The last two years have been a whirlwind. The pandemic not only altered our personal lives, but it has changed the way we do business forever. Technology has been the saving grace for many organizations, allowing them to continue operating in spite of the disruptive environment. 

Most office-based employees worked from home in some capacity through this period, and thanks to powerful software and services, they were able to do their jobs just as efficiently. This paradigm shift has prompted some companies to allow employees to work remotely on a permanent basis, either full-time or in a hybrid capacity. Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, for instance, just announced 40,000 of its U.S. employees can now work from anywhere.

Platform technology companies Workiva (NYSE:WK) and DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) are two critical facilitators of the work-from-home trend, and that makes them fantastic investment opportunities for this new world.

A person working from home, seated at their computer, while petting their dog.

Image source: Getty Images.

The case for Workiva

While the work-from-home model offers benefits for employees, it can be a nightmare for managers who need to keep track of an organization's operations. Since more of the workspace is digital, companies find themselves using dozens of applications to fulfill their duties, which can limit visibility for those who need to monitor workflows. 

Workiva presents a unique solution to that problem. Its platform connects to major third-party applications and brings the data from all of them together into one place. Some remote workers might be using collaborative documents through Microsoft Office, and others might be working through Salesforce.com's Tableau -- either way, Workiva can bring the data from both platforms together. 

Aside from being a game-changing observational tool for managers, Workiva plays a critical role in financial reporting, audits, and filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In fact, Workiva's platform supports the preparation and filing of over 350 different SEC forms, which is likely the reason 75% of Fortune 500 companies use it.

Metric

2018

2021 (Estimate)

CAGR

Revenue

$244.3 million

$431.0 million

20.8%

Data source: Workiva. 2021 estimate based on the midpoint of management's guidance. CAGR = compound annual growth rate.

Workiva has had a strong run of revenue growth since 2018, but there's an even more noteworthy theme emerging. The company has grown its overall customer base at a compound annual rate of 7% since 2018, but the number of biggest clients, those who spend $150,000 or more with the company each year, has grown at 46% over the same period.

This reflects Workiva's popularity among those large Fortune 500 organizations, and it places the company on a solid foundation of annual recurring revenue. 

There are likely some companies in Workiva's addressable market that navigated the pandemic without these tools, thinking it was a temporary disruption. But as they realize remote work is here to stay, they will eventually need to adopt platforms like Workiva's to oversee their operations. 

This stock offers a clear opportunity to capitalize on the long-term remote work trend.

A person digitally signing a document using a tablet on a desk, beside a judge's gavel.

Image source: Getty Images.

The case for DocuSign

Best known for its leadership position in the digital signature space, DocuSign exploded in popularity in the pandemic-driven stay-at-home economy. Now, as remote work persists, it stands to remain an integral part of organizations' digital toolboxes.

DocuSign has expanded to become far more than its electronic signature platform. Its full suite of products also includes DocuSign CLM, which creates pre-populated agreements with a collaborative feature for remote negotiations, and DocuSign Insight, an artificial intelligence platform that can read documents to identify problematic clauses. Insight will likely become a powerful tool over time as it expands to do more of the work usually assigned to expensive lawyers.

Metric

Fiscal 2019

Fiscal 2022 (Estimate)

CAGR

Revenue

$701.0 million

$2.08 billion

43.8%

Data source: DocuSign. 2021 estimate based on the midpoint of management's guidance. CAGR = compound annual growth rate.

The company is on track to nearly triple its revenue since fiscal 2019 with most of that growth occurring during the pandemic era. While the company has been consistently unprofitable, analysts are estimating it will generate $1.75 in earnings per share in the current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31, 2022. This would prove DocuSign is capable of converting its strong growth to the bottom line, which is something investors tend to watch. 

It's helped by an extremely high gross margin, which came in at 82% in the most recent quarter. It enables the company to heavily invest in growth, because once it achieves scale, it can pare back its nonessential expenses to deliver higher net income (earnings).

For the remote workplace, DocuSign provides the technology to streamline in-person meetings and the negotiations process. Not only does that save companies money, but as the practice becomes more commonplace, it will also save time. 

For that reason, much like Workiva, DocuSign is one of the best stocks to own for a future that features a growing remote workforce.

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.