Hybrid work demand fuels Salesforce earnings forecast

Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) on Wednesday signaled the shift to hybrid work would keep demand for its cloud-based software strong in the third quarter, after trumping market expectations for earnings in the May-July period.

The business software maker’s revenue has gone from strength to strength over the past year, with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence likely to keep that momentum going even as vaccine rollouts gather force and offices reopen.

A slew of acquisitions, including workplace messaging app Slack, has helped Salesforce fend off competition from legacy players like Oracle (ORCL.N), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and German competitor SAP .

“Our Customer 360 platform is now fueled by a herd of unicorns perfectly designed for this all-digital world,” Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff said in a statement.

Revenue in the second quarter ended July 31 rose 23% to $6.34 billion, surpassing estimates of $6.24 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.48 per share versus estimates of 92 cents.

San Francisco, California-based Salesforce forecast third-quarter fiscal 2022 revenue between $6.78 billion and $6.79 billion, above estimates of $6.66 billion.

It expects profit between 91 cents and 92 cents per share, compared with expectations of 82 cents.