Companies have to implement technology if they're going to survive, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday. That's why technology stocks continue to be a must-own for your portfolio. Investors need to stop thinking within the narrow confines of the trade war, Cramer said, and instead focus on the big picture themes that will endure for years.
There are thousands of companies at risk of closing their doors and the only thing that can save them is technology. That's why Target (TGT) shares rallied 14% today, while rival Kohl's Stores (KSS) plunged earlier this week. Target has invested heavily in new technology. Kohl's still hasn't admitted it has a problem. Technology is why Lowes (LOW) gained 3.9%, while rival Home Depot (HD) missed estimates. Lowes has upgraded its systems. Home Depot can't upgrade fast enough.
In the old days, you could afford to keep your customer information in a notebook. Today, if it's not in the cloud, it might as well not exist. The collection, storage and analysis of data is why Salesforce.com (CRM) spent $15.7 billion for Tableau Software, and why the cybersecurity stocks and the chipmakers like Nvidia (NVDA) will never go out of style.
From point-of-sale to payroll to loyalty programs, companies big and small need technology to survive, Cramer concluded, even if none of this technology even existed just a few years ago.
Executive Decision: Okta
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Todd McKinnon, co-founder and CEO of Okta (OKTA) , the identity management provider whose shares closed up 2.6% Wednesday and are up over 100% for 2019.
McKinnon said identity management is vital for every company in the information age. In the old days, your company built a network inside your office and simply added a firewall between you and the rest of the world. But today's companies have multiple offices, data centers and clouds as well as countless remote employees, partners and suppliers. All of these disparate resources require systems that can track people, devices and applications no matter where they may be located.
For organizations like Major League Baseball that want to stream out of market games to their subscribers, Okta provides solutions that don't require passwords or tokens for fans and are easy to build for MLB's developers. For companies like Fox, which has thousands of different collaborators working on their productions, Okta provides vital management and tracking of who has access and who doesn't.
Today's companies need systems that are flexible, accessible and secure McKinnon said, and that's what Okta provides.
Winners Use Tech
In order to succeed as a retailer in this environment, you need to spend on technology, Cramer told viewers. Nowhere was that more evident than in this quarter's earnings, where the winners had more customers than they could handle, while the losers had nothing but excuses.
Cramer was bullish on companies like Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) , both of which have been spending big on technology to keep their customers happy. Lowes has been retaining customers with its newest technology, while Home Depot's older systems can't keep up with the pace of innovation.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) saw its shares plunge 20% this week due to sluggish apparel sales, the same segment Target touted as exceptionally strong. Then there's Kohl's, which also dipped more than 20% this week. Kohl's doesn't have anything special to offer its customers, Cramer said, nor is it the low-price leader. That honor goes to TJX Brands (TJX) and Ross Stores (ROST) , two more winners from the quarter.
Cramer cautioned investors not to take their cues from the retailers who aren't winning. These companies cite the economy, tariffs, trade, the weather and countless other excuses for their ailing sales. In reality, they simply aren't able to compete in the new economy.
Executive Decision II: Tableau
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Adam Selipsky, president and CEO of Tableau Software, now part of Salesforce.com (CRM) .
Selipsky said many companies are inundated with a data deluge and they need help to organize, manage and analyze their data to make better decisions. Tableau offers analytics products that are simple and intuitive, but also very powerful.
Tableau cutely has over 61,000 customers around the world and Selipsky said now that they're a part of Salesforce, they can help even more customers understand their data better.
One of Tableau's customers is Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Selipsky said when Southwest wanted to analyze their on-time performance, it typically took two weeks to assemble data from over 100 different data sources. But by using Tableau, that same analysis can now be done in just over 15 minutes.
Executive Decision III: PagerDuty
For his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Jennifer Tejada, chairman and CEO of PagerDuty (PD) , a digital operations management platform.
Tejada explained that when something goes wrong with your favorite applications, it's probably PagerDuty that's helping the engineering team to get it back up and running quickly. With so many companies going digital, outages and failures can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute, and getting things fixed is both time sensitive and mission critical.
PagerDuty currently works with 37% of Fortune 500 companies and helps companies like American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) respond to events as they happen and help prevent them from happening again. Time is the most valuable currency for your customers, Tejada said, and that's why companies increasingly need intelligent systems to offer insights into their operations.
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At the time of publication,
, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long KSS, HD, NVDA and CRM.