Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

BMO: Salesforce’s Quarter Should Be Better Than the Last One

Cloud software concern Salesforce.com reports earnings later this month, and analysts are starting to try to get an idea of how its quarterly results are going to look. Karl Keirstead of BMO Capital Markets checked in with a handful of sources; what he found and wrote in a note to clients today is that things look pretty good.

One highlight, Keirstead writes, appears to be Salesforce’s Service Cloud, the service that companies use to track customer complaints on the Web and social media sites. Meanwhile, the average size of deals is climbing as large companies are buying incrementally more expensive versions of different Salesforce products.

And even though Salesforce missed on billings last quarter, prompting a nasty selloff of its shares the next day, Keirstead is unconvinced that was called for. “While the bear case is rooted in a view that the modest October quarter billings miss was a harbinger of slowing momentum, we just don’t see it,” he wrote. One source told him that Salesforce’s reps pushed the social products like Chatter a little harder to the detriment of other core products.

He expects Salesforce to make up for that billings miss this time around: He looks for unbilled backlog to grow 40 percent to $2.1 billion and for operating cash flow to grow by 20 percent, which is good, but still below the previously forecast range. All things considered, Salesforce, he says, may be undervalued. It’s currently trading at less than six times projected sales in fiscal 2013. He rates it with an “outperform,” and gives it a $150 price target.


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