinued operations. Comparing only net income from continuing operations, NICE posted growth of more than 100% from the year-ago level.

In addition to servicing existing customers, NICE added several significant new ones. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) has come aboard, as has the New York City Fire Department. NAV CANADA, the organization that runs Canada's air traffic control, also expanded its existing contract with NICE to the extent that all of the air traffic control sites now use NICE equipment and solutions.

Not content to rely simply on organic growth from within, NICE recently announced a deal about a month ago to purchase Dictaphone's Communications Recording Systems business for $38.5 million. According to management, this acquisition will not only be accretive in 2005, but it will also expand the company's opportunities among first responders, public security, and homeland security customers, as it will allow for the introduction of multimedia analytics.

While the company's security and public-safety business is growing, enterprise analytics is still the main driver for the company. Of the seven $1 million-or-more deals secured in the first quarter, five of them were in the enterprise system business, which still constitutes nearly 80% of total revenue. Given that companies are always looking for new ways to collect, interpret, and leverage data to improve their operations, there is no reason to assume that the market for enterprise analytics is going to shrink anytime soon.

It appears as though NICE is quietly building a strong niche for itself. When the Dictaphone deal closes, NICE will have one of the best intellectual-property portfolios in the industry and a customer base of over 23,000. NICE might not be posting the sort of flare-out growth that draws the momentum crowd, but that may be better for the company in the long run. After all, business is a distance and endurance trial -- the sort of competition that sprinters rarely win.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).