Shares of Tibco Software (Nasdaq: TIBX) have taken a breather lately. After rising more than 135% in 12 months, ahead of the earnings report delivered in March, Tibco slid sideways for three months. Then again, the stock did roughly the same thing in 2010, so we're still looking at year-over-year gains of about 135%.

The second-quarter report Tibco delivered last night got the stock off to a soft jump-start again, rising about 4% in early morning trade. Shares jumped even higher in after-hours trading as the report hit newswires, showing a 16% positive earnings surprise on sales of $216 million, 9% above analyst estimates. But then, prices came back down a bit when management got on the horn to offer third-quarter guidance.

That's a bit of a head-scratcher, though. Analyst consensus for the third quarter points to $0.21 of earnings per share on $209 million in sales; Tibco's forecast ranges from $0.20 to $0.21 earnings per share, and revenue of at least $216 million. That's no disappointment in my book.

You should also bear in mind that Tibco follows the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) school of earnings guidance: Set the bar low and beat it with authority. In Apple’s case, their low-balling is well known thanks to the company’s size. Smaller Tibco isn’t as well known in its low-balling ways. For this quarter, the forecast range topped out at $0.18 per share and $200 million, respectively. Setting a more ambitious goal might juice share prices in the short term, but also sets shareholders up for disappointment if those lofty goals turn out to be unattainable. Better, then, to stick with modest and achievable targets.

Tibco plans to keep stealing business-intelligence customers from larger rivals IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) by offering real-time processing that the giants can't match with database-powered systems. CEO Vivek Ranadive calls this a "two-second advantage" that could turn business disasters into wins. In Vivek's own words: "Working with TIBCO, customers are addressing many of today's greatest needs, such as preventing service outages before they happen, avoiding security breaches before data is lost, and optimizing the revenue opportunity at every point of sale."

One of our subscription services is shorting Tibco these days but I obviously disagree -- the story and the numbers behind Tibco tell me that there's plenty of growth and shareholder value left to unlock.

As computer systems become ever more central to business everywhere, business intelligence vendors like Tibco reap the benefits. Paired with systems performance enhancer Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD) and other a-la-carte systems, small businesses and huge enterprises alike can put together data-crunching setups of epic proportions -- and Tibco is often the glue that puts all the pieces together.

To learn more about data mining and business intelligence and the massive business opportunities they contain, click here to download a free report on the subject. Only a select few companies provide the tools companies need to analyze massive amounts of data, and you need to know how to identify the leaders of the new technology revolution.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of no companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines, Oracle, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Riverbed Technology. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended shorting Tibco Software. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.