Salesforce Wave Analytics Software. Image source: (CRM -0.63%) reported fiscal 2016 fourth-quarter results on Wednesday. The leading provider of cloud-based enterprise software boosted its full-year outlook on the back of strong fourth-quarter results.

Salesforce results: The raw numbers


Q4 2016

Q4 2015

Growth (YOY)


$1.81 billion

$1.44 billion


Net Loss

$25.51 million

$65.77 million


Earnings Per Share




Data source: Q4 2016 earnings press release.

What happened with Salesforce this quarter?
Total revenue jumped 25% year over year to $1.81 billion, with subscription revenue increasing 25% to $1.68 billion and professional services revenue leaping 28% to $127 million.

Even better, signs point to continued sales strength in the quarters ahead, with Salesforce recording $4.29 billion in deferred revenue on its balance sheet as of Jan. 31, representing a increase of 29% from the year-ago period. Salesforce also ended the fourth quarter on that date with $7.1 billion in unbilled deferred revenue -- essentially, business that is contracted but not yet invoiced -- signifying year-over-year growth of 25%.

"We hit an all-time high in large transactions in fiscal 2016 as more and more companies look to Salesforce as their trusted advisor," said President and COO Keith Block. "The tremendous response to our customer success platform is driving exceptional growth for Salesforce across every region, every cloud, and every industry."

Salesforce also continues to improve its profitability, with non-GAAP earnings per share -- which excludes stock-based compensation, acquisition-related expenses, income tax adjustments, and other special items -- increasing 36% to $0.19. In addition, the company's cash-flow generating ability was on full display during the quarter, with operating cash flow surging 38% to $459 million.

"We increased our non-GAAP operating margin by 177 basis points, which drove outstanding full year operating cash flow of $1.6 billion, up 37% from a year ago," said CFO Mark Hawkins. "We expect to continue to drive operating leverage and strong cash flow growth in fiscal 2017."

Looking forward
Management expects first-quarter revenue in the range of $1.885 billion to $1.895 billion, which would be an increase of 25% from the prior-year quarter. GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share are projected to be in the ranges of $0 to $0.01 and $0.23 to $0.24, respectively. And deferred revenue is anticipated to rise approximately 24% to 25% year-over-year.

Salesforce also boosted its fiscal 2017 full-year revenue guidance to between $8.08 billion and $8.12 billion -- representing an increase of 21% to 22% from fiscal 2016 -- up from its prior forecast of $8.0 to $8.1 billion. Full-year GAAP loss per share is expected to be in the range of ($0.02) to $0.00, while non-GAAP EPS is estimated to be between $0.99 and $1.01. And full year operating cash flow is projected to grow approximately 23% to 24%.

"By any measure, this was a spectacular finish to the year with 27% revenue growth in constant currency for the fourth quarter, and for the full year," said Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. "We are raising our fiscal year 2017 revenue guidance to $8.12 billion at the high end of our range -- unprecedented growth for a company of our size and scale."