Altair Engineering Inc. (ALTR) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

ALTR earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2018.

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Altair Engineering Inc.  (NASDAQ:ALTR)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Feb. 28, 2019, 4:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Altair Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later there will be a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to Howard Morof, Chief Financial Officer. Sir, you may begin.

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you. Good afternoon. Welcome and thank you for attending Altair's earnings conference call for the fourth quarter 2018. I'm Howard Morof, Chief Financial Officer of Altair, and with me on the call is Jim Scapa, our Founder, Chairman and CEO. After market close today we issued a press release with details regarding our fourth quarter and full-year performance which can be accessed on the Investor Relations section of our website at investor.altair.com. This call is being recorded and a replay will be available on our IR website following the conclusion of the call.

During today's call, we will make statements related to our business that may be considered forward-looking under federal securities laws. These statements reflect our views only as of today and should not be considered representative of our views as of any subsequent date. We disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or outlook. These statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. These risks are summarized in the press release that we issued today. For a further discussion of the material risks and other important factors that could affect our actual results, please refer to those contained in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the SEC, as well as other documents that we have filed or may file from time to time.

During the course of today's call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures is included in our press release.

Finally, at times in our prepared comments or responses to your questions, we may offer metrics that are incremental to our usual presentation to provide greater insight into the dynamics of our business or our quarterly results. Please be advised that we may or may not continue to provide this additional detail in the future.

With that, let me turn the call over to Jim for his prepared remarks.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Howard, and thank you all for joining our call. Today we will talk about our quarterly and full year results and our outlook for 2019. We will discuss the integration and market traction we see for our two most recent acquisitions, Datawatch and SimSolid. We will talk about changes for our global marketing and compelling customer wins.

As 2019 will be our first year of reporting under the new 606 accounting standards, we will be careful to identify when we're talking about 605 versus 606 numbers. My remarks regarding fourth quarter and 2018 financials will use the 605 standard.

Our fourth quarter revenue and profitability exceeded expectations and demonstrated excellent year-on-year growth. We had total revenue for the quarter of $103.9 million, an increase of 16% from a year ago with 2018 revenue of $385.1 million, growing over 2017 by 16%. Our revenue growth was strong and powered by software product growth of 19%. We produced adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter of $14.1 million with full-year adjusted EBITDA of $38.5 million, both nicely above the upper end of our guidance range.

We completed the acquisition of Datawatch on December 13, 2018 and have moved quickly to integrate it into Altair. We made several important adjustments to the business while making sure to support customers, employees, and their ongoing efforts. We are moving quickly to streamline Datawatch brand offerings and merge their products with our other solutions and business models.

Our complete data intelligence offering includes market-leading data preparation, data science, streaming, and visualization solutions that fuel engineering, scientific, and business decisions. We are integrating all of our data intelligence capabilities into a modern cloud-based solution, including important enterprise level capabilities, such as security, data discovery, collaboration, and operationalization of user-developed machine-learning workflows to deliver a more unified experience for users.

The Datawatch sales organization is strong and highly process centric. We have maintained and supported this team focused on their traditional markets and are strengthening them by looking to leverage Altair's more global footprint. We established a small overlay team with expertise in data intelligence focused on supporting Altair's strategic account executives cross-selling Datawatch products into our manufacturing customers worldwide.

The synergies are bidirectional. For example, we are learning from and embracing several Datawatch sales processes across the broader Altair sales organization. We're confident our combined global teams and infrastructure will continue to develop and deploy great products, grow sales, and delight customers as we move forward in an era where simulation and data intelligence are converging to drive many operational decisions.

We anticipate bookings from Datawatch products for 2019 to be consistent with the 2018 bookings, while significantly increasing the percentage of recurring revenues. We put in place several million dollars of synergies to be realized in 2019 from this business, including significant administrative and executive headcount reductions. We also anticipate substantial external spend cost reductions, including public company expenses. We expect the financial contribution of the acquisition to be aligned with our overall adjusted EBITDA percentage targets.

In October of 2018 we announced our exciting technology acquisition of SimSolid. Since then we've moved to quickly release the product commercially and promote its game changing power with seminars, free trials, and special offers. The results have been extraordinary. Customers worldwide and in all vertical markets are impressed by the technology and taking initiatives to deploy SimSolid in their enterprises. We believe SimSolid is a unique technology which allows users, mainly designers and design engineers, to accurately simulate simple to extremely complex assembly designs directly on their CAD geometry without the simplification or meshing required by other technologies.

SimSolid is robust and extremely fast and in our estimation will finally allow the market to realize its ambition to have meaningful simulation at the design stage. SimSolid is available under HyperWorks Units, as a stand-alone solution sold by resellers, and as a pure cloud SaaS offering. We are integrating SimSolid into our Inspire platform where it will complement Altair's other simulation technologies for simulation-driven design. We believe some SimSolid will deliver meaningful new revenue over the next three years and has the potential to disrupt the current market for simulation at the design stage.

We believe it's important that our marketing and demand generation efforts are aligned with our growing product portfolio and expanded value proposition. To lead that effort, we were excited to welcome Amy Messano to Altair at the beginning of 2019 as our new Chief Marketing Officer. Her extensive experience and expertise in technology marketing is an important addition to our executive team, especially at a time of rapid growth in our product portfolio. She has already moved to reorganize global marketing, including Datawatch, to elevate Altair's brand and align with sales objectives.

The fourth quarter was strong. We continue to win across the board in new and existing accounts. Our core products of design, modeling, visualization solvers continue to perform well and we saw growth in new areas, including electromagnetics, model-based design, data intelligence, and high-performance cloud computing.

I would like to highlight some of our successes today as they indicate fundamental strength in our business. In aerospace, our second largest industry sector, a major supplier committed to nearly $2 million agreement, driven by the replacement of Nastran and Patran with OptiStruct and HyperMesh. A major global automotive supplier headquartered in Europe signed a multimillion euro renewal for 2019. That represents a nearly 20% increase as they continue to use HyperWorks for a broader range of product development challenges.

Also in Europe two different automotive OEMs signed three-year deals each worth seven figures annually, representing a 38% and a 27% annual increase over their previous multiyear agreements. This was driven by large expansions in the usage of Altair solvers and optimization products with many hundreds of users in the organizations.

The fourth quarter was excellent for our high-performance computing sales teams across a diverse set of industry verticals, including energy, automotive, defense, electronics, and data storage. There were several expansions including a large one in the defense sector. Product sales in the electronics industry are growing, including a 74% increase at a chip maker on several hundred thousand dollars in revenue, while another customer nearly tripled their usage commitment. Finally, an important energy customer in the Americas made a new commitment of over $650,000.

We are beginning to see immediate customer success with SimSolid. In the four months since the acquisition, there have been over 5,200 downloads, including almost -- at almost 500 unique existing customer companies. We have trained more than 1,400 individuals. We can see usage growing globally at several accounts across most verticals.

Our data intelligence team joined Altair during the final two weeks of the year and quickly contributed some important wins. Topping the quarter was a seven-figure expansion deal with a major banking customer. This is a historically strong market for Datawatch, and we expect this to continue. A longtime healthcare customer decided to upgrade to our cloud offering and agreed to transition to an annual subscription.

We had a very strong fourth quarter and 2018, delivered on our stated objectives, and made meaningful acquisitions, including SimSolid and Datawatch. We are well-positioned because of our large recurring revenue base, and we are diversified through geographic and vertical markets. We remain optimistic about our outlook and look forward to the future.

Now I will turn the call over to Howard for details on our financial performance during the fourth quarter and full-year as well as guidance for 2019. Howard?

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Jim. We are very pleased with the performance of our business in the fourth quarter completing a great 2018. As Jim mentioned, we are required to report under ASC 606 for 2018. In order to provide comparability, we are providing 2018 quarterly results under both 606 and 605. Our guidance for 2019 is under the new standard. However, my review of our results for Q4 and the year will be primarily based on the 605 standard. Note that we did include a reconciliation of results in the press release that bridges 2018 under 606 to 605. The Datawatch acquisition did not have a significant impact on the results given the very limited number of days post acquisition in this quarter.

Our fourth quarter and full year results demonstrated strong operating leverage expansion and cash flow generation driven by solid software revenue growth. For the quarter, software product revenue was $80.8 million, an increase of 19% from a year ago, while total revenue reached $103.9 million, representing growth of 16% from the fourth quarter of 2017. Both results are above our guidance for the period.

We also had strong profitability in the quarter as adjusted EBITDA grew by 67% to $14.1 million for the quarter, which is well above our guidance and compares favorably to $8.4 million a year ago. For the year, software product revenue was $293 million, an increase of 20% from 2018, while total revenue reached $385.1 million, representing growth of 16% from 2017. Both results are above our guidance for the full year.

Software product revenue is reflective of the strong momentum for our software products and grew to 76.1% of total revenue, an increase of 2.7 percentage points from 73.4% a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA grew by 71% to $38.5 million for 2018, which also exceeded our guidance and compares very favorably to $22.5 million a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the year was 10% compared to 6.8% a year ago, an increase of over 3 percentage points in the year. We are pleased that the growing leverage in our business continues to be evident.

Changes in certain currencies can have an impact on both our revenues and expenses, especially when those changes occur over relatively shorter time periods or when currency changes are more pronounced over time. As such, we think it is meaningful to measure aspects of our performance on a constant currency basis. For 2018, as a whole and in Q4, the impact of foreign currency rates did not have a meaningful impact on our revenue or adjusted EBITDA.

For 2018 calculated billings were $399.7 million, an increase of 11% from last year, indicative of the growth in our business. In the fourth quarter, calculated billings were $111.6 million, an increase of 12.5% from a year ago. The annual and quarterly metric has been adjusted for the impact of acquired deferred revenue. We tend to view calculated billings over a longer time period due to the impact variations and timing of renewals, expansions, and new customer arrangements can have quarter-to-quarter.

I would like to turn to the balance of the P&L results, some of which are on a non-GAAP basis. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures has been provided in the earnings release we issued earlier today. Non-GAAP gross margin in the fourth quarter was 70.9%, an increase of 48 basis points from a year ago. For the quarter, non-GAAP operating expenses, which excludes stock-based compensation, amortization of intangibles, acquisition costs, and other operating income were $63.6 million compared to $58.9 million a year ago. As mentioned above, adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $14.1 million compared to adjusted EBITDA of $8.4 million a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA margin in the fourth quarter was 13.5% compared to 9.4% a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA was positively impacted by our revenue mix driven by software product momentum, improved software-related services gross margins, and achievements in operating leverage over our cost structure.

Our recurring software license rate that is the percentage of software revenue that is recurring continues to be strong at 89% in 2018 consistent with our past performance and is not impacted by the shift from 605 to 606. Non-GAAP gross margin for the year was 69.9%, an increase of 2 percentage points from a year ago due to a higher mix of software product revenue coupled with improved margins from software-related services activities. For 2018, non-GAAP operating expenses, which excludes stock-based compensation, amortization of intangibles, acquisition costs and other operating income were $244.2 million compared to $214.2 million a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA for the year was $38.5 million exceeding our guidance compared to $22.5 million in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the year was 10% compared to 6.8% in 2017, reflecting terrific progress toward increasing our operating margins. We continue to be focused on driving our operating margins higher, while simultaneously investing prudently into those areas and opportunities that we believe will be beneficial to our long-term growth prospects.

Let me now run through the specific impact the adoption of ASC 606 had on our performance. Generally we will now recognize approximately 80% of software product revenue from a new or renewal contract upfront upon delivery of the software and commencement of the license period. The remaining 20% or so will be recognized ratably over the life of the contract. This compares to 605 where we were unable to separate out revenue for multiple element arrangements. Usually, 100% of software product revenue was recognized ratably over the life of the contract for subscription-based licenses. This change increased our revenue by approximately $11.3 million in 2018. The implementation of 606 did not have a meaningful impact on our operating expenses.

It is important to note that this change does not have any impact on our cash flows or the value we deliver to our customers. Going forward, calculated billings, an important cash flow metric for our business, is likely to be more closely correlated to revenue recognition under 606. The adoption of 606 reduced the aggregate amount of deferred revenue on our balance sheet as of January 1 by $82.9 million under the modified retrospective approach permitted by the new standard. This change is strictly accounting driven with the implementation of the guidance under 606 versus 605.

For the fourth quarter under 606, total revenue was $103 million and software product revenue was $79.9 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $12.9 million equaling an adjusted EBITDA margin of 12.6%. On a full-year basis under 606, total revenue was $396.4 million. Software product revenue was $304.4 million for the year, or 76.8% of total revenue. Adjusted EBITDA was $50.2 million in 2018, and our adjusted EBITDA margin was 12.7%.

On a GAAP basis, fourth quarter net loss was $10.8 million or a loss of $0.14 per diluted share based on $76.8 million diluted weighted average common shares outstanding. And net income for the year was $13.7 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, based upon 74.9 million diluted weighted average common shares outstanding.

Turning to our balance sheet. We ended the fourth quarter with $35.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, noting that we funded our acquisitions with cash and minor borrowings on our line of credit. We have approximately $119 million undrawn and available on our US line of credit as of year-end.

Moving to our cash flows. Cash flow from operations in the fourth quarter was an outflow of $4.2 million compared to an outflow of $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. For the year, cash flow from operations grew to $36.2 million compared to $16.1 million for 2017 driven by our revenue growth and excellent collections in Q4.

Free cash flow, which consists of cash flow from operations, less cash capital expenditures, was an outflow of $5.5 million for the fourth quarter, consistent with our business cycle and also similar to the outflow of $4.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Free cash flow was $29.6 million for the year, a significant improvement from $8.6 million in 2017 and nicely in excess of the top end of our guidance at $24 million. The increase in our free cash flow for 2018 clearly reflects the impact of our positive momentum.

I would like to mention a couple of specific points regarding our cash flows and 606 before highlighting our guidance for 2019 under 606. Our revenues are seasonal based upon renewal dates from our customers with the first and fourth quarters having typically greater renewals and expansion revenue than the second and third quarters. These patterns will cause our quarterly results under 606 to be much more heavily skewed to when renewals, expansion, and new licenses occur causing our result to be more variable on a quarter-to-quarter basis compared to 605.

Also, as mentioned before, our seasonal patterns allow us to realize a substantial portion of free cash flow in our first and early part of the second quarters of each year. As such, I would caution against extrapolating free cash flow results on a quarter-to-quarter basis.

Our guidance for 2019 is impacted by fluctuations in currencies, such as the euro and pound. Given the movements in these and other currencies compared to 2018, our guidance anticipates a negative impact on annual revenues of approximately $7 million to $10 million and a $2 million to $3 million headwind to adjusted EBITDA for 2019. As to our expectations related to our effective tax rate for 2019, we are assuming an ETR of 40% due primarily to the impact of foreign taxes and domestic tax credits for which we are unable to recognize a present benefit given the valuation allowance covering our US tax attributes.

For the full year 2019 under the 606 standard, our expectations are as follows: software product revenue to be between $373 million and $377 million, representing growth of 22% to 24% from 2018; total revenue to be between $470 million and $474 million, representing growth of 19% to 20% from 2018; adjusted EBITDA of between $61 million and $65 million; free cash flow to be between $34 million and $36 million.

For Q1 2019 under the 606 standard, our expectations are as follows: software product revenue to be between $99 million and $101 million, representing growth of 24% to 26% from 2018; total revenue to be between $123 million and $125 million, representing growth of 19% to 21% from 2018; adjusted EBITDA of between $23 million and $25 million. Our revenue outlook for 2019 includes contribution from Datawatch based on our initial expectations of flat to slightly down compared to 2018 as mentioned before. As a reminder, this reflects the continuing transition to licensing of Datawatch products on a subscription basis. We have successfully realized in excess of $5 million of synergies virtually immediately upon closing.

To summarize, we continue to be very pleased with the performance of the business for the fourth quarter and full year of 2018. We are executing well on our strategic priorities and generating an attractive combination of growth, profitability, and cash flow. We are optimistic about our ability to drive revenue growth in 2019 based on our market momentum and ongoing investments that are leading to continued progress toward our long-term target.

With that operator, can we now open up the call to questions?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Sterling Auty with JPMorgan. Your line is open.

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks. Hi, guys. I think looking at 2019, the two moving parts I want to make sure I fully understand is you mentioned Datawatch flat to slightly down. I think that's very consistent. But what does that actually mean in terms of the actual dollar contribution within the guidance that you've provided? As well as, is there -- as we think about the 606, everything should be annualized, so there's no additional tailwind or headwinds from 606 to the top line, correct?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sorry, I missed your second half of your question there, Sterling. Would you mind repeating it? I apologize.

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

Yeah. Let's start with the first part being Datawatch.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Okay, yeah.

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

You mentioned flat to slightly down. So what does that mean in dollars to the guidance?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Right. So to be -- I know you're going to hate this answer, but to be honest with you, the way that -- the way that we manage our software business, we integrate all of the products under our Units model. And so we expect by basically beginning of the second quarter to have the Datawatch products running under the Units model. And so you're going to have a mix through the year of sort of the historical stand-alone stuff, because there's some of that, as well as a lot of HyperWorks Units revenue. And so we really aren't breaking it out. I know you hate that because you want to break it out, but what we do is we look at the overall picture and we look at the overall picture of expenses as well and we try and manage our business. So I'll let Howard add to that if he wants to.

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

The add is simply we've -- as we've converted prior acquisitions as well, although not obviously quite the same size as the Datawatch, it's been essentially the same fundamental process for us converting into a HyperWorks Units and then we clearly lose the individualized revenue streams that are acquired.

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

All right, understood. And then just the other part was again now that we're four quarters into 606, there is no additional headwind or tailwind impact to the top line from that. Everything should be normalized. Correct?

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, that's absolutely correct.

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

All right, great. Thank you, guys.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Sterling.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Rich Valera with Needham & Company. Your line is open.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Thank you. Just a follow-up on the Datawatch contribution. For 4Q, I think you said it wasn't meaningful, Howard, but I think Jim actually referred to a seven-figure deal that you got during the quarter. So I'm just wondering did they contribute maybe $2 million in 4Q in that couple weeks or if there is any color you could give on Datawatch's contribution to 4Q?

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

Rich, it's -- there really was a pretty negligible impact overall on the revenue in Q4. We owned them for essentially 18 days, of which it includes Christmas and New Year. So I would -- I'm not going to say it's zero dollars but really quite negligible.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Got it. And then just on the expense side, the non-GAAP net income I think came in lower than we expected, despite a decent top line beat. Was there something acquisition related that you didn't back out of that non-GAAP net income?

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

No, not acquisition related; actually tax related. Specifically as I think you're aware, we're in a full valuation allowance on our US tax attributes because of our NSO deductions and such. So the foreign taxes that we pay -- the foreign taxes withheld at source and our US tax credits, we don't get to, if you will, recognize the value of that, and that was really accelerated in Q4. So that's really the impact there. It's all about tax.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Got it. And then, Jim, just wanted to ask a question about SimSolid. Obviously, some pretty exciting initial results there. And you talked about I think kind of a three-year timeframe thinking that could be really significant. Is there any kind of range you'd be willing to put on the kind of revenue potential you see for this down the road? If it's -- if it's not specifically three years, just how material do you think that could be relative to your current product revenue run rate?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I guess I'd rather not put a very specific figure on there. Yeah, I'd rather not do that. I apologize, Rich.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Another thought on that. Just you've -- sounds like as a stand-alone product, it's getting a lot of uptake. But I think you alluded to the potential for that to be used more in a design environment and integrating it into the Inspire products. So have you looked at also just sort of integrating that into other perhaps third-party 3D CAD tools as kind of an embedded simulation engine? Is that -- just wonder where you're thinking on that front?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So we're open to that actually, but we haven't specifically explored (ph) that yet. We're not close to it, but it's (multiple speaker) for us.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Got you. And then just one final question on kind of the general environment -- sort of general demand environment relative to the last couple of quarters and where you guys are in kind of the process of increasing your go-to-market capacity, which you really started I think a couple years ago. But can you just give us a sense, any change -- it sounds like the environment continues to be very good, so my sense is no changes if I had to reach your tone. But if you could give us a sense on that and sort of where you are in kind of that sales force ramp-up you've been undertaking?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So we are -- we are still pretty focused on growing the capacity for sure. One of the key things we are focused a lot on, though, is process. And so we are looking to, if you will, structure the sales process a little more and actually the Datawatch acquisition's helpful for us. They were very organized and very process-centric group, and we see a lot of learning from them, particularly the way they do inside sales. And we've made some moves including a recent executive that we brought in who has, let's say, more process orientation to his sales experience. So that, combined with some other things we've been doing over the last couple years. Also on the tools that we use, we see continuing to grow the capacity, but also grow the structure, if you will, around and the infrastructure around sales.

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. Thank you.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure, Rich. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Matt Hedberg with RBC Capital Markets. Your line is open.

Matthew Swanson -- RBC Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

Thanks. This is actually Matt Swanson on for Matt. Jim, I know it's really early days here, but can you comment on kind of the early reaction you're getting from your installed base on Datawatch and how that's kind of impacted your ideas around cross selling?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It is very, very early days. We created this sort of SWAT team, just a few people. And they've been out to several of the regions already. We've had a lot of interest, actually more than I might have even expected. And there's a lot of interest from my own organization as well, and we want to manage that carefully. So the reaction in general is pretty positive. I think we have to take our time a bit, get our arms around. Some of the go-to market there, we're just learning and exploring, but by middle of the year, I think we're going to be able to go much faster.

Matthew Swanson -- RBC Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

That's great. And then -- and then it was also great to hear about all the large auto deals that you won in Europe. Just kind of looking at the general PMI data recently, it seems like there might be a little general manufacturing softness in the EMEA region. Have you noticed anything, customer conversations? It sounds like generally things are looking good, but (inaudible) see any macro specific concerns in the region?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We're not seeing that and we have a particularly strong organization, I would say, in the EMEA region. Sometimes a downturn actually helps us. I've talked about that before. But right now, frankly, we're still seeing a lot of strength. So I don't know what will happen next year, but this year things look very solid.

Matthew Swanson -- RBC Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

Thank you.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Josh Tilton with Berenberg. Your line is open.

Joshua Tilton -- Berenberg Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks for taking my question. In regards to the go-to-market strategy for Datawatch within the Altair customer base, is there a plan to expand beyond this overlap theme (ph)? And then how fast can the sale force ramp behind the strategy?

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So there's two -- there's two pockets, if you will, in the existing customer base: one is traditional Datawatch customers which is financial organizations and data scientists; and then the second is some of the engineering opportunities and the synergies that we've talked about. So it's a mix. We are beginning to train and we're going to build some materials to bring our own account executives up to speed, and they are joining some of the meetings little by little and that's how they're learning. Frankly speaking, the products I think are quite good. Under the Units model, I think it's going to be a very compelling story. And I think we're going to be able to communicate pretty effectively what the strengths and weaknesses of these products are very soon.

Joshua Tilton -- Berenberg Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And I'm currently showing no further questions at this time. I'd like to turn the call back over to Jim Scapa for closing remarks.

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, OK, I'm sorry, I thought there was one more. So thank you all very much for joining the call. Appreciate the interest in our company and our business. I do want to point out that we are going to have an Analyst Day on March 12 at our headquarters in Troy, Michigan. And so we invite those interested to attend. Thank you very much.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference. Thanks for your participation and have a wonderful day.

Duration: 41 minutes

Call participants:

Howard N. Morof -- Chief Financial Officer

James R. Scapa -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sterling Auty -- JPMorgan Securities LLC -- Analyst

Richard Valera -- Needham & Co. LLC -- Analyst

Matthew Swanson -- RBC Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

Joshua Tilton -- Berenberg Capital Markets LLC -- Analyst

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