Posted on Tuesday, Feb 9th 2021
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) continues to outpace all market expectations. It is doubling down on tying up with other technology partners to provide solutions needed to accelerate digital transformation of organizations.
For the fourth quarter of the year, ServiceNow’s revenues grew 31.33% to $1.25 billion, ahead of the market’s forecast of $1.21 billion. EPS of $1.17 was also slightly ahead of the market’s estimates of $1.05.
This was an exceptional quarter for ServiceNow as it saw an impressive growth in its subscription billings. Subscription revenues grew 38% to $1.828 billion, ahead of its earlier estimate of $1.61-$1.63 billion and ahead of the market’s forecast by 10%. This was the biggest growth ServiceNow has registered in its subscription billings in the last 12 quarters. Professional and other services revenues grew 26% to $66 million.
During the quarter, it closed 89 transactions with more than $1 million in net new annual contract value (ACV). It now has 1,093 total customers with more than $1 million in ACV, up by 23% over the year.
For the full year, ServiceNow announced revenues of $4.519 billion and an EPS of $0.59.
ServiceNow expects subscription revenues of $1.275-$1.28 billion for the first quarter and subscription billings of $1.31-$1.315 billion. For the full year, it expects subscription revenues of $5.48-$5.5 billion and subscription billings of $6.205-$6.225 billion. The market expects ServiceNow to deliver total revenues of $5.59 billion with an EPS of $5.42 for the year and revenues of $1.29 billion with an EPS of $1.23 for the first quarter.
ServiceNow has recently announced the acquisition of Canada based Element AI. Founded in 2016 by Anne Martel, Gabriel Duford, Jean-Francois Gagne, Jean-Sebastian Cournoyer, Nicolas Chapados, Philippe Beaudoin, and Yoshua Bengio, Element AI democratizes AI with non-predatory and fully collaborative models to commercialize research. The acquisition will allow ServiceNow to create an AI Innovation Hub in Canada, accelerating customer-focused AI innovation in the Now Platform. The acquisition will also deepen ServiceNow’s commitment to the Canadian market.
Prior to the acquisition, Element AI had raised $257.5 million from four rounds of funding from investors including Government of Quebec, DCVC, Hanwha Asset Management, Pegasus Tech Ventures, McKinsey and Company, Real Ventures, Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian Government, and Fidelity.
ServiceNow’s Stellar Growth
ServiceNow is seeing a strong traction in its IT workflow products as organizations accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. ITSM delivered 17 deals over $1 million. Its AI and machine learning capabilities embedded within its Pro SKU is also seeing strong growth. ITSM Pro penetration is now more than 20%. The AI/ML capabilities of its Pro SKUs are automating processes to allow people to focus on business critical activities. It saw a three times increase in usage of its virtual agent technology in 2020 and its Element AI acquisition will continue to add focus on the service.
ServiceNow is no longer being viewed as a back-end IT-oriented solution; instead with its AI, ML capabilities, it is beginning to be seen as a strategic partner that impacts the entire business of an enterprise. This is reflected in the significantly high number of deals that it is adding within the ITSM and ITOM markets. Its Governance, Risk and Compliance offerings along with the App Engine is also seeing strong growth. ServiceNow appears to have a clear line of sight to its $10 billion cloud revenue target. Currently, 20% of its customer base is also an ITSM Pro customer. ServiceNow is working on deepening this penetration as the ITSM Pro service comes with a 25% uplift.
I also think that ServiceNow will continue to see growth on account of its PaaS-focused strategy. ServiceNow’s Now platform can be utilized to automate digital processes across the organization. It features robust low-code no-code application development and integration capabilities. Its low-code application development platform, the Now Platform App Engine, enables organizations to build custom desktop and mobile applications that can be used to automate and digitize workflows.
ServiceNow claims that the App Engine helps enterprises bring apps to the market in half the time and a third of the cost. As customers and developers continue to build on the Engine, usage, and customer adoption will only grow.
I agree with the management’s view that it is well on its way
“to becoming a $10 billion revenue company on the strength of incredible organic innovation”. I think ServiceNow can accelerate that vision by paying attention to startup ISVs. Their PaaS strategy is currently entirely directed towards large system integrators and enterprise, and is missing out on the strong ecosystem benefits that accompany an ISV-focused PaaS offering. Read more on my view about PaaS here: Cloud Stocks: Which SaaS Players Will Win in PaaS.
Its stock is currently trading at $587.91 with a market capitalization of $114.7 billion. It hit a 52-week high of $592.54 earlier this month and a 52-week low of $238.93 in March last year.
Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations, and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research of product-market fit, channel execution, and other factors. My primary interest is in product strategy. While this may have bearing on stock movements, my writings tend to focus on long-term implications. The information presented is illustrative and educational, but should not be regarded as a complete analysis nor recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. I am not a registered investment adviser and I am not receiving compensation for this article. I am an investor in this company. Photo Credit: Tomasz Miko?ajczyk from Pixabay This segment is a part in the series : Cloud Stocks . Smartsheet Acquiring Bootstrapped Startups to Drive Growth . Bootstrapped Unicorn Atlassian is Acquiring Capital Efficient Startups . Netflix Price Hike Ruffles Competition . 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