Image source: Pegasystems Inc.

What happened

Shares of Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ:PEGA) were up 14.4% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT after the customer relationship management software specialist released stronger-than-expected third-quarter 2016 earnings.

So what

Adjusted quarterly revenue climbed 13% year over year, to $183.5 million, including 17% growth in software license sales, to $68.8 million, a 5% increase in maintenance revenue, to $55.7 million, and a 15% increase in services revenue, to $59 million. Further breaking those results down, Pegasystems' cloud revenue increased an encouraging 32% year over year, to $10.9 million.

On the bottom line, that translated to a 1% decline in adjusted net income, to $13.2 million, while adjusted earnings per diluted share remained flat from the same year-ago period, at $0.17.

Pegasystems doesn't provide quarterly financial guidance. But for perspective -- and while we don't typically pay close attention to Wall Street's expectations -- analysts' consensus estimates predicted the company would announce slightly higher adjusted revenue of $185.9 million but lower adjusted earnings of $0.16 per share.

Now what

CFO Ken Stillwell added, "We are pleased with our year-to-date results through the third quarter of 2016. Our ability to grow GAAP and non-GAAP revenue by 15% in the face of currency headwinds and a significant shift to term license arrangements is a great indicator of our business momentum."

I think investors are rightly celebrating that their company is more profitable than expected. And this is especially evident as it continues to invest heavily to leverage its most promising growth opportunities, even as its results are held back by a combination of currency headwinds and the ongoing shift to term license agreements. In the end, and with that in mind, it's no surprise to see shares of Pegasystems trading higher today.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.