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How Process Mining and Automation Are Reshaping Appian

By Jeremy Bowman and Trevor Jennewine – Nov 15, 2021 at 10:15AM

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With a recent acquisition, Appian is reinventing itself.

In its third quarter, Appian (APPN 1.26%) continued to make strides in unifying its low-code platform after its recent acquisition of process mining firm Lana Labs. Appian says "the goal of process mining is to capture insights and take action."

In this episode of "Beat and Raise," Fool contributor Trevor Jennewine reviews the cloud company's third-quarter earnings report and discusses how the company is well-positioned to capture the growth in the market. Fool contributor Jason Halls is also in the clip.

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Trevor Jennewine: All right. Let's jump into it.

Jason Hall: Great.

Trevor Jennewine: Appian provides low-code and automation tools that help businesses build applications and automate workflows with the drag and drop interface rather than computer code. Looking at the third quarter results, revenue came in at 92 million. That was up 20 percent, a deceleration compared to last quarter, but still a beat on the topline. The non-GAAP loss came in at $0.22. Loss of $0.22 on the bottom line, and that was a slight miss management was forecasting that between $0.17 since $0.20. Then so circling back to revenue, the company earns revenue in a couple of different ways. One of them is through professional services. This is revenue that's earned for essentially helping clients get set up with the platform. It's very low margin, and it's expected to become a smaller percentage of sales over time especially as system integrators like Accenture and Deloitte.

The company breaks out subscription revenue and cloud subscription revenue, and both of those metrics are growing more quickly. Subscription revenue came in at 67 million, that was up 32 percent and then the software-as-a-service cloud subscription revenue was up 36 percent. Those numbers are pretty strong on the top-line. Then the retention rate was 117 percent. This is a little bit higher than the 115 percent from last year, so customers are spending more. Also good to see. I think the big highlight from the quarter is the acquisition of Lana Labs. Lana Labs specializes in process mining. This builds on Appian's acquisition of a robotic process automation company from early 2020. Robotic process automation is the technology that allows you to automate simple repetitive tasks. Think, copying and pasting, moving files and folders or syncing databases. Process mining builds on that. It allows organizations to analyze their systems and applications, look through all that data and identify processes that can be automated. It supplements what the company was already trying to do, fits in really well with its low-code automation platform. I like the acquisition there.

Looking at quarter 4, revenue is expected at 95 million, that's up 17 percent. They're looking for a non-GAAP loss of $0.24-$0.21. The stock is down after hours and I think it's due in part to that miss on the bottom line, and also the company's guidance. Appian does have a history of undershooting the guidance. That just might be conservatism on management's part, especially with supply chain headwinds and everything else. All things considered I think this was a solid quarter. Could be a little bit stronger. But I like that Lana Labs, I think that fits in well, should help the company capture market share.

Trevor Jennewine owns shares of Appian. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Appian. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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