Workday's (WDAY) soft revenue and billings guidance isn't exactly a harbinger of doom for the cloud HR and financials software leader, never mind enterprise cloud software firms in general. But when taken together with recent numbers from cloud CRM software leader Salesforce.com (CRM) , the guidance does suggest the cloud software space is entering a new stage, one where growth rates are more subdued for more mature markets, and competition from enterprise giants desperate to protect their turf is a greater headwind.
Workday reported fiscal third quarter (October quarter) revenue of $409.6 million (up 34% annually) and adjusted EPS of $0.03, topping consensus analyst estimates of $400.5 million and negative $0.04. In addition, the company's billings (closely watched) rose 33% to $454.1 million, and its free cash flow nearly tripled to $43.9 million.
But the company guided for fourth quarter revenue of $427 million to $430 million (up 32% annually at the midpoint), below a $433.7 million consensus. And on its earnings call, the company forecast billings growth will slow to 25% to 26% in Q4 -- a seasonally big quarter for billings -- and that software subscription billings growth will drop to a low-teens rate in seasonally weak Q1.
Growth is expected to be in the mid-20s range for the whole of fiscal 2018 (ends in January 2018), but this will require a sharp pickup in growth from Q1 levels.
Shares tumbled 12.5% on Friday, and are now lower on the year. Cloud collaboration software firm Atlassian (TEAM) , cloud HR software firm Ultimate Software (ULTI) cloud life sciences software firm Veeva Systems (VEEV) are among the peers trading lower on a flat day for equities.