Check out the latest Appian earnings call transcript.

What happened

2018 was a tough year for investors in Appian (NASDAQ:APPN). Shares of the low-code software developer sank 15%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

Here's a review of the key events from the year:

  • In February, Appian kicked off 2018 by reporting that revenue grew 50% at the end of 2017 and that its subscription revenue retention rate was 122%.
  • In March, Appian expanded its partnership agreement with the European consulting company VASS to strengthen its presence in the region.
  • In April, Appian and Genesys announced a strategic alliance to develop "next-generation customer engagement solutions."
  • In May, Appian reported revenue growth of 35% in the first quarter of 2017 and a subscription revenue retention rate of 119%. While these figures were strong in absolute terms, they were down sequentially.
  • In May, the company launched a new product for rapidly building contact centers on its cloud platform.
  • In June, Appian CEO and founder Matt Calkins received a leadership award from The Washington Post, and the company was listed as the top place to work in the D.C. area.
  • In July, the company recorded revenue growth of 39% and a subscription revenue retention rate of 119%.
  • In August, Appian raised about $59 million through a common stock offering.
  • In October, the company launched "the Appian Guarantee," which promises that customers will finish their first project in just eight weeks.
  • In November, the company reported revenue growth of 23% and a subscription revenue retention rate of 117%.

The news flow from the company was largely positive during the year. However, traders appeared to take issue with the company's sequential declines in its revenue and subscription revenue retention rates throughout the year. 

Man typing on laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Appian earns some of its revenue from professional services, which can be lumpy by nature. For that reason, this Appian shareholder isn't too concerned with the company's declining revenue growth rate.

However, the company's declining subscription revenue retention rate is a bit more worrisome. This is a key metric for every software-as-a-service business, so my plan is to watch this number like a hawk in 2019.

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.