Saying that you intend to retain an investment for the next decade might come across as hyperbolic to some readers but that's exactly what I'm planning to do with my holding in robotic automation software specialist Blue Prism (LSE: PRSM). Here's why.
Despite almost 15-bagging since April 2016, last week's trading update (after the close of its financial year) did nothing to shake my belief that the company's best days still lie ahead.
During the second half of the year, Blue Prism "continued to generate strong sales momentum" by adding 266 new customers (sourced via the company's global partner channel) to its books. These include FTSE 100 utility giants National Grid and United Utilities. Motor company Honda, entertainment giant Sony Pictures and the Federal National Mortgage Association (otherwise known as Fannie Mae) also feature on the list. In addition to this, the company secured 181 upsells with existing customers and a further 13 renewals.
All told, this brings the total number of software deals over the financial year to a staggering 609. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Blue Prism's full-year revenue is now expected to come in "comfortably ahead of current consensus expectations," even if the business remains lossmaking at this stage.
Since its launch back in April, its Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) ecosystem and platform -- designed to allow partners to "help enterprises build out best-of-breed solutions incorporating cutting-edge cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities" -- has proved extremely popular. Giants like Google, IBM and Microsoft have all signed up.
With some of the world's biggest companies now engaging with the AIM-listed business, it's no wonder that the £900m cap was recently awarded the title of innovation of the year at the UK Tech Awards and named as one of MIT Tech Review's 50 Smartest Companies for 2017.
Let your winners run
Given such massive gains, it's understandable if some early investors are becoming rather nervous that the shares will lose momentum and profits could be lost if not taken.
Of course, this could happen. Nothing can ever be taken for granted when it comes to investing and no share rises in a straight line. Nevertheless -- conscious of the tendency for investors to snatch profits -- I'm prepared to take any volatility in my stride.
The robotic process automation market has been growing at a rapid pace over the last few years. It will surely only continue over the next decade as more companies wake up to the savings they could make by employing digital robots to perform mundane tasks and re-directing staff to more important duties that help firms to remain competitive. Indeed, according to a report from Global Markets Insights, the market is expected to hit £5bn in 2024. I think even this estimate could prove conservative.
Having doubled the number of staff and opened new offices in Tokyo, Bangalore and Sydney over the last year, it's not hard to see why Blue Prism's CEO Alastair Bathgate is so bullish when he stated that the company was looking forward to "another exciting year of growth". Once the full potential of the RPA market is fully digested and success stories are shared, Blue Prism could easily emerge as a multi-billion pound company, in my view.
In short, I'm sticking with Blue Prism until 2027. Unless, of course, the company is acquired by deep-pocketed suitor at a satisfying premium.
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Paul Summers owns shares in Blue Prism. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.