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Nice Ltd (NICE) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

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NICE earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.

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Nice Ltd (NICE -3.48%)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 18, 2021, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome to the NICE Conference Call discussing Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Results, and thank you all for holding. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, February 18, 2021.

I would now like to turn this call over to Mr. Marty Cohen, Vice President, Investor Relations at NICE. Please go ahead.

Marty Cohen -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. With me on the call today are Barak Eilam, Chief Executive Officer; Beth Gaspich, Chief Financial Officer; and Eran Liron, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development.

Before we start, I would like to point out that some of the statements made on this call will constitute forward-looking statements. In accordance with the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, please be advised that the Company's actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Additional information regarding the factors that could cause actual results or performance of the Company to differ materially is contained in the section entitled Risk Factors, in Item 3 of the Company's 2019 Annual Report on Form 20-F as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 6, 2020.

During today's call, we will present a more detailed discussion of fourth quarter and full-year 2020 results, and the Company's guidance for the first quarter and full-year 2021. Following our comments, there will be an opportunity for questions. Let me remind you that unless otherwise noted on this call, we will be commenting on our adjusted results of operations, which differ in certain respects from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, as reflected mainly in accounting for acquisition-related revenue and expenses, amortization of intangible assets and accounting for stock-based compensation. The differences between the non-GAAP adjusted results and the equivalent GAAP figures are detailed in today's press release.

I will now turn the call over to Barak.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Marty, and welcome everyone. Over the past several years, we have successfully built NICE into a company that is able to quickly transform, and that was no doubt put to the test, as a result of the events that took place last year. We more than just passed the test. We broke barriers, turning 2020 into another groundbreaking year for NICE. Our strategy in the past few years has been to transform our markets with cloud digital platforms that embed artificial intelligence. It was proven to be successful and catalyze our growth.

2020 was an eye opener for organizations of all sizes, realizing that the only viable choice to keep up is to fully embrace cloud, digital, and artificial intelligence. The result is that cloud, digital, and AI adoption has now leaped several years forward. As we are now, the clear market leader in all these domains, we are extremely well positioned to be the platform of choice.

2020 was a standout year for NICE in cloud. We have taken a wide industry lead as we surpassed the mark of nearly 50% of our total revenue coming from the cloud. We exited 2020 with a cloud annual revenue run rate, exceeding $900 million. At the same time, we delivered nearly 400 basis point improvement in cloud gross margin in 2020, compared to 2019, which drove a 90 basis point increase in the operating margin over the same period. Our cloud leadership was driven by accelerating cloud revenue growth throughout 2020, and we ended the full-year 2020 with 31% cloud revenue growth compared to 2019. We owe our strength in the cloud to continued product innovation and strong competitive advantages, provided by our cloud platforms, namely CXone in Customer Engagement, X-Sight and Xceed in Financial Crime and Compliance, and Evidencentral in Public Safety.

We further penetrated new market segments in the cloud, taking our solutions down market and establishing our leadership in this segment, while at the same time, seeing rapid penetration in large enterprises. With CXone, we have established significant beachheads with a record number of customer wins at the high end of the market, replacing the legacy solutions of our competitors along the way. We witnessed further penetration in the international market with CXone, and so a record number of agents on CXone in 2020 as well.

We also opened brand new cloud opportunities in Financial Crime and Compliance with our new Xceed cloud platform, providing a gateway to the lower end of the market encompassing thousands of financial institutions that we may not have had access to in the past. The traction with Xceed has been rapid with new customers already signing on to the new platform. As in Customer Engagement, we now have the entire Financial Crime and Compliance market covered in the cloud with both X-Sight for large financial institutions and Xceed for the small mid-sized market.

And in Public Safety, we had a record year. We more than doubled the number of our public safety customers in the cloud, driven by our Evidencentral cloud platform, and its anchor solution, NICE Investigate. With the need for digital evidence management rapidly accelerating, our Evidencentral end-to-end digital transformation platform is helping to bring the public safety market into the digital age.

Digital transformation became top of mind for customers in 2020. And for us, 2020 was a year of digital breakthrough. We witnessed the accelerated use of digital channels across our markets, and our platforms were a driving force for the new frontiers of digital customer service, digital banking, and digital policing. In 2020, over half of our all contact center opportunities, contained digital elements, and we saw an overwhelming 100% year-over-year increase in our customers' digital interactions volume. We owe this to the breadth of our portfolio and best-in-class digital capabilities natively integrated into CXone. Most of our financial income, crime compliance deals were driven by the imperative for digital transformation in banks, and NICE Investigate is today the fastest-growing digital evidence solution in the Financial Crime Justice market.

2020 was also a year where we witnessed a major transition from NICE being the leader -- the leading provider of cutting edge analytics to the pre-eminent provider of breakthrough artificial intelligence, as we are now injecting AI in almost everything we do. In fact, our Enlighten platform is now the underpinning for several of new and existing solutions. Since the launch of Enlighten last year, we have seen substantial growth in the pipeline with several deals from multiple verticals already signed throughout the year, including three of the Top 10 new economy companies, a major healthcare provider, a renowned text operation provider, one of the largest global hospitality companies, a prominent telco company, and many others. On top of all of this, in 2020 we continued to significantly expand our ecosystem of partners with a growing number of independent software vendors building their solutions on our open market places for all our platforms, boasting the largest ecosystem in our domains.

2020 was a successful year at NICE, and the fourth quarter results brought the year to a strong finish. In Q4, cloud revenue grew 33% compared to the same quarter of 2019. Cloud gross margin increased 380 basis points, and the operating margin exceeded 30%. In addition, cash flow from operations grew 82% to $167 million in Q4, leading to a record annual cash flow from operations of $480 million for 2020.

The strong results in our cloud business are reflected in the continuous signing of significant cloud deals in the large enterprises, and Q4 was no exception. We signed many multi-year seven-digit ACV CXone deals, including one of the leading multinational automotive brand. This organization is transforming the customer experience by adopting a seamless omnichannel platform with NICE that provides scale and agility. We replaced several competitors in the process. Other seven-digit ACV CXone deals included a multinational financial institution, a large South American-based bank, a pre-eminent security company, a leading brokerage firm, and a large government customer that included approximately 20 different agencies. There was a seven-digit deal with one of the biggest hospitality companies in the world, which was a quick expansion of the deal signed just one quarter prior. Other seven-digit deals included a large outsourcers, a renowned transportation leasing company, a very prominent aviation company, and a leading national auto dealer.

The common factor behind these large enterprises CXone deals in Q4 was that they took on a multi-solution portfolio approach. This is the trend we are seeing more, as a growing number of large enterprise customers understand a significant benefit of a seamlessly integrated cloud omnichannel platform from a single vendor. Moreover, most of those deals were replacements of on-premise legacy vendor solutions.

We closed many significant deals in Financial Crime and Compliance in Q4. One such deal was a eight-digit in-the-cloud with a very large financial services firm. This was a new customer as we replaced the homegrown AML solutions with our cloud platform. There was a seven-digit deal with a very large European financial services firm, further expanding our relationship with this customer. And another seven-digit cloud expansion deal with the US-based brokerage firm. Our new Xceed platform drove a significant number of cloud deals with both new and existing customers in Q4. One such existing customer, a US-based regional bank transitioned from our on-premise solutions to our Xceed cloud platform in a seven-digit deal.

The number of new logos increased significantly in Financial Crime and Compliance as a result of the strong demand for Xceed, with many of the deals centered around digital banking. Moreover, we are further driving demand for Xceed through partnerships, and one such partnership recently signed was with Finastra. Finastra, a provider of core banking solutions and payments software will deliver our Xceed platform to their customer base. In Public Safety in Q4, we signed several seven-digit deals, including with two major US cities, and an APAC-based police operation.

We are proud of the results we achieved in 2020, but 2020 was just a warm up. We will leverage the success we had in 2020 and take that into the New Year. 2021 is shaping up to be a year in which the game has changed. We are in a new reality, in which the events of 2020 have created a new normal, and at the same time provided new opportunities.

The first reality in this new normal is the move from old notion of time-to-value to the new reality of immediate value. In 2020, organizations of all sizes were taken by complete surprise by the crisis. They realized, they need to get things done much faster than ever before, and they discovered that the old rules of long projects planning and dependencies on cumbersome bureaucracies are simply not applicable anymore. Organizations are now looking for technologies that will allow them to routinely break the execution speed limit of complex, multi-stage projects, while not compromising the quality and outcome of their efforts.

The second reality in this new normal, is the move from sporadic changes to continuous adaptation. When it comes to driving organizational change, implementing changes in sequential serial way, one change at a time, would not work anymore. Enterprises need to adopt an approach of continuous adaptation. They must have the ability to drive and manage constant change in an ordered way across the entire organization based on immediate insights, accurate real-time data, and execute on it with maximum precision.

The third reality is the move from cloud aspiration to cloud affirmation. For years, we've been speaking about the journey to the cloud and about cloud transformation. The cloud is no longer a future aspirational intent, but an immediate, urgent, master reality. On-premise solutions are no longer effective, leaving organizations no choice, but to adopt cloud platform foundation.

The final reality is the move from digital 101 to digital fluency. Digital is no longer the next big thing. It is happening now. Organizations are referring today to the term digital, as the same with anything considered to be the next generation. It is, therefore, no wonder that digital is the preferred language spoken. There is an actual race out there where organizations are rushing to become digitally fluent across everything they do, and that means cultivating an all encompassing digital mindset and culture, injecting a digital approach to drive new businesses, models, offerings, and processes. We are well positioned for this transition to the new normal with our leading digital cloud platforms and cutting-edge AI.

We already saw great success in 2020. Now, with these vast opportunities provided by this new normal, combined with a large and growing TAM that we see expanding to over $17 billion over the next five years, we are very much looking forward to 2021. With our leadership gap continuing to widen versus our competitors, 2021 and beyond is the time to turn that gap into a chasm.

In 2020 more than ever, we have witnessed the ultimate power of our NICE spirit. I would like to take this opportunity and thank our 7,000 NICErs around the globe for their relentless innovation and endless dedication during this unprecedented year. I know that this spirit will continue to push us forward, which gives me great confidence to take on 2021 and the years ahead.

I will now turn the call over to Beth.

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Brock, and good day, everyone. I'm pleased to provide the analysis of our financial results and business performance for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, as well as our outlook for the first quarter and full-year 2021.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter reached a record of $438 million, compared to $431 million in the same period of last year. Full year revenue was also a record and totaled $1,657 million, an increase of 5% compared to 2019. Total revenue growth was again driven by our impressive cloud revenue, which grew 33% in Q4, and 31% for the full year. And we exited 2020 with an annual cloud revenue run rate of more than $900 million.

As a result of our ongoing transition to the cloud, we continued to experience an expected shift to an increasing concentration of cloud revenue as a percentage of our total revenue. We expect this trend to continue in 2021. In the fourth quarter, cloud revenue reached 51% of total revenue, compared to 39% last year. As a result, recurring revenue increased to 81% of total revenue, compared to 71% last year. For full-year 2020, cloud revenue reached 47% of total revenue, compared to 38% last year, and recurring revenue was 79% of total revenue, compared to 72% for 2019. Product revenue accounted for 9% of total revenue in the fourth quarter, and 11% in 2020. And services revenues, accounted for the remaining 40% of total revenue in the fourth quarter and 42% for full-year 2020.

Moving to our business breakdown. Customer Engagement revenues were $361 million for the fourth quarter, and $1,349 million for 2020, and 8% and 6% increase respectively. Financial Crime and Compliance revenues were $78 million for the fourth quarter, and $308 million for 2020. This compares to $96 million and $309 million for the fourth quarter and full-year 2019, respectively.

Looking at geographies, Americas revenues grew 11% in the fourth quarter and 10% in 2020 to $364 million, and to $1,361 million respectively. Revenues in EMEA were $48 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $57 million last year. For the full year, revenue from EMEA was $186 million, compared to $217 million in the same period of last year. APAC revenues in the fourth quarter were $26 million, compared to $46 million in the same period last year, and $110 million for the full-year 2020, compared to $123 million in 2019.

We continue to focus on and expand our cloud gross margin. In the fourth quarter, cloud gross margin increased 388 basis points to a record of nearly 68%. For the full-year 2020, cloud gross margin increased 380 basis points to a 65.6%. As our cloud business continues to grow, we expect further expansion in the cloud gross margin.

Our gross profit grew to $317 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $314 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full year, gross profit increased 5% to $1,182 million, compared to $1,125 million for the full-year 2019. In the fourth quarter, gross margin was 72.2% compared to 72.8% in the same quarter last year. For the full year, gross margin was 71.3%, similar to last year. Gross margin was positively impacted by the cloud gross margin improvement, offset by the decline in product revenue.

In Q4 2020, operating income increased to $132 million, compared to $130 million in Q4 2019, and operating margin was 30.1%, similar to last year. Full year operating income increased 8% to a record of $470 million, compared to $434 million in 2019. Operating margin in 2020 expanded 90 basis points to 28.4% compared to 27.5% last year. We expect further expansion over the next several years to a 30% operating margin, as a result of our continued revenue growth, primarily driven by our cloud platforms and the leverage in our financial model.

Earnings per share for the fourth quarter reached an all-time high of $1.61 compared to $1.58 in the fourth quarter of last year. Full-year 2020 earnings per share was $5.73, representing growth of 8%, also an all-time high.

We experienced an outstanding strong quarter and year of cash generation, which led to an increase of 82% in cash flow from operations in the fourth quarter to $167 million, and to a record of $480 million for the full year, which represented an increase of 28%. Due to strong cash generation from our operations, both in the quarter and expected for the future, we repaid our $215 million term loan during the fourth quarter. As a result, total debt was $681 million, net of issuance cost and the equity component associated with our convertible debt. Total cash and investments at the end of December 2020 was $1,464 million.

I will conclude my remarks with guidance. For the first quarter of 2021, we expect total revenue to be in the range of $445 million to $455 million. We expect the first quarter 2021 fully diluted earnings per share to be in a range of $1.42 to $1.52. For the full year 2021, we expect total revenue to be in the range of $1,790 million to $1,810 million. We expect the full-year 2021 fully diluted earnings per share to be in a range of $6.12 to $6.32.

I will now turn the call over to the operator for questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. And at this time, we'll be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]

And our first question is from Samad Samana with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.

Samad Samana -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Thanks for taking my questions, and nice to see the strong cloud revenue results. Beth, maybe one for you on the guidance. So, if I think about 1Q revenue is guided to go up sequentially, normally revenue comes down. Can you just help us maybe for modeling purposes, think about, how we should think about cloud revenue versus product revenue in the first quarter, just given the atypical seasonality in the revenue guidance? And then, just even stepping back for full year 2021, just any update on what we should expect that cloud revenue run rate to look like exiting '21, given the outperformance in 2020?

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Samad. Thank you for the question. So, let me first address the growth that you mentioned, coming out of Q4 and looking ahead to Q1. I think first of all, it's important to note that actually we've been seeing a trend now as we look on the last few years, which is that both with our revenue as well as our profitability, given the further shift to the cloud, we see more and more of a concentration of recurring revenue. And so, as a result of that, it shifts more of the growth earlier during the course of the year, and that revenue is more evenly distributed. So you're seeing that, both in our 2020 results and we're expecting that dynamic to continue to play out in 2021 as well. I've mentioned in my comments or remarks also that we've seen a significant shift in the mix of cloud. Cloud in the last two quarters has been more than 50% of our overall revenue. And we also expect that shift to continue as well, where cloud will continue to be the primary growth driver, and we'll see that becoming a larger, and larger portion of our overall total revenue in 2021.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Samad, maybe just -- it's Barak, just to add, the strong guidance for Q1 reflect the very strong Q4 booking that we had. I talked about many deals that we had in the quarter, and we're entering into the year with a very healthy backlog.

Samad Samana -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Great. And Barak that brings me to a follow-up question. Appreciated all the color on the call around new deal activity, but maybe as we think about the pipeline, if you could comment on how the new deal pipeline looks for CXone, especially as we lap 2020, which was a very strong year. Are we entering with more deals in the pipeline that are larger, maybe anything you can give, either quantitatively or qualitatively around the forward pipeline for CXone deals, I think would be helpful as well.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We continue to see healthy momentum in terms of the pipeline and the activity in the market across the board. It's true for CXone. It's true for all our domains and markets. And it's both on the larger -- the higher end of the market as well as the smaller -- the lower segment of the market. And I think you also heard me on the call, we're starting to see very healthy dynamics on the international market, you will see them in the revenues. But they are going to kick in, obviously, its cloud. But we won a lot of deals on the international one, and the deals are getting just bigger and bigger. And the other thing that we see, I talked in my earlier remarks about multiple beachheads that we have landed full of 2020, but also in Q4, and we believe that this is also an opportunity for a lot of expansions moving forward. So, we are stepping into the year with a strong feeling that this momentum will continue.

Samad Samana -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Great. I will turn it over to the next analyst. But thanks again, for taking my questions, and on the strong cloud revenue growth.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And our next question is from Sanjit Singh with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed with your question.

Sanjit Singh -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thank you for taking the questions, and congrats to the team on a 30% growth year in cloud. That's very impressive. I wanted to understand a couple of dimensions in the model around growth going into next year. On the product side, it was down 48% year-over-year in Q4, maintenance is down year-over-year. What is sort of the key factors that's going on there? Is that a function of more transitioning like the WFO base to cloud? Is that an impact of macro? Is it just changes in customer buying patterns? If you could sort of parse out the different variables that are going on, on the maintenance side? And then I had a follow-up question.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I'll take it and Beth, feel free to chime in. So indeed, obviously, our strategy as we shared with you is to transition the business to the cloud. This is where we put our main emphasis both winning a lot of new ground with cloud, as well as transitioning existing customers. Most of the cloud growth so far came from brand new business for us, but we do have some transition of existing customers to the cloud. We like those transitions because they provide a significant boost to the revenue, because we see much more revenue from a customer, if they move to the cloud. Indeed 2020 was a lighter year on the product. It's the combination of what I said on the cloud, as well as COVID did have impact on the -- in the product decline. We believe that moving forward, the growth will come from the cloud, and we'll see fluctuation in the product. Q4 specifically, I think was a bit of anomaly in terms of how sharp the product decline was, and we don't expect to see exactly that number moving forward.

Sanjit Singh -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

That's very helpful, Barak. And then just a higher level question on what's now -- three or four major platforms, you have RPA, you have Xceed, you have X-Sight, you have Investigate to complement CXone. If I look at the contribution outside of CXone, does that become 10%, 20%, 30% of the business in a couple of years as we -- as you look out over the next two or three years, how big can the non-CXone on cloud portfolio contribute to the overall business?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so obviously the -- still the lion's share of our cloud business is CXone. And this is our main platform as we go into the Customer Engagement market. Actually, it's the platform, where we sell into Customer Engagement. As you said and as I highlighted earlier, we have two more cloud platform that are serving different markets. We have the Financial Crime and Compliance markets, where we cater to this market, actually with two platforms because of the high-end and low-end. This is X-Sight and Xceed. And we have relatively new platform called Evidencentral, which is allowing us to take the Public Safety market and expand it from center around policing to overall criminal justice. We believe that we can take the same playbook. We have done successfully in the past four years, five years in Customer Engagement, and use that same playbook in these markets. There are still the adoption, and this market is still at its early stages. Actually, we are very happy with the booking and performance, as we've seen in Financial Crime and Compliance. Q4 was an outstanding booking quarter for this business, predominantly cloud. It's still small numbers, of course, compared to CXone, but it can start to grow nicely and kick in into revenue. In Evidencentral, 2020 was really a breakthrough year for this business, still small numbers, but from a growth percentages, they're starting to look very nicely. So in the long run, we believe that they can start by themselves, become an absolute number -- healthy numbers. But needless to say though, main market today is the Customer Engagement, and CXone is the platform for us in this market.

Sanjit Singh -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Appreciate the thoughts, Barak.

Operator

And our next question is from Daniel Ives with Wedbush Securities. Please proceed with your question.

Daniel Ives -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. So, my question is more, in terms of cloud, obviously, the growth that you're having, is this something that you feel like you can continue to do organically? In other words, do you start to get more aggressive even in talking M&A as we go into '21? Could you maybe just talk about that, just in terms of any mindset changes on M&A?

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

So, we continue to be to be active on the M&A front. As you know us from historic -- historically, we have a good track record of acquiring companies and knowing how to get the right value. And the reason we believe that the reasons for that is that M&As are serving our strategy and not the opposite. We don't change our strategy because of an M&A opportunity. And right now, we believe we have many of the -- all of the components that we need to fuel our growth. Our markets are very healthy. We have leading platforms. But we remain active on the M&A front. And if we see something that can further accelerate the execution on our strategy or fuel our growth as long as it is aligned with our strategy, we'll continue to do that because the muscle of integrating M&A is a healthy muscle at NICE. And of course, we have the capital to go ahead and do that if we find something relevant.

Daniel Ives -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Great. And then just last, with cloud, are you just continuing to see the trend where just conversions and overall sale cycles to cloud customers is continuing to shorten? You continue to see that accelerate from where it was even a year ago?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We -- I mentioned kind of the reflect on 2020. One of the thing that is clear is that all the key pillars where we operate in cloud, digital, and AI, what happened in 2020 is they kind of leaped forward. 2020 created the kind of a leap forward in the adoption level of digital solutions. Organizations realized as a result of the 2020 events that even if they had plans to adopt cloud, only several years down the road, it is now a much more important, much more critical in order for them to continue and adapt to the changing environment. So we see that, and it's a similar dynamics as we said before. In the smaller enterprises, the adoption is rapid. In the larger enterprises, we see much more kind of lend and expand. Our customers would like -- they just -- it's too complex for them to move everything in one day. So they will adopt it for one division or one side of the business, and then expand from that beachhead. That's a trend that we've seen in 2020, and we believe it will continue this year and also moving forward.

Daniel Ives -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

And our next question is from Walter Pritchard with Citi. Please proceed with your question.

Walter Pritchard -- Citi -- Analyst

Thanks. Question on the FCC side with cloud where it seems like you've seen an uptick this quarter. Can you talk about what you think drove that? Was it sort of a kind of budget flush dynamic in Q4, where those customers were really looking to put money to work into the future? And then, how do you think about that business proceeding from here? What types of financial institutions are you seeing move to cloud and which ones are lagging?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

So great questions. First, the overall dynamic, the -- this market is very healthy. The need to meet the regulations and fight financial crime is same as it was before. As I've mentioned, throughout 2020 and even more so in Q4, we had an outstanding booking year that will translate into revenue. But there are certain changing dynamics over there. One of them, as I've mentioned is the shift to the cloud. This was the market that was slow to adopt cloud and we're starting to see now this shift to the cloud. The second thing is that for us, we historically operated mainly in the higher end of the market, with X-Sight. And the introduction of Xceed earlier this year, got us an opportunity to actually cater to the entire market, including to the smallest financial services out there. And we didn't expect to be adopted to get to that so fast, but we're very happy to see that the adoption of Xceed to the smaller customers that used to have kind of homegrown solution or very basic solutions, We now have the opportunity in this market. So that will allow us to transition this business also in the cloud. And I think what we see in the revenue is the classic phenomena of shift to the cloud. It takes time for the revenue to realize, and we'll see that coming in. And we are strong believer in that business in 2021 and also moving forward. The last one is that we see more and more partnerships in this business. We talked a lot about partnerships in this business, and signing Finastra in Q4 will allow us to further expand our footprint and market reach.

Walter Pritchard -- Citi -- Analyst

Great. And then just question on the -- if we look at the growth rate in cloud Q3 versus Q4, Q3 obviously higher. Is there anything that you can help us understand that was the driver in Q3 in cloud overall that did not continue into Q4? I mean, obviously, we understand the numbers are getting bigger as well, but just curious sort of the internals of the cloud revenue. And we've been in an environment that's been changing pretty quickly, so I want to see if there is any more detail there.

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thanks for the question, Walter. I think in general, like any revenue lines, there would be some slight fluctuations from quarter-to-quarter occasionally that happen. In general, we're quite pleased with the overall growth rate, higher than 30% growth for the full year of 2020. And we remain confident, looking forward in terms of cloud -- our cloud platforms and more particularly, CXone continuing to be the driver of that strong growth going into next year as well.

Walter Pritchard -- Citi -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

And our next question is from Rishi Jaluria with DA Davidson. Please proceed with your question.

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

Hey, everyone. Thanks for taking my questions. Nice to see a continued strength in the business. I wanted to first start philosophically by thinking about how you're looking at a post-pandemic future, right, and the sustainability on both the top line and so by that the acceleration of digital transformation and accelerating stuff to the cloud. How are you thinking about the sustainability of that post-pandemic? And then, on the cost side, I'm sure you've gotten a lot of cost savings as a result of just not having any effectively zero TV budgets and not having a physical conference. As we have the ability to go back to business travel, let's say optimistically, in the back half of this year, how are you thinking about some of those costs, which are going to be coming back? Which are going to be permanent cost savings? And then, I've got a follow-up.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thanks for the question. I'll start with the first part, and then Beth will take the cost element. So, I think we shared in the past and we definitely see that at the end of the day, the pandemic itself accelerated certain trends, starting with the adoption of cloud, the shift to digital, and the adoption of AI. And we don't think it's temporary. We think it's a bit -- the aftermath of the pandemic, those three things as well as others, but those three things will remain with us well, after COVID will be out of the headlines. And that's healthy for our business. As I said, organization with all sizes had a trauma, if you would like from the early days of the pandemic and their ability to be agile in their response to different dynamics. And, in this aftermath, they're realizing that they need to shift faster than they thought before in the adoption. So philosophically, or high level, all of those three domains, which are the pillars to everything that we do, cloud, digital, and AI are only going to be stronger and accelerate further. About the cost, I'll hand it over to Beth, yeah.

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Barak. I think, Rishi. On the cost side of the house, clearly, our primary focus is around our topline growth and furthering our overall cloud growth. And in order to do that, we're also very focused in how we spend as an organization. So, our eyes are really focused on continuing to fuel that growth through further innovation and doing that through further investment in our R&D, as well as really our go-to-market machine. And so that focus in terms of how we spend internally will continue in those two areas. And as we look at the overall makeup of our profitability, we have always been keenly focused on running a very well-optimized organization with a lot of leverage. And so, as you look at the ongoing picture, we still remain fully confident in our ability to continue to drive profitability, while fueling the cloud growth as well.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

But just to add to that, Rishi -- just add to that on your question about whether it's the savings are one-time or they will continue? We didn't have ton of savings on the pandemic. In our offices, we continue to pay our lease. So there isn't much saving there. The only saving we had is a bit on, not a bit, but on travel. And we -- it will -- it's interesting to see what will happen with travel moving forward. How much of this organization will need. We don't think that will have any material impact on our profitability moving forward. And on the flip side, we think that post-pandemic, the mode of operation, I believe the work-from-home would actually help us to drive some savings on the real estate. And so, we don't think that quote unquote the saving that we've seen this year are going to disappear.

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

Got it. That's helpful. And then, Beth, I wanted to drill a little bit more into 2021 guidance on top of some earlier questions. But as we look at the numbers, right, you're talking about, at the midpoint, 9% growth in Q1 and probably close to 8% through the remaining three quarters, if I look at the midpoint of full year guidance. I guess, why shouldn't growth -- overall growth accelerate post Q1 especially because the costs get a lot easier especially in Q2 and Q4, and you have a more favorable cloud mix that should aid that. Maybe help us understand the assumptions baked into that? Thanks.

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thanks for the question. I think I'll add my views and then let Barak chime in, if he has anything else, he'd add. I think, generally, when we look on the growth and the distribution of that during the course of the year, first Barak mentioned, we had really strong Q4, we're coming to the year with a nice backlog. I mentioned also a dynamic of the fact that we are bringing more of the growth earlier in the year, given that we're coming in with this strong base of cloud in our overall mix. As we look kind of on the product side of the house, I think you can expect 2021 will likely look more similar to what we had kind of pre-pandemic in terms of we were seeing some declines there. We don't expect to see unlikely that we'd see the same sharp declines that we experienced during the course of 2020. But it is likely that given the acceleration, we see in the markets overall that transformation is going to continue to drive the dynamic in the top line, which is the continued strong growth in the cloud and the continued transformation with product and on-premise becoming less of our business overall.

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

Wonderful. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Dan Bergstrom with RBC Capital Markets. Please proceed with your question.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yeah. Thanks for taking my question. So maybe to build on Rishi's post-COVID question a bit, you talked about your working arrangements going forward. But, what are you hearing from large customers as far as a vaccine, potentially returning to work on-premise. I know much of the efforts over the last year were about making work from home just as effective as working from the office. Just curious what you're hearing about return to work or continuation of more of a hybrid work-from-home model?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We obviously have a lot of those conversations with our customers. It's part of a small talk of every conversation without these days. I think the real answer is that no one really knows. Everyone has certain estimate. Some organizations are making some preparation, but it's a lot of guesstimation. On one hand, there is understanding that there will be a change. Everyone talking about something that will be not temporary, but either change. There are several models out there. Some talking about hybrid, some talking about enabling full work from home, and some even talking about work from anywhere which has its challenges, if you would like. But the bottom line is no one really knows, even our customers. And what they want to have is the agility or the flexibility to change quickly to whatever come their way. That's what we hear from them. So when we talk -- when we end a small talk and we talk about projects, what we want -- what they want is the agility of that. And in the tech sector, I think you all -- we all read the same headlines and what we enable to our employees. We're very happy with how we operated this year. It's probably combination of the spirit of NICE, but the engagement level at NICE remained very, very high, actually higher in working from home or doing a lot of course to maintain that. Our productivity increased as we work from home. And we are waiting to see that we'll be able, obviously, the safety of our employees is a top priority for us. And when things clear out, we'll take a decision on how to operate moving forward. It will probably be a combination of everything I said before.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thanks, makes sense. And then, it sounds like Enlighten's had a really good quarter here with a number of deals, growing pipeline across verticals. Is it the behavioral modeling and predictive outcomes, that's really driving the traction here? Could you drill down into the platform a bit? What's really resonating with customers?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think it's exactly that. We -- we've been selling analytics to our customers for many, many years and many of our customers are using our analytics solutions and adopted them. Enlighten, with its AI capabilities, is a direct continuation of our analytics, and the understanding that we also have the data to, if you'd like elevate the analytical capabilities to AI and the ability to put analytics on steroids using Enlighten, if I can use this analogy. And we had launched Enlighten earlier in 2020, and what we -- the pipeline started to build. We expected few deals in Q4, but we didn't expect so many, and from so many Fortune 100 and very marquee brands as I provided in my earlier remarks. So, we're very happy with the adoption, and it's exactly that. It's the ability to provide prediction models and take decision in real time, if you'd like, and bring real-time decisioning based on those capabilities.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

That's great. Thanks, Barak.

Operator

And our next question is from Paul Coster with JPMorgan. Please proceed with your question.

Paul Coster -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Yeah. Thank you for taking my question. I just want to go back to the products and services segments, again for a moment, if you don't mind. I'm not quite sure how to think about this long term. You mentioned kind of looking back to 2019, but when I look back over the last few years, it's sort of been a little bit lumpy. Is this a sort of flattish kind of -- are these flattish kind of revenue lines for the foreseeable future, is I guess my question.

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Thanks for the question, Paul. So just to add some additional color there, I think, first of all, looking back to 2019, the analogy I was making there is from quarter-to-quarter product will vary. And I think we should expect that all quarters in terms of product won't necessarily look alike. And so what we're focused on is, of course, the longer-term trends. When we look at our revenue lines and how that mix will change over time, and the mix overtime, we expect is -- as I had highlighted is to actually increase cloud. And so, by default as cloud increases over time, you're going to see that product gradually declines as well. We are shifting the business, the market is shifting, and accelerating and moving into the cloud. And so that is going to create a dynamic where over time, you will see a decline in product revenue. As I highlighted, again, you may see some variability or lumpiness on a quarter-to-quarter basis, but that's kind of the longer-term trend you should expect. As you look on the services, services had a couple of components. There is the deployment or the professional services we're providing to actually deploy the on-prem solutions. And of course that kind of goes a little bit lockstep or handed in with the change in product. Of course, the much larger piece there is our maintenance stream. And on the maintenance stream, this is a legacy of our WFM customer base, and we also believe that over time that is the maintenance that will ultimately also transform into the cloud. But of course, in the large enterprise that's a very long tale. So that's not going to be a near-term transition and that's going to take many years to actually see that shift. We do know based on our customers that have already made that shift that we have a very nice lift, when those customers are moving from our traditional on-prem customers and over to the cloud. So those are kind of some of the expectations around the different segmentation of the revenue line.

Paul Coster -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Beth, that was very helpful. As we sort of look over the long-term as well, do you anticipate gradual diseconomies of scale or dissynergies as those businesses kind of lagged the cloud, or is everything fungible here and resources, just simply get flipped over to the growth segments? This is on the opex side really.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

We -- as Beth, I think, said in the opening remarks, we continue to expect to further gradually improve our operating income, and operating margin and we are aiming at least 30%. We had a very nice improvement in the past few years and that actually was very nice improvement also in 2020. And this is driven by the fact that although this -- the business is shifting to the cloud, our gross margin in the cloud is rapidly improving. And actually, it's getting closer to the mix of the business on the perpetual. We're already at 68%, and it's a very close to where we would like to be. And we believe we can take it much, much higher as we scale and go to the enterprise. With respect to resources, as you can imagine, in the past few years and also moving forward, we are shifting a lot of our resources from our on-premise business to the cloud.

Paul Coster -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Paul.

Operator

And our next question is from Pat Walravens with JMP Group. Please proceed with your question.

Pat Walravens -- JMP Group -- Analyst

Oh, great, thank you and congratulations you guys. And Barak, maybe this is for you, but I'm wondering if you can comment on sort of how the competitive environment is evolving? In particular, one question I get is when investors look at the 2020 Magic Quadrant versus 2019, what they see is that Amazon Connect shows up as a new player, Five9 actually moves backwards from a leader to a challenger, and Genesis moves a lot closer to NICE in the leader's quadrant. So I'm just wondering is that reflective of what you're actually seeing in the market?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

So first, we're very proud and happy to be the Number 1 player on the multiple analyst reports in all the markets we play in. We are the Number 1 on the leading analyst on Financial Crime and Compliance, and same goes of course on the Customer Engagement. Gartner is one, but the others like Forrester, Frost & Sullivan, etc., and in all of them, we are the Number 1. It's a healthy market. It's a growing market. And when the TAM is growing, a lot of players who would like to play both large players that want to get into this space, a lot of small start-ups and also the existing one. We're very confident in our strategy to lead the way. We believe that putting together in the past few years, workforce optimization, analytics, and routing, with the addition of digital and AI was a step that no one else had, and other still don't have, and will have to work hard to get where we were actually several years back. But, we keep monitoring the competitive dynamics. It's hard for me to say whether those small fluctuational changes, one moving up or down is really representing what we see out there. I could tell you from the -- out there in the market, there are ton of opportunities. Our participation rate is increasing rapidly, and our win rate is very, very high. That's what I can tell you from the field.

Pat Walravens -- JMP Group -- Analyst

Okay, thank you. And then if I can add one more. So, I appreciate your comment on no one really knows in terms of the work from home, but I'm wondering what you are planning on doing in terms of your policies at NICE? We're struggling with this too. But, do you plan to be sort of a full remote company? Do you plan to be work-from-home company? What are you telling your own employees?

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

So, I'll tell you what I've told to our employees so far. With your permission, I prefer to tell the employees first, what is the next step before I share it with all. [Speech Overlap] So I'm not going to -- kind of not to break out -- breaking news here to our employees. But so far, we -- right now, we're working from home. Let's start with that. A 100%, 7,000 people at end of the March last year, overnight were moved to work from home. We adjusted to that very quickly. We have zero disruption in the business, and it's working well for us. We need to remember two things as we are doing that. All of those people that used to -- that are working from home today or most of them used to work together in offices, so they know each other. And as there is new people are getting hired, there is a question of how do we keep them engaged, and how do we make sure they adjust to the NICE culture, that's number one. And the second thing, there are things like ideations and collaboration, which is still I believe in the -- personally, I believe that in the virtual world are not the same as meeting people in person.

Pat Walravens -- JMP Group -- Analyst

Yeah.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

So I don't think, in reality, given where we stand with vaccine in different territories, personally, I don't think it's going to change much between now and, let's say, the end of the year or the summer. A few months on the left to the right are not that different. So I think that's for the foreseeable future, for us, that's going to continue to be the mode of operation. With respect to what happens after, and things are safe and we can actually have the flexibility to choose, that's something we're debating internally today, what's the best thing for us and for our employees, and we will announce it to our employees relatively soon and then I'll share it with you.

Pat Walravens -- JMP Group -- Analyst

All right, great. Thank you.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay, thanks.

Operator

And our next question is from Ryan Koontz with Rosenblatt Securities. Please proceed with your question.

Ryan Koontz -- Rosenblatt Securities -- Analyst

Hi, thanks for the question. Checking back to your comments on AI, and specifically on the CXone, can you touch on the used cases there? Is that more for coaching, or are your digital engagement capabilities fully automated there with AI? And how do you monetize that AI capability? Thank you.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Let's think for a second of what we do with CXone. We have hundreds of thousands of people come every morning, or actually they are not coming anymore, they're working from home, but are opening their laptops and working on CXone and this is the main -- if you would like, it's the main operating system for customer service, whether it's digital or not. And that's all being done in the cloud for us. And as a result of that, we have a lot of data going through our platform. In our system, our systems are smart to learn from every interaction that are going through our systems. And as we inject AI to the different corners of CXone, we see more and more use cases starting to shape up, starting from the ability as you said to coach and guide you in real time, the agent or the service providers, as they interactive customers. Then goes to engagement in a more sophisticated way on different digital channels with different bots and chatbots and getting them smarter and smarter every day. And few other use cases can be on the compliance area, again still in the customer services space. So the beauty is that as we inject AI to the different corners of CXone, we are learning new use cases, but actually many of our customers are coming with use cases, we never thought about before. Operator?

Operator

And our next question is from Scott Casher with Bank of America. Please proceed with your question.

Scott Casher -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hey, thanks for taking the question. It seems like you have developed a very strong backlog in the quarter. Can you maybe talk about the time it takes to go from bookings to revenue for the cloud revenues and CXone specifically? In other words, have we seen the full benefit from the CCaS market acceleration yet, or does the recent acceleration take more time to show up in the top line? Thank you.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. It's a great question, and it's hard to give a number here because it really depends on multiple dynamics. We have multiple, with CXone, there are small customers, there are big customers. The beauty and even more so in 2020, we can make customers up and running in 24 hours. And actually we have great example and use cases and case studies from the peak of the pandemic back in March, where we actually had to bring customers up and running at scale in 24 hours and we've managed to do that. In most cases, actually the issue is not the issue of getting up and running is not on our side, it's actually the level of readiness of our customers. And some of them need to do certain integration on their side, and other things and training and so on and so forth. So today, it really depends more on the customer side. So in some cases, it can be immediate, like a matter of few days and in some cases, it can go all the way to several months, like six months or seven months. So, there is a blend over there of multiple things. We didn't see a dramatic change, if you'd like in the time it -- on average from booking to activation. A bit higher, as it goes to the enterprise market, but it's very similar to what we've seen before.

Scott Casher -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Thank you. That's very helpful. And then, I guess one more from me. Can you talk a little bit about maybe the benefit you saw in 2020 from usage of the platform and cloud usage? Was there a benefit from usage in 2020 that may go away next year and create a headwind? And that's all from me. Thank you.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

We don't believe so. Obviously we are very proud to take part. We were proud in 2020 to take part of the business related to -- on the government, on the state and local, related to the pandemic. At the beginning, it was more about just being available on Q&A or information centers in the early days of March and April, then it's kind of converted into big centers about testing, then it converted to big centers around contact tracing. And these days, it is a lot about big centers around vaccination, which we believe will stay through 2021, at least 2021. So, that's on that segment. On the flip side, on the commercial segment, which of course is our biggest business on CXone, we saw a different ups and downs. But overall, it's the -- nothing that is just one-off or one-time. We actually believe that as things pickup, the travel and tourism industry, we're starting to see it picking up as people are starting to schedule their vacations with a sense of optimism for the summer and for the second half of the year. Operator?

Operator

And we have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. And I will now turn the call over to Barak Eilam for closing remarks.

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you very much everyone for joining us today, and have a great day. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 67 minutes

Call participants:

Marty Cohen -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Barak Eilam -- Chief Executive Officer

Beth Gaspich -- Chief Financial Officer

Samad Samana -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Sanjit Singh -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Daniel Ives -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Walter Pritchard -- Citi -- Analyst

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

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Paul Coster -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Pat Walravens -- JMP Group -- Analyst

Ryan Koontz -- Rosenblatt Securities -- Analyst

Scott Casher -- Bank of America -- Analyst

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