What happened

Shares of Appian (NASDAQ:APPN) leapt nearly 17% last month, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the software provider reported strong third-quarter results.

So what

Appian's "low-code" software development tools help its customers easily build their own applications, saving them time and money in the process. Companies are flocking to its platform, and existing customers tend to spend more on Appian's services over time, as seen in the torrid growth of Appian's subscription revenue, which surged 42% to $29.4 million in the third quarter.

"We continue to demonstrate that our platform is the most accessible in the market," Founder and CEO Matt Calkins said in a press release. "More companies are finding us to be the fastest way to build and deploy unique software to run their business." 

A compass pointing towards the word growth

Appian has long runways for growth still ahead. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Appian is still very early in its growth cycle. The company expects its total revenue to grow more than 25% to approximately $222 million in 2018. While impressive, this figure represents less than 1% of Appian's $31 billion market opportunity, going by management estimates. And with demand for low-code software development likely to only grow stronger in the years ahead, Appian's total addressable market opportunity might prove to be even larger. 

Moreover, with Appian's stock price pulling back around 5% along with the broader market in December, its market capitalization currently checks in at only about $1.8 billion. As such, investors who buy shares today could enjoy exponential gains should Appian fulfill its massive long-term potential.

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.