UPDATED 19:52 EST / OCTOBER 20 2021

CLOUD

Qualtrics posts another surprise profit and its stock makes solid gains

Experience management platform provider Qualtrics International Inc. delivered another strong quarter today with a surprise profit and stronger-than-expected revenue sending its stock higher.

The company reported a third-quarter profit before certain costs such as stock compensation of a penny a share on revenue of $271.6 million, up 41% from a year ago. Analysts had been expecting Qualtrics to report a loss of 2 cents per share on revenue of just $258 million.

Investors signaled their appreciation of the company’s strong showing, as its stock gained more than 7% in after-hours trading.

Qualtrics Chief Executive Zig Serafin (pictured) said the company’s leadership position in the experience management category it created has never been stronger. “Companies in every industry are accelerating their experience transformations and they’re increasingly choosing Qualtrics to build critical relationships with their customers and employees,” he said.

Qualtrics, which is a subsidiary of SAP SE that went public earlier this year, runs a cloud-based platform that’s used by companies to collect feedback from stakeholders such as customers and employees. A human resources department might use it to ask employees their opinions on things such as the effectiveness of a new-hire onboarding process. Product teams, meanwhile, might use Qualtrics to assess customer satisfaction and identify new market opportunities.

Serafin told ZDNet in an interview after the earnings call that Qualtrics provides companies with a way to obtain data they cannot get from anywhere else.

“The information we end up enabling is like gold,” he insisted. “More and more organizations are prioritizing in an experience transformation for their business and they’re doing it on Qualtrics.”

It’s hard to argue with Serafin’s claims, as his company showed strong numbers across the board. Its remaining performance obligations, a measure of backlog, jumped 67% year-over-year, to $1.362 billion. Its current RPO for the next 12 months increased by 58%, to $781.5 million.

Moreover, Qualtrics’ new dollar retention rate, which is a measure of how much money it makes from each customer on average, hit 125%, up from 122% in the previous quarter.

Qualtrics keeps growing at a remarkable rate and now it has a shot at scratching and maybe even passing $1 billion in yearly revenue,” said analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. “But the growth comes with a price – with Qualtrics’ costs de facto doubling for the first 9 months compared to the previous year. With net losses up almost 150% from a year ago, somehow the management will need to show soon it can manage not only growth, but also costs.”

During the quarter just gone, Qualtrics made its first-ever acquisition, buying a company called Clarabridge Inc. for $1.125 billion in July. Clarabridge uses artificial intelligence to analyze social media and customer support calls to gain feedback on a particular brand, product or service. Such capabilities seem like a great fit for Qualtrics’ survey-based feedback and should ensure its customers get even more data they cannot obtain from any other source.

With the integration of Clarabridge now well underway, Qualtrics is confident it will continue on its growth path in the months to come. For the fourth quarter, it forecast sales of $296 million to $298 million and a loss of two to four cents per share. That compares with Wall Street’s target of $264 million in revenue and a four-cent-per-share loss.

Qualtrics also raised its full-year revenue outlook, saying it now expects sales of $1.056 billion to $1.058 billion, up from an initial range of $1.007 billion to $1.011 billion. That’s also well ahead of Wall Street’s forecast of $1.012 billion in full-year revenue.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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