Every so often, a new technology comes along that fundamentally changes the world. Consider the discovery of electricity, the invention of the automobile, and the creation of the internet -- all three sparked dramatic transformations, boosting productivity and efficiency across industries.
The developments surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) are likely to have a similar impact. And enterprises that use AI effectively could gain a meaningful advantage over their peers. In fact, companies like Coupa Software (COUP), CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD -0.88%), and Palantir Technologies (PLTR 0.65%) appear to be doing just that.
Here's what investors should know about these three top AI stocks and why they are a buy right now.
1. Coupa: Business spend management
Coupa's business spend management (BSM) platform connects more than 7 million suppliers with over 2,000 buyers. This helps suppliers reach a wide audience of potential customers, and it provides buyers with an extensive catalog of products. Moreover, Coupa's platform helps clients realize cost savings and work more efficiently, an advantage made possible by artificial intelligence.
Coupa Community Intelligence is the company's AI-powered recommendation engine. By applying AI to transactions occurring on its platform, Coupa is able to make prescriptive suggestions that help its clients spend money more efficiently and reduce supply-chain risk.
The Coupa Community Intelligence solution is a key differentiator that separates the company from its competitors. In fact, during the latest earnings call, CEO Rob Bernshteyn said: "No other company in our industry can provide ... a platform with real-time prescriptions." That's a big advantage, and it has helped make Coupa the market leader in procure-to-pay suites.
Currently, management estimates the company's market opportunity at $56 billion, but that figure should continue to expand as more enterprises implement digital solutions to drive efficiency. And as that trend plays out, Coupa's best-in-class BSM platform should help it capture value and reward long-term shareholders.
2. CrowdStrike Holdings: Cloud security
CrowdStrike was founded in 2011, five years after Amazon Web Services (AWS) went live, sparking widespread adoption of cloud computing. Recognizing the benefits, CrowdStrike pioneered cloud security, designing the first cloud-native, AI-powered cybersecurity platform: CrowdStrike Falcon.
Unlike legacy solutions, the Falcon platform is capable of collecting and analyzing data on a massive scale. In fact, CrowdStrike's Threat Graph processes more than 5 trillion data points each week, and that number will continue to climb as new clients join.
That's important -- as the platform collects more data, the AI-powered Threat Graph becomes more intelligent, improving its ability to detect malicious activity. Moreover, once a threat is identified in one client's environment, it can be blocked for all clients immediately. This creates a network effect that enhances CrowdStrike's preventative capabilities over time.
As a result, the company has won a reputation for industry-leading threat detection. In fact, SolarWinds became a CrowdStrike customer after the highly publicized breach of its Orion platform -- an event that impacted up to 18,000 enterprises and cost an estimated $90 million, according to BitSight.
Additionally, in a recent benchmark test conducted by SE Labs, CrowdStrike's Falcon platform achieved a perfect score in both detection and prevention use cases, while also registering zero false positives. In other words, Falcon is highly effective and very precise in its ability to defend endpoints and workloads. That should make CrowdStrike a long-term winner in the cybersecurity market.
3. Palantir Technologies: Big-data analytics
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence in which large amounts of data are used to train mathematical algorithms. Once trained, those algorithms are referred to as AI models. Ultimately, the goal is to build a model capable of accurate decision-making -- but that only works if there are enough high-quality data to train the algorithms. That's where Palantir can help.
Palantir's two platforms -- Foundry and Gotham -- are built to support AI. Both of these software-as-a-service (SaaS) products allow clients to integrate enormous datasets, creating the input needed to train AI algorithms. These solutions also incorporate algorithm deployment infrastructure and feedback loops, which serve to improve the accuracy of the AI models over time.
Simply put, Palantir allows its clients to draw insights from massive amounts of data, empowering them to build more intelligent AI models. That's why the U.S. Army Research Laboratory selected Palantir to help enhance its AI capabilities. Similarly, in the commercial sector, IBM has partnered with Palantir to build a low-code platform that simplifies the development of AI-powered applications.
Management estimates the company's market opportunity at $119 billion, more than 100 times its trailing-12-month revenue. That gives this tech company plenty of room to grow in the future.