What happened

Shares of Appian (NASDAQ:APPN) climbed 17.6% in the month of May, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, on the heels of the software development platform provider's strong quarterly results

Appian announced that revenue had climbed 35% year over year to $51.7 million, which translated to an adjusted net loss of $7.3 million, or $0.12 per diluted share. Both the top and bottom lines arrived well above management's own guidance, provided in February, which had called for revenue growth of 20% to 21% and a wider adjusted net loss per share of $0.18 to $0.17.

Man on ladder spray-painting a rising yellow line on a brick wall

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Founder and CEO Matt Calkins noted that the company recently unveiled "native artificial intelligence capabilities and an Intelligent Contact Center application," both of which should improve clients' service to their customers.

That's not to say the market seemed pleased at first. Appian stock initially declined 9% the day after its earnings report, as investors lamented the company's seemingly light guidance for more modest top-line growth of 30% to 31%, and per-share losses of $0.18 to $0.17 in the current quarter.

Now what

Even so, Appian also boosted its full-year guidance to call for 2018 revenue growth of 14% to 16% (up from 12% to 14% previously), with an adjusted net loss per share of $0.64 to $0.61 (improved from a loss of $0.65 to $0.62 previously). And it seems investors subsequently remembered that Appian has made a habit of underpromising and overdelivering. So following the initial disappointment that Appian didn't boost guidance even more, investors appeared to come to their senses to rightly bid up the stock in response.