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Pegasystems Inc (NASDAQ:PEGA)
Q3 2020 Earnings Call
Oct 28, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Pegasystems Third Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Ken Stillwell. Please go ahead.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Thank you. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Pegasystems Q3 2020 Earnings Call. Before we begin, I'd like to read our safe harbor statement. Certain statements contained in this presentation may be construed as forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

The words expects, anticipates, intends, plans, believes, will, could, should, estimates, may, targets, strategies, intends to, projects, forecasts, guidance, likely and usually or variations of such words and other similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date the statement was made and are based on current expectations and assumptions. Because such statements deal with future events, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties.

Actual results for fiscal year 2020 and beyond could differ materially from the company's current expectations. Factors that could cause the company's results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements are contained in the company's press release announcing its Q3 2020 earnings and in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, and other recent filings with the SEC.

Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, and there are no assurances that the matters contained in such statements will be achieved. Although subsequent events may cause our view to change, except as required by applicable law, we do not undertake and specifically disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new information, future events or otherwise.

And with that, I'll turn the call over to Alan Trefler, Founder and CEO of Pegasystems.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Ken. Here, the highlights were strong. Our results in Q3 demonstrate our ability to forge through and succeed during this challenging time. Our business continued to perform well due to several major factors. Digital transformation is existential for our clients. It is central to their continued existence and prosperity, and an increasing percentage of our revenue is predictable and recurring.

Through Q3, our total ACV, which we consider the best indicator of our improving cash flows and underlying business growth, increased by 21% year-over-year in constant currency, with 2/3 of our new business coming from Pega Cloud in this quarter. We continue to extend our leadership in key markets that are less adversely affected by the pandemic, markets such as financial services, government, healthcare and insurance and telecom. And by working with large global organizations, we're able to work with organizations that can withstand the short-term effects of today's market and in fact, find their needs increased.

As noted previously, we have a strong cash position to help us through this period of uncertainty, so we can continue to invest for long-term growth. Now we are now more than about halfway through the transition to recurring. And as we start to get closer to completing this transition, unsurprisingly, our cash flow should and will start to improve. We anticipate that both cash and revenue will start to be a better reflection of the health of the business, notwithstanding the lumpiness of any quarter.

Our team remains strong, resilient and committed to the success of our clients and Pega, and I remain deeply respectful of how they and our clients are engaging as we collectively navigate through this ongoing time of uncertainty. Now in terms of client trends, our sample is ideally suited for organizations that continue to face immediate challenges today, even as they know they need to transform for tomorrow. We are handling problems that, in many cases, no one else can solve, from visionary goals to quick fixes and everything in between.

Pega crushes business complexity in given this, well, complicated and ever-changing world. Our software is the engine that makes solutions clearer, relationships smoother and helps our clients delight their customers and bring siloed teams together. We continue to improve our software to make it easier for clients to enhance customer engagement, boost their employee satisfaction, all increasing while they increase efficiency and reduce costs. Now key industry analysts continue to see Pega improving.

And our Pega Infinity ratings is one of the important ways that we develop confidence that our significant R&D investments are successful. For example, since we last spoke, we are the undisputed overall leader in the just-published Forrester prestigious Real-Time Interaction Management Wave, ahead of 12 other players, including Salesforce and SAP. The reality is that this idea of having a brain to drive and control and optimize interactions really is resonating with organizations.

We released our last version of our unified Pega Infinity product suite, and I want to give a big thank you to everyone across the Pega organization, who put so much effort into planning, developing and delivering the tremendous features and working so closely with our clients to make sure we were working on the right stuff. We launched Value Finder, a new AI-powered capability that helps organizations engage underserved customers with messages and offers designed for their specific needs.

This is part of the Pega Customer Decision Hub and expands the power of our one-to-one customer engagement to ensure that all customers get personalized, high-empathy treatment, not just the premier customers that historically have typically gotten the most attention. And we are named a visionary in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation. Now our new business continues to be strongest in our traditional areas of financial services, government, telecom, healthcare, insurance and the industries that I indicated are more resilient during the pandemic.

And this quarter, our largest new business assessment were with other divisions of existing clients, but we continued to score new logos as well. This is a good indication of our ability to continue to radiate through our excellent customer base, where it remains enormous potential, but also being able to find new clients to move into. We've been doubling down on our efforts to further penetrate our largest clients, particularly as we believe they will be least impacted by an ongoing pandemic, they have major strategic digital transformation needs that we can help with.

For example, in terms of some of the recent work that we've done, in financial services, an existing banking client, CIBC, is making major use of the Pega Customer Decision Hub at the center of the bank's enterprise decision and servicing platform to really support their full-fledged modernization. A great example of the power cloud choice, we're also working with the bank to migrate their Pega applications to Pega Cloud and double the capacity. This is for the system that will be used to support more than 11 million customers across 30,000 bank personnel.

It will connect everything, all facets, from onboarding to account servicing. In telecoms, our client, Telefonica, expanded their use of Pega Cloud to be able to be -- have Pega orchestrate intelligent customer journeys across all engagement channels for their 25 million customers. Part of a broad digital transformation to reimagine their customer experience and consolidate technology, leading to a more effective marketing and service operation for customer satisfaction and growth.

And in government, the Air Force, who has been a client since 2016 when they were looking for a solution that could truly scale and handle their modernization, has chosen Pega to be a major part of the plans for near-term and future. And we're expanding our work with them, with plans to expand from six applications to more than 100, supporting more than 10,000 users. This is a great example also of Cloud Choice. And we continue to find that these government agencies have needs in the present and will have needs in the future, not just driven by the pandemic, but driven by a well-understood requirement to modernize.

I also want to take a minute to acknowledge our work with the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census ended its 2020 decennial count on October 15, and it was the largest peace time mobilization in our country. And of course, the Census is a cornerstone of our democracy. Our sample was used in multiple ways throughout the project. Most importantly, as the case management system processing every single survey response, regardless of whether it came in online, by phone or through the mobile devices powered by our software.

Now it's clear that there were and continue to be lots of politics around this program. However, we're happy that our part worked at massive scale, supporting hundreds of thousands of concurrent mobile users. It was a tremendous technical success, one we're proud of, and it demonstrates that Pega software and our team are capable of handling really critical and mission-critical projects. And finally, as a reminder, we can also support smaller organizations. We extended work this quarter with water in New South Wales, which manages a water allocation territory in a -- in roughly the size of Texas.

Our software is being used to manage about 50,000 allocation licenses and as part of the modernization program designed to put their customers at the stature of a new digitally enabled and managed water network. So it's great to be able to have technologies that can both do sophisticated and capable and crush complexity there and at the same time, be able to handle the entirety. And that's what we are continuing to invest in and continuing to build. Now I'm asked sometimes about the impact of COVID and our response, we continue to look at our response for the pandemic and adjust it as necessary.

And I'm, frankly, extremely pleased with our ability to operate effectively during this difficult and uncertain time. We continue to function successfully as a nearly 100% remote workforce and expect we will do so through the winter. We are reevaluating how we work as a result of the pandemic and know our clients as well -- do as well. I actually think we're going to continue to see more interested clients with profound digital transformation that is just being reinforced by what organizations are going through.

We are confident in our ability to come out of this crisis a much stronger company in the long term, and we remain very grateful for the continued support of our staff, our clients and our partners and the strong commitment of those we're working with. We continue to support the greater Pega Community and those who are particularly challenged by this crisis. In summary, our results through Q3, in particular, our ACV growth and cloud momentum, demonstrate our ability to manage through this pandemic.

It's terrific to see our industry analysts and prospects are viewing the power of what we do, but we're focused on finishing up the year very strongly and driving business to really continue to move Pega forward. And I also want to mention that you may recall that we announced on June one that we had hired Hayden Stafford as President of Global Client Engagement. This is a new role to unify Pega's corporate strategy, marketing, go-to-market and services functions. I'm really pleased how we have engaged with the team and clients during this first full quarter in Pega, and I'm very, very excited.

So with this, and to provide more color on the financial results, Ken, let me turn it back to you.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Thanks, Alan. It's clear that our Pega Cloud business continues to expand at a rapid pace, reflecting the solid execution of our strategy to lead with Pega Cloud. It's also awesome to see the improvement in Pega Cloud gross margin, which have improved significantly year-over-year. For those of you that -- who are newer to the Pega story, we accelerated our transition to Pega Cloud at the start of 2018, moving from a business that primarily sold perpetual software licenses to a business that primarily sells recurring cloud arrangements.

A cloud transition typically takes a software company four to five years to complete. We estimate that we're about 60% of the way through our cloud transition. What this means is that customers have largely moved away from deploying Pega under perpetual licensing. Now almost all our new client commitments are cloud. These customers are either subscribing to Pega Cloud, a cloud deployment that we manage, or Client Cloud, a cloud deployment that our clients manage on their cloud of choice. As a result, our total software revenue mix has shifted largely to recurring.

In fact, through the first nine months of 2020, more than 90% of our software revenue is recurring. Pega is well on its way to remaking itself as a subscription software company. But this significant multiyear shift from perpetual to cloud arrangements has implications for our reported financial results, as I mentioned every quarter. It delays significant revenue recognition and cash collection in future periods, causing some odd optics for revenue, cash flow and profitability. We expect that revenue growth, cash flow and profitability will normalize as we finish our cloud transition in early 2023.

However, we're confident that this move to a recurring revenue model in cloud computing will help us set up for the next phase of growth. As our cloud transition continues, the most important metric that reflects the successful execution of our strategy is growth in annual contract value, or ACV. ACV represents the annualized value of our active contract as of the reporting date. We're pleased to report that it's been over two years that we reported year-over-year ACV growth of 20% or higher each and every quarter, which is a step-up from the mid-teens growth in ACV that we delivered prior to our shift to cloud.

As of September 30, 2020, ACV on a constant currency basis increased by 21% from the same period one year ago to $777 million. Although an increase of 21% is respectable, we aspire to further accelerate our ACV growth rate, and we continue to add go-to-market capacity to pursue the massive and growing digital transformation market opportunity. From Q3 2019 to Q3 2020, Pega Cloud ACV grew by 57% and Client Cloud ACV increased by 10%. Both of these growth rates are in constant currency.

The second most important metric during the cloud transition is Remaining Performance Obligation, RPO, also referred to as backlog. Backlog represents client contractual commitments for which revenue has yet been recognized. Our total backlog increased by 38% or $229 million to $838 million year-over-year. This $229 million increase to backlog is the largest we've delivered since we started tracking it, a reflection of the commitments our clients are making in Pega Solutions. In fact, 66% of our new client commitments were Pega Cloud in Q3 2020, which is 16 percentage points higher than the approximately 50% we were tracking at through the first half of 2020.

It's important to understand, especially during our cloud transition, that our bookings mix of Pega Cloud can vary quarter-to-quarter, which impacts our current period reported revenue. This is because the majority of the value from Pega Cloud bookings goes into backlog and is recognized as revenue in future periods. In contrast, a majority of license revenue from perpetual client arrangements recognize this revenue in the quarter when the deal is booked. We estimate that every annualized one percentage point change in the mix of Pega Cloud booking versus an annualized historical mix of 50% impacts reported revenue by about $4 million on an annual basis.

To really understand the financials of this business during the cloud transition, it's very important to not just look at one measure. And instead, you have to look at ACV, revenue and backlog. For example, if ACV goes up, the backlog goes down, well, we haven't done as good a job being ourselves for the future. And this is further compounded by the cloud transition, which has a deferral effect on reported revenue, which is why we're looking so much to ACV growth to measure our business momentum. Moving to margin. I think I'm equally excited about the improvement in Pega Cloud margin.

As Pega Cloud gross margins increased an impressive 1,500 basis points, going from 49% in Q3 2019 to 64% in Q3 2020. Credit goes to our product development and cloud teams, where we've made noticeable improvement in the profitability of Pega Cloud. Operationally, I want to reiterate how pleased I am that Hayden Stafford joined Pega earlier this year as President of Global Client Engagement. Before joining Pega, Hayden helped grow his business unit at his last employer by over 300%, going from about $1 billion to over $3 billion in a relatively short period of time.

Ironically, Hayden joined Pega as we approached $1 billion of annual revenue. Over the last two years, we've invested significantly in our go-to-market engine with a strong focus on adding sales capacity. We've begun to see the increased level of client engagement, which leads to building a strong pipeline that when converted, will drive further acceleration of our ACV growth. Especially given this investment, improving sales effectiveness remains a critical ingredient of our strategy for margin improvement for which Hayden is highly committed and motivated to drive.

So let's turn to a few other details. Now that I'm past the midpoint of our cloud transition, revenue and ACV growth percentages started to converge and will continue to do so during the remaining two years of our transition. In the first nine months, our success in closing new and expansion Pega Cloud and Client Cloud deals drove our growth in term license, cloud and maintenance revenue, which makes up our recurring revenue sources. Total subscription revenue for the first nine months of 2020 increased by 27% year-over-year, soaring from $424 million to $538 million, an increase of over $100 million.

Largely because of the convertible debt offering we completed in February, Pega finished the period with total cash and marketable securities of $468 million on September 30, 2020, compared to $512 million at the end of the prior quarter. During the first nine months, we returned about $84 million to shareholders comprised of dividends, buybacks and net settlements and equity.

We ended the quarter with over 5,700 employees worldwide, an increase of 13% from one year ago. In conclusion, we're looking forward to Q4 and closing out 2020, a year that's truly been like no other in history of enterprise software. Like our peers, we always have quite a bit of wood to chop in Q4 because it's a critically important sales quarter. We're focused on finishing the year strong, positioning our company to deliver even higher growth rates and margins in the future.

Operator, please open the line for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And we'll take our first question from Chris Merwin from Goldman Sachs. Please go ahead.

Kevin -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hi. This is Kevin [Phonetic] on for Chris. Thanks for taking my question. Congrats on a great quarter. I guess a question on cloud backlog, which accelerated nicely in the quarter. Can you talk maybe a bit more about the drivers of strength there? Are you seeing improvements to sales cycles? And how is duration trending for deals?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

So, I find that first, but -- oh, go ahead, Alan.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

No, go ahead. Go ahead, Ken.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

So, what I was going to say is some of it is math. And the fact that we had such a big cloud mix in the quarter, 66%, you would expect that our revenue would be lower in the quarter, and you would build more backlog, but that -- if that trend continues, naturally, that Pega Cloud backlog is the lifeline for our future revenue.

So, some of it is just the very strong momentum of Pega Cloud that actually helps build that, and some of it is the fact that clients, when they look at Pega's offerings -- our Pega Cloud offering is now much more prominent and much more interesting for our clients than when we first started to talk about it, three or four or five years ago. So, some of it is the momentum of just the math of a quarter. But in general, we're seeing more and more clients engage with us around Pega Cloud. So sorry, Alan, go ahead.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

And I was going to say, we've seen a number of clients think that Pega is the best company to run Pega. Client Cloud, I think, is very important. And when a customer is moving its entire data center infrastructure to an Azure or Google app, then they may want to have their Pega infrastructure since we're so tied into their systems, really is part of the way they think about their technology sector. But for lots of customers that say, "Hey, we know that you'll be able to make it easier for us to tune, to grow and to build," so I think it's just a maturation in the market of how we talk about it and our very strong success with it.

Kevin -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Great. That's helpful. And then I guess one on cloud gross margins. Obviously, you saw a really nice sequential improvement there, more than we've seen typically. Anything to call out other than kind of general scale efficiency that's helping that metric?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Yes. So the great thing about -- as I'm sure many of you know, the great thing about software is that it's highly leveraged at the margin line. The thing with SaaS is that it is also highly leveraged as you scale at the margin line if you have an efficient cloud operations or SaaS operations. And as we -- when we were a smaller scale, we weren't as efficient.

And now that we have more scale, there are technical tools that we can use like Kubernetes, like hibernation, like things that we can do to actually become more efficient, but there's also just the natural operating leverage that the more clients you have, you become better and able to handle significant client capacity and get operating leverage out of the amount of people and technology that actually support that.

So we expected our cloud to grow this year. I think we're doing even slightly better than we actually had hoped we'd be at this point. But remember, we still do -- our goal is not 64%, our goal is into the mid-70%. So we still -- we're going on this journey, but we're very happy with where we are right now.

Kevin -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Great, thanks for taking my question.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Jack Andrews from Needham. Please go ahead.

Jack Andrews -- Needham -- Analyst

Okay, guys. Hello. Thanks for taking my question. Yes, I was wondering if you're seeing perhaps a culture change around Pega and your modernization efforts as you continue to penetrate organizations. Meaning that as you continue on your path, more software is getting developed in the hands of more functional users. Are people now waking up to really what is the art of the possible, I guess, with Pega and all the possibilities? Or is there still some work to do on that front?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

No, it's organization by organization because you really need to be able to show people, I think, the great possibilities. But our customers are doing a good job, a very good job of being able to show what's possible and being willing to talk publicly about it at considerable detail, not at the 30,000-foot level summary, but really, actually, talking about how -- for example, the CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia attributed the fact that they outperformed all of their peers to what he -- what they call their customer engagement engine, which they've been very public in acknowledging it's Pega, they just do a brilliant job with it.

So I think we are seeing that recognition that Pega can both help them materially change their game. And frankly, I'm getting lots of positive feedback on the architectural changes we've been doing as part of Project FNX, which is introducing a very microservices-oriented, very lighter approach to how Pega looks for our customers, particularly, for those customers who are Client Cloud, who care -- tend to care about that more.

Jack Andrews -- Needham -- Analyst

Great. No, I appreciate that. And just as a quick follow-up, when we talk about the divergence in growth rates between Pega Cloud versus Client Cloud, do you expect that to continue? Or should these growth rates perhaps converge over time?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

No. I think that Pega Cloud will grow at a faster pace for some time because, one, it's a more prominent deployment -- desired deployment model for clients. That's point one. Point two is, you are starting Pega Cloud as slightly smaller than Client Cloud, and so, you do get the advantage of having a more accelerated percentage growth. But I do see clients wanting both, wanting the option of having both. But I do think, at least for the next couple of years, the math of the growth rate certainly would -- I would think, would skew more toward Pega Cloud.

Jack Andrews -- Needham -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks and congratulations on the results.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Mark Murphy from JPMorgan. Please go ahead.

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Great job on the backlog piece. Alan, I think you had mentioned this focus on finishing up the year pretty strongly. I'm wondering if you could maybe just speak to the texture of the Q4 pipeline. In other words, is it lumpy or is it pretty well-diversified? And do you have any sense that there's a fairly normal or healthy Q4 budget flush environment, I guess, at least for the digital transformation projects that are out there?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Well, because we're managing to ACV, right, which is a recurring forward-looking way, I don't think for the last couple of years, frankly, budget flush has mattered as much as it did in the old perpetual base. The reality is, as Ken said, we have a lot of wood to chop in Q4, we always do. But I'm pretty comfortable that there's a lot of wood there to chop, that the pipeline is strong and people are certainly working really hard.

But we are in an unpredictable environment and not just the pandemic, but politically, but I'm really thrilled that we would have been able to report such strength for Q1, Q2 and Q3. And I've got a lot of confidence in this team. So we'll -- we're working as hard as you can see.

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Yes, understood. Okay. And then, Ken, I wanted to ask you as well just on the international piece of the business, are there any customer discussions or any pipeline in Europe that are -- that's seeing impact of the COVID flare-ups in this second wave of lockdowns? Or is there any reason to expect some volatility in Europe?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

So I -- it is a little early with the Germany and France situation. So -- I mean just -- that's only really emerged in the last few days. What I would say though is -- and there hasn't -- no, I've not -- none that I know of. But what I would also say is remember the lockdowns that we had back at the beginning part of the year. And our clients largely forged right through that period of time. And so given that any lockdown that you -- at least what I read, any lockdowns that you see now are not going to be as dramatic as what we saw earlier in the year.

I would think it -- I would think that it would be no worse than what we saw earlier in the year. And we did see some impacts here and there, there's no doubt, but it didn't materialize into impacting our growth trajectory. So I wouldn't say that we're at a stage right now where that is something we're preparing for, which is massive spend reduction because of it. Anything can happen, but that's not something we're thinking about right now.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

[Speech Overlap] This is why we're advantaged by the customers that we have that have shown -- if you think about it, when the lockdowns first happened, it was a little horrifying because nobody knew what to expect. If we go back to more lockdowns now -- I was on the video chat with a major French organization today, and they understand that the additional transformation has to continue whatever happens.

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Yes. I see. Okay. Ken, one last quick one. Again, understanding the ACV piece and the backlog piece, very, very robust and realizing term licenses are not the focus here, but can you just speak to that? Were there any particular verticals or transactions on the term license side where that might have gone one way or the other in Q3? And just any feeling on maybe -- is there anything we should be thinking through on that term license piece of it for Q4?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Sure. So just to remind you that the two -- the second quarter and the third quarter are typically not big renewal quarters, right? It's typically -- our biggest renewal quarter is Q4, as you can imagine, because that's when a lot of our historical bookings happen, and sometimes the renewals leak into Q1. So in terms of revenue from term licenses, which, as you know, come upfront under 606. Q2 and Q3 typically, do not have a significant amount of that. Q4 has some and so does Q1.

I think the bigger kind of behind your question a little bit is that I've been seeing -- and I'm very close to the deals at Pega, probably even more so than most CFOs because of the -- some of the functions that report into me, but I'm very close to deals. And I will tell you, there are a lot of deals that start one way and go the other, start term, go cloud, start cloud, go term, that happens all the time in a Cloud Choice model.

I have been seeing more of a prominence of things landing at Pega Cloud over the last five or six months, and I do think that might be just the majority of Pega Cloud. So what that would mean to me is that the growth rate of Pega Cloud could be sustainable and this term license -- then the variability of term licenses wouldn't be as big of a factor as we finish the cloud transition, if that's helpful.

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Understand. Thank you very much.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Relative to what Ken was just saying, the cloud operations now report into Ken, so he has a very close access to those implementing or helping implement and being aware and improving our cloud operations. And he's been doing a great job with that.

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

We will now take our next question from Mohit Gogia from Barclays. Please go ahead.

Mohit Gogia -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Thanks for taking my question. Congrats on a solid quarter. Alan, I was just wondering, so Q3, obviously, a big start of the quarter for everyone and you did outline some key deals in that vertical. But just, can you give us more color as to how that business performed relative to your expectations going -- in the pipeline that you had going into Q3? And what are the -- sort of like anything to call out in terms of the shape and form of deals, maybe the deal cycles? So, I just wanted to get more color on the federal performance this quarter.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

I didn't hear the vertical you mentioned. I'm sorry. Can you repeat it?

Mohit Gogia -- Barclays -- Analyst

Federal?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, federal. Yes. Well, look, federal, I think it's not just U.S. Federal, but governments globally. We've been seeing a lot of activity in everything from the U.K. government to the German government to the, obviously, the U.S. government and I mentioned the small Australia deal. The nature of that business, I think, was slowed by the pandemic a bit, but then really kicked in. And the pipeline there is all very, very nice and as we would hope and want. So I think that the -- being able to make governments more efficient and able to handle some of what's clearly going to be a long-term sort of set of issues isn't going away, and I think will continue quite strong as I expect next year as well.

Mohit Gogia -- Barclays -- Analyst

Got it. And the follow-up question I have is on the Pega Cloud piece. So, the new client commitments seem to be really sort of like inflecting as you saw this quarter. But I'm just wondering, as we stick here, right, as we look toward Q4 and also for next year, how do you think about sort of like maybe moving the maintenance customers over to Pega Cloud? Is there -- do you think that the time has come sort of like to put more formal programs in place to do that? Or do you think that should be first more initiatives rather than sort of like a sales incentive initiative? That's it from my side.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

So we're doing -- that's a good question. We're doing some. But unlike some companies, we'd much rather sell a new piece of business on Pega Cloud than move an existing customer on Pega Cloud, unless it's going to lead to much greater radiation. So we're not -- I know there are some other companies that basically, going out and saying, "We want to get all our customers on to Pega Cloud." And we're doing it more as it makes sense for that customer as opposed to just trying to drive what, frankly, would risk being a short-term burst, a year or two burst of bookings. We really want to make it so we're growing that business as opposed to just converting it, if that makes sense.

Mohit Gogia -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thanks, sir.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Yes. And I'll add one clarification on that. Two years ago, we weren't ready to do that. We didn't have -- we weren't as confident to take out all the new growth of Pega Cloud and convert clients. That is no longer a gate. We feel very comfortable to move clients. But to Alan's point, we want to move them when they're looking at increasing their footprint with Pega, that's the opportune time to actually make that transition, not just go to clients that are perfectly comfortable in the environment and try to, in some way, force them or incent them to move unnecessarily. We're trying to do that in an orderly fashion.

Operator

We will now take our next question from Pat Walravens from JMP Securities. Please go ahead.

Mark -- JMP Securities -- Analyst

Hi. This is Mark [Phonetic] on for Pat. Thank you so much for taking my question. So, you mentioned in terms of the strength in the robotic process, that segment, so I was wondering, have you seen any changes in that after the pandemic? Thank you.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So it's interesting because as people who are new to this industry may not be aware, we view robotic process automation as very much an adjunct to end-to-end automation. There's been a lot of talk about how dropping these robots in is going to just automatically revolutionize the way the companies work. And the reality is, as we entirely expected, organizations are finding that what they really want to do is hook their robots into a backbone, but the backbone is in control as opposed to having all these little disjointed robots doing it.

And the -- we now support -- with our recent releases, we support looking into other brands of robots, so they don't have to rip them out. But we've had some very large organizations that have said, "Boy, it's really clear that when you have a Pega end-to-end process, you're automating and you're using a Pega robot, then everything works exactly in the right way and you're not biasing things toward like robotic desktop." So, it's not just getting better scores with analysts, which we love getting, we're seeing customers really starting to understand that more deeply. And that drives not just our -- robotic process automation part of our business, which is doing nicely, but it also drives the entire Pega Infinity end-to-end story.

Mark -- JMP Securities -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you so much.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Yun Kim from Loop Capital Partners. Please go ahead.

Yun Kim -- Loop Capital Partners -- Analyst

Thank you. First, congrats on a very strong quarter, Alan and Ken. Have you focused more on increasing your penetration within your large customer base? Should we expect to see client cloud growth perhaps reaccelerate here from the current low teens to mid-teens or even higher? Or do you expect those large existing customers to also begin to adopt Pega Cloud more meaningfully for new projects, especially on larger-size projects?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Well, it's interesting. We've seen some of those very large additional penetrations into Pega Cloud, and that's been really quite -- it's really quite gratifying. We have some enormous systems running on Pega Cloud. So as Ken said earlier, a lot of times, the decision as to which form of agreement they want. It ends up flipping back and forth right up to the very last moment. And so, it's almost hard for me to give you guidance as to what that trend line is firmly going to be, but there's a lot of enthusiasm about it.

Yun Kim -- Loop Capital Partners -- Analyst

Okay. Great.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

One additional point to that, just one additional point. So we get about 75% -- in 2020, about 75% of our new bookings are with our existing logos. So, given that our cloud percentage is so high, I think you could do the math just quickly and know that our existing clients are buying Pega Cloud at a pretty hefty pace as well.

Yun Kim -- Loop Capital Partners -- Analyst

Okay. Great. That sounds really good. It seems like there's a transition point coming up or already been there. But Ken, on Pega Cloud, it sounds like -- obviously, the new customer add has been pretty consistently strong for that cloud business, but can you give us any sense on how the velocity of the expansion or even really the expansion rate has been trending for that business?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Yes. So I don't think there's a good metric I could disclose right now on that, and let me explain why. The common NRR, or Net Retention Rate or Net Expansion Rate, really applies to clients that have a deployment and they're increasing usage. If you look at the growth of Pega Cloud for us, I would say most of it is coming actually from new client environments going on to Pega Cloud as opposed to somebody starting off with 100 users and moving to 1,000.

So, I think at some point in the future, that will be a more interesting metric. But right now, most of our Pega Cloud growth is actually new client environments going on to Pega Cloud, which then gives us the room to grow off of that initial footprint. So, I think we're still early in Pega Cloud in terms of that being the most meaningful metric.

Yun Kim -- Loop Capital Partners -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you so much.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Steve Enders from KeyBanc. Please go ahead.

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Hi. Great. Thanks for taking my question. I'm just wondering now that we're six months into the pandemic and everyone working from home, have you seen any change in the mix of project use cases that customers are bringing in to you?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think that they've gotten more strategic. In the early days, you had a lot of sort of panic reaction, but the discussions we're having now are really consistent -- if you want to get a real understanding of the vision that I think is resonating extremely well, I have my 16-minute keynote from PegaWorld in June. And this concept of a center-out business architecture to really think about the work and decisions your business is making is really resonating, and those are more strategic initiatives. And there's a lot of time and a lot of attention that organization is being spent on those.

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Okay. That's great. And then I guess just on the cloud side, I know you're saying that you think that -- you think Pega Cloud is, I guess, more ready for some of these customer use cases. Should we expect, I guess, from here, the mix of new business coming into trend more toward the 2/3 cloud mix this quarter versus kind of the 50% expected? Or how should we kind of think about that from here?

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

I'm going to leave that crystal ball to Ken.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

I mean -- I think -- so, specifically, we're talking about Pega Cloud. So, your question was around Pega Cloud growth rate? Sorry, I broke there for a second.

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

No. It was about the mix that we should have...

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

I think it was about the mix.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Yes. The mix, the Pega Cloud. Great. Yes. Sorry. So I don't -- I keep saying that the mix at 50% is something that we've seen more quarters than we haven't, as you know. But every once in a while, a quarter jumps up a little bit. I don't know if that's a trend or if that just happens to be an anomaly of a quarter. But I'll tell you, the feeling I have is that Pega Cloud has momentum, let me just say it that way, but the mix could stay at 50%. I just felt it's hard for me to guess. But I will say that I would be surprised if the percentage dropped well below 50% for a number of sequential quarters. I think that's not the way the business feels to me.

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Just a quick follow-up on that. Do you think there's anything related to work from home and, I guess, less ability to go into data centers that could be having an impact on that near-term mix?

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Yes, absolutely, that has a factor. I mean there's no doubt. I mean our clients -- companies, in general, pretty much everybody you talk to, is reimagining the workplace, reimagining the work location. And they realize that if they have call centers, that call center doesn't need to be everybody going into an actual building together. And so, if you just use call center as just one of the use cases, I definitely think people are going to move to more browser-based interactions. And they're going to need to have people in different locations. And that plays right into digital transformation, Pega and also, in Pega Cloud.

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Thanks for taking our question.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Mark Schappel from Benchmark. Please go ahead.

Mark Schappel -- Benchmark -- Analyst

All right. Thank you for taking my question. Alan, starting with you, just building on one of the prior questions on your federal business, which has been building quite nicely over the past few years. The government sector is a very large space, especially in the federal sector. I was wondering if you could just review the type of government use cases where you believe Pega is particularly strong.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

So, one of the things that Pega is extremely strong at is process automation and case management, which is the heart of our business. And if you look at the government, it is full of what you refer to as case management, whether it's actually processing applications, licensing of businesses, handling requests for health or assistance, all of these fit perfectly into the model. And if you go to our website and watch my keynote, you'll see something that when government people see this, they say, "Boy, this was really designed for the type of work of -- that we're doing." So it's an awesome fit for modernizations, and they know they need to monitor.

Mark Schappel -- Benchmark -- Analyst

Great. And then, Ken, one for you. A question on extended payment terms. Last quarter, you mentioned that you were seeing some customers request some extended payment terms. Just wondering if there's still some customers asking that.

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

So, they don't -- it does happen infrequently, but it does happen, but I'll use a better metric for that. And Mark -- and it is DSO. So if you look at days sales outstanding, our days sales outstanding at the end of Q3 have -- it -- they peaked in Q2, and they've now come back to Q4 and Q1 levels of last year. So I think what happened was in Q2 of this year, our Q2, June 30, you did see some people dragging out payments a little bit. That seems to have corrected at the end of Q3.

Mark Schappel -- Benchmark -- Analyst

Great. Thank you. That's all. Thanks.

Operator

We'll now take our next question from Rishi Jaluria from D.A. Davidson. Please go ahead.

Rishi Jaluria -- D.A. Davidson -- Analyst

Hello, Alan and Ken. Thanks for taking my question. I wanted to start by going back to new logo land. It sounds like it's healthy and definitely the -- from year-end, it sounds better than at the beginning of the pandemic or even last quarter. Can you speak a little bit to why are you seeing better traction with new logo landing? Is that just customers deeper into the pandemic and out of tree house mode are more willing to have these conversations? Is it better sales execution and better adapting to the current selling environment? Is it investments in products that you've been paying off? Maybe help us understand that.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. And sadly, I think, this is going to have to be the last question because we're already five minutes late for another call. But I would say that a lot of it is changes in our behavior in terms of stepping back, thinking about how we need to reach out differently, being more focused. I actually think a lot of this is in our hands and also being more selective about where we go because some of the folks who you would have perhaps marketed to in January as new logos are clearly not the right places to go now.

Though we have had buys that -- I think I mentioned them on the previous earnings call, about how Cathay, the airline, decided that they needed us to help them get out of the current problems and put controls. So, we do find these as exceptions. But I think we're trying to be more selective and smarter about where we are. [Speech Overlap] Let's talk again, Rishi. Thank you.

Rishi Jaluria -- D.A. Davidson -- Analyst

Yes. I'll just say, that's my question for our call now. Thanks.

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

So, operator, I'll just close it out right now. As it were, I'd just like to thank all of our investors and the analysts and everybody who joined us and the Pega staff and customers who would be on the call. Thank you very much, everybody. You know we have a lot of work to do, but we're working really hard. And we're feeling like we're all in the same boat. We're all in the same storm, but we're in very different boats.

And thankfully, our boat is one that has made us through these first three quarters, I think, in -- if you look at ACV growth and if you look at backlog, which are the two things we think are the critical ways to judge how our business is done -- our business has done, it's been terrific. So, thank you, everybody. Thank you, everyone, for your support and looking forward to talking to you at the end of the next quarter. Bye, everybody.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 50 minutes

Call participants:

Kenneth Stillwell -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Alan Trefler -- Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Kevin -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Jack Andrews -- Needham -- Analyst

Mark Murphy -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Mohit Gogia -- Barclays -- Analyst

Mark -- JMP Securities -- Analyst

Yun Kim -- Loop Capital Partners -- Analyst

Steve Enders -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Mark Schappel -- Benchmark -- Analyst

Rishi Jaluria -- D.A. Davidson -- Analyst

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