If you’re like me, when you hear the name Pitney Bowes you think “postage meter,” not software. After all, the 93-year-old company that joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1950 and has been listed in the S&P 500 since its opening day might seem more like a relic that never crossed the chasm than a big data and analytics leader.

But perceptions are deceiving.

This morning Pitney Bowes announced that it has added advanced big data management capabilities to its Spectrum Technology platform.

What is the Spectrum Technology Platform?

For those of us who haven’t kept up with Pitney Bowes in the last decade, the company began its transition from a physical products provider to a digital communications company at the beginning of the millennium. It acquired 80, yes 80, companies between 2000-2010, most notable among them: Group 1 Software (data quality and customer communications), MapInfo (location intelligence solutions), Portrait Software (customer-centric solutions that combine advanced customer analytics with inbound and outbound campaign management).

The combination and integration of these purchases result in the Pitney Bowes’ software business and its Spectrum Technology Platform which promises to help enterprises -- large and small -- to extract more value from data to drive greater profitability, reduce risk and deliver more personalized and contextually relevant experiences.

The company’s transition has been so successful that Gartner now names Pitney Bowes as one of four market leaders in Customer Communications Management (CCM) Software.

Not only that, but it claims tech savvy companies like Facebook, eBay, Aon and others as its customers; they use Pitney Bowes products for applications like powering location intelligence for mobile devices, building out global identity (e.g., identifying a customer as he walks into a bank in order to deliver personalized service), to assess risk for insurance companies and so on. The world’s largest CRM provider, who can’t be named, uses their software to identify and eliminate duplicate IDs.