If you want to know the hottest trend in technology these days, just look to the sky. There is no denying that cloud computing has taken both the enterprise and consumer world by storm. If you’ve ever used an app on your phone or worked remotely, you’ve experienced the power of the trend. And as a result, many cloud stocks like Salesforce (NASDAQ:CRM) or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have seen their fortunes rise over the last few years.
However, the big cloud stocks aren’t the only fish in the sea. There are plenty of other smaller players ready to take a piece of the cloud computing pie.
It’s here, that many of the big gains in the cloud stocks can be had. These small- and mid-cap stocks have plenty of growth and rising sales as well as buyout potential from the larger, more-established players. These smaller cloud stocks are where the long-term gains can be had. For investors, betting here could make the most sense as the trend continues to unfold.
With that, here are five cloud stocks to buy today.
Organizations are complex beasts these days. And in that, not all employees need to or can have access to every one of a firm’s portals. Managing who can see and access what is now a big problem. That’s where identity cloud specialist Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) comes in.
OKTA is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud stock that offers a variety of products that help manage identity and security needs. This includes everything from passwords and two-factor authentications to customer loyalty programs and data collection. The idea is that Okta’s products keep the right people in the right areas and they never mix.
And it looks like the corporate, education and even government are buying the idea in spades. For full fiscal year 2019, OKTA’s total number of customers surged to more than 6100 and the number of $100K in annual contract customers has doubled year-over-year to 1038. Total revenues for the year surged 56%, while both operational and free cash flows produced record amounts. Perhaps the best part of OKTA is that unlike many tech stocks, the firm features no long-term debt and hefty half billion in cash on its balance sheet. That provides an amazing amount of flexibility.
With OKTA rolling out even more products across its business lines and plenty of customers — in small, medium and large enterprises — to court, the potential is vast for the firm. Identity and data security is a top priority and Okta is the cloud stock getting it done.
The cool thing about technology is that it’s always changing and advancing. However, because of that, it can create a huge skills gap among workers — even those in the technology sector. Companies function better when everyone continues to improve their skills set.
Pluralsight (NASDAQ:PS) is a cloud stock that offers online skills training and courses among a variety of tech needs. This includes everything from programming languages like Java and Python, cybersecurity training, big data applications, and various certification programs. Basically, it automates much of the training and eliminates the need for lengthy and wasteful meetings.
This cost and time savings have plenty of appeal for firms and as a result, more than half of the Fortune 500 have signed on as customers. The best part is that PS uses a “land and expand” sales strategy. Here, Pluralsight gets the firm’s hooked and then is able to offer additional training services with ease.
Revenues grew by 39% to $232 million in 2018, while the first quarter of 2019 saw revenues expand by 40%. Perhaps the best part is that the firm’s business model features amazing gross margins of 70%. While PS is operating at a loss right now, those margins have quickly reduced losses-per-share and Pluralsight is moving towards profitability.
With technology advancing and the skills gap growing, Pluralsight is in a unique position to profit over the long-haul.
Truth be told, Dropbox (NYSE:DBX) has been an interesting ride since going public about a year ago. And in fact, we’re right back to where its IPO launched in terms of DBX stock price. But that could make it a big bargain among the cloud stocks.
DBX started by providing an easy way for individuals to back up their photos and videos in the cloud. This made it one of the largest file-sharing platforms in the world. Since then, Dropbox has expanded into more subscription and collaborative document operations for businesses. The key is that DBX can be accessed via a variety of means- from desktop applications, mobile computing and is able to connect with over 300,000 third-party apps for editing, communicating, processing and more. Recent deals have added big data and video capabilities to its platform.
Small and medium-sized enterprises seem to like the features. Like many of the cloud stocks on this list, revenues continue to grow like weeds at Dropbox. Last quarter, the firm managed to see a big 22% jump in revenues, while subscription growth continues to be robust. Meanwhile, net losses have shrunk considerably year-over-year. DBX is on the cusp of profitability.
And yet, shares are basically right where they were at its IPO. For investors, this could mean a big opportunity to load up on one of the more promising cloud stocks on the cheap.
Some of the best cloud stocks are those that perform and automate boring tasks. And you can’t get more boring than human resources functions like payroll, taxes and accounts payable. Luckily for Paycom (NASDAQ:PAYC) this is just where it operates.
PAYC offers a suite of applications that allows HR departments to hire, develop, pay and managing benefits for employees. If that sounds like another well-known cloud stock, you’d be right. Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY) has long been a leader among the cloud stocks. However, PAYC and WDAY aren’t competitors, they compliment each other. That’s because Workday focuses its attention on large-sized firms, while Paycom has moved downstream into smaller businesses.
Turns out this was a great move, retention rates for PAYC are high and have resulted in plenty of reoccurring revenue streams. For the latest quarter, the HR cloud stock saw its revenues jump by 30% year-over-year. Better still is that PAYC is profitable and saw a big 15% jump to its EPS. With continued success and sales growth, management at the firm was able to raise guidance for the full year.
With the ease of integration and much-needed costs savings for small business, Paycom still has plenty of growth in the tank as it courts additional customers. After all, there are thousands of small businesses that could benefit.
The Trade Desk (TTD)
These days, advertising is nothing like an episode of Mad Men, where catchy slogans and images can court customers. Instead, it’s all about digital means and getting your ads in front of the right eyeballs at exactly the right time. Helping marketers and advertisers make that shift and target the right customer is The Trade Desk (NYSE:TTD).
TTD specializes in something called “programmatic advertising.” Here, the Trade Desk will use high-speed computers and various algorithms to automate the process of ad buying in real time. By searching the nearly 20 digital-ad exchanges, TTD allows advertisers to instantly find exactly who they want to target their ad to. Moreover, it’s able to do so whether that’s on their computer, smartphone or other devices. What’s really amazing is that the Trade Desk’s programs are so fast and successful, they are able to place roughly 9 million ads per second through their online auctions.
This creates a much more efficient and cost-effective way for companies to reach consumers. There’s really no ad spend waste.
For TTD and its shareholders, it creates tremendous growth. Even better is the cloud stock is actually profitable. For the first quarter of the year, the firm managed to see a 41% year-over-year jump in its revenues as more firms use its platform for placing ads. Better still is that the Trade Desk has continued to expand into video/connected tv as well as streaming audio. These moves feature a long runway and will help power TTD’s growth far into the future.
All in all, the Trade Desk could be one of the best cloud stocks to buy today.
At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt held a long position in OKTA, PS, WDAY and was considering opening a position in TTD.