Automation software and robotic process automation (RPA) leader UiPath reported quarterly results that were better than expected in terms of revenue growth, but it lowered its forecast for the full fiscal year due to foreign exchange (FX) headwinds, macroeconomic conditions, and internal repositioning of the company, including a refocusing of its sales force.
The company’s earnings call had similarities to others where the most recent quarter’s performance was strong, the go-forward outlook has grown murky, and expectations have been tempered.
In the case of UiPath, co-CEO Rob Enslin expounded on the company positioning (and ongoing repositioning), the value customers are deriving from automation, and the way in which UiPath can dazzle customers in the Acceleration Economy by delivering faster time to value.
In fact, Enslin took to social media one day after the earnings call and summarized his view of the company’s positioning: “One thing is clear, automation can lead to significant business outcomes quickly, often in days and weeks, not months and years, as is most typical in enterprise software. I am seeing proof that our platform is a strategic necessity, not a discretionary option.
“While examples for digital transformation finance with automation are plentiful, I am seeing a maturing of customers building automations that deliver a better customer experience and higher revenue.”
Quarterly Numbers and Yearly Outlook
The company reported revenue of $242.2 million, up 24% year over year and ahead of the expected $231 million at the high end of guidance. ARR was $1.043 billion, an increase of 44 percent. Net new ARR was $66.2 million.
The company’s non-GAAP quarterly loss was 2 cents per share vs. analysts’ estimates of an 11 cents per share loss. Building the company’s path to profitability was a significant discussion point during the call.
The outlook for full fiscal year revenue was reduced to a range of $1.002 billion to $1.007 billion. The full-year revenue outlook had previously been $1.085 billion to $1.09 billion. The full-year ARR forecast was also taken down to $1.153 to $1.158 billion, from its earlier estimate of $1.22 billion to $1.225 billion.
In addition to FX and macroeconomic factors, the company cited weakness in EMEA and Japan as factors in lowering its revenue outlook. Officials cited strength in North America. “We see positive signs in North America,” Enslin said. “We’re seeing the opportunity of deals, larger deals coming into the pipeline. And we have actually implemented a very strict forecasting policy.”
Enslin and co-CEO Daniel Dines discussed four core priorities that the company has established:
- Platform investments to deliver disruptive and innovative capabilities to customers
- Increasing velocity and productivity through strategic repositioning of the company – an example being a focus on selling business outcomes
- Building and enhancing its team to take the company to the next level; the sales force was a major focus of discussion.
- On sustained profitable growth — the company said it expects to “deliver sustainable non-GAAP adjusted free cash flow in fiscal year 2024.”
Customer Decision Making and Speed to Value
Enslin acknowledged, as have many other leaders of public companies, that deals are taking longer to complete but said UiPath’s ability to compress time to value will serve as a differentiator. Buying “decisions are taking a little bit longer. They take a little bit more foresight, and customers are taking just a little bit longer to drive it,” he said. “As we build the ROI calculators and drive the business outcomes with these customers, I’m absolutely convinced that this is — their automation is definitely going to help companies do, not only with digital transformation but drive speed to value.”
To accelerate time to value, and help prospective customers recognize the value of automation, the company is considering new ways to package its technology, Enslin said. “We’re also looking at creating solution packages so that it makes it easier for companies to understand what we’re selling and how to position it, and that applies as well to our sales folks.”
Further, he noted that he sees future opportunities with an embedded automation model. “I see a significant opportunity in embedding automation into technology products where those products will drive higher value services for their customers…and we are talking to a number of technology providers in this space. So, I think that is a runway that we can drive for. Our product is really well suited to being embedded in other solution sets.” He cited the example of iCIMS, which plans to embed UiPath Automation Cloud robots and integration services into the iCIMS Talent Cloud to enable its customers to automate routine tasks and business processes in the talent acquisition function.
The typical UiPath implementation spans multiple core systems within a company — and that’s a key strength, Dines said, because most customers have such a complex software environment. That sets it apart as an enterprise platform. “This is a big difference between an enterprise automation platform that works very well across multiple systems and in application automation, that’s Microsoft and similar system application providers, have basically entered the market recently,” Dines said.
“So, I am very confident that we have the only complete platform that offers an end-to-end process automation that is differentiated for our customers.”
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