Another quarter, another solid beat and raise from Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK). After climbing 2.5% in Thursday's regular session, however, shares of the operational intelligence software company have largely given back those gains in after-hours trading as of this writing. But that doesn't mean the results weren't great.
For Splunk's fiscal first-quarter 2016, revenue climbed 46% year over year, to $125.7 million -- above estimates for revenue of $118.2 million -- including 40% growth in license sales, to $71.9 million, and a 55% increase from maintenance and services, to $53.8 million. Based on generally accepted accounting principles, that translated to an operating loss of $71 million, and a GAAP net loss of $0.57 per share. On an adjusted basis, however, Splunk achieved a net loss of $0.01 per share, again beating analysts' estimates for a wider adjusted net loss of $0.03 per share.
Meanwhile, Splunk's quarterly adjusted operating margin was negative 0.6%, and it generated operating cash flow of $28.6 million, or 22.8% of total revenue. After accounting for property and equipment purchases, Splunk's free cash flow was $22.2 million.
Cash flow and revenue growth are key (for now)
That cash flow helps Splunk continue investing in sales, marketing, and research and development. In turn, those investments aid Splunk in its decision to forsake bottom-line profits to chase top-line growth in these early stages of its fast-growing, high-tech market.
In the first quarter alone, Splunk's R&D spending soared more than 50% year over year, to $44.7 million, while sales and marketing expenses jumped a slightly more modest 43.5%, to $102 million. As growth in the industry wanes over time, Splunk should emerge an even stronger leader with greater market share as a result.
Splunk's efforts are already bearing fruit. The company signed more than 450 new enterprise customers last quarter to end the period with more than 9,500 worldwide. That esteemed client list now includes 80 members of the Fortune 100, and new and expanded relationships in Q1 include the likes of Adobe, Bloomberg, the City of Los Angeles, Sony Playstation Network, and Thomson Reuters.
"Our customers are moving toward enterprisewide adoption of our products and solutions for a growing set of use cases," explained Splunk CEO Godfrey Sullivan. "We welcomed a record number of new customers to Splunk Cloud driven by the compelling value delivered by our solutions across on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments."
On new developments and guidance
This growth shows no signs of letting up, either. Last month, for example, Splunk announced the international availability of Splunk Cloud in EMEA and APAC through nine Amazon Web Services global regions. And in March, Splunk introduced Splunk Light as a more affordable option to target individual consumers and smaller IT environments. Splunk also recently released a new version of Splunk MINT to focus on mobile app performance, problems, and usage.
As a result, for the current quarter, Splunk anticipates revenue between $138 million and $140 million, and adjusted operating margin between 1% and 2%. By contrast, analysts were modeling a breakeven quarter, and lower revenue of $136.4 million.
Finally, for the full fiscal year 2016, Splunk expects revenue between $610 million and $614 million, or an increase over the previously boosted guidance it provided in February for revenue of $600 million. Wall Street, for its part, was modeling fiscal 2016 revenue of $603.5 million.
In the end, perhaps investors are simply taking profits after hours given Splunk's recent gains. Going into today's close, Splunk stock was up more than 20% so far in 2015, and 54% during the past year. But in my opinion, this was yet another solid report from an industry-leading company, and I think patient investors who don't mind sitting tight stand to reap continued rewards going forward.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems and Splunk. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.