|CRAY INC filed this Form 10-Q on 10/30/2018|
addressable market by leveraging our technologies, customer base, the Cray brand and by introducing complementary products and services to new and existing customers, as demonstrated by our emphasis on strategic initiatives, such as big data analytics, AI and storage.
In analytics and AI, we are developing and delivering high performance data discovery, advanced analytics, machine learning and deep learning solutions. These solutions use both Cray developed and open source software, delivering faster time-to-solution and advanced capabilities that are key drivers for many of our data analytics and AI customers. We support open source technologies such as Hadoop, Spark and Jupyter Notebook to design large-scale data analytics stacks that simplify analyses of scientific and commercial application and Python and R, distributed Dask, BigDL, TensorFlow and TensorBoard for advanced AI solutions, as well as many others.
In storage, we are developing and delivering high value products for the high performance parallel storage market. Our 2017 transaction with Seagate enhances our capabilities in storage and data management. Our storage products are primarily positioned to enable tight integration of storage with computing solutions and/or utilize parallel file processing technologies and facilitate storage across multiple data tiers. We support open source parallel file systems and protocols such as Lustre.
We have also expanded our addressable market by providing cluster systems and solutions to the supercomputing market that allow us to offer flexible platforms to incorporate best of breed components to allow customers to optimize the system to fit their unique requirements.
Key Performance Indicators
Our management monitors and analyzes several key performance indicators in order to manage our business and evaluate our financial and operating performance, including:
Revenue. Product revenue generally constitutes the major portion of our revenue in any reporting period and, for the reasons discussed in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q or in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, is subject to significant variability from period to period and is very difficult to forecast. In the short term, we closely review the status of customer proposals, customer contracts, product shipments, installations and acceptances in order to forecast revenue and cash receipts. In the longer-term, we monitor the status of the pipeline of product sales opportunities and product development cycles. We believe product revenue growth measured over several quarters is a better indicator of whether we are achieving our objective of growth and increased market share in the supercomputing market. The Cray XC and Cray CS products, along with our longer-term product roadmap are efforts to increase product revenue. We have increased our business and product development efforts in big data analytics, AI and storage and data management. Service revenue related to our maintenance offerings is subject to less variations in the short term and may assist, in part, to offset the impact that the variability in product revenue has on total revenue.
Gross profit margin. Gross profit margin is impacted by the level of revenue, different customer requirements, competitive considerations, product type and our anticipated and actual cost to build and deliver our products and services. Our services tend to carry higher gross profit margins than our products. We often bid contracts and commit to future system performance where certain key components are not available in the market at the time of bid and/or whose price might change from what was expected. While we have significant experience doing so, such actions are inherently risky and can impact our gross profit margin significantly in any period. For example, memory prices have more than doubled in less than a year which has had a significant impact on our reported product gross profit margin. Our costs are also currently being impacted by tariffs on certain parts we buy from suppliers. To mitigate this and other similar risks, we monitor the cost of components, manufacturing, and installation of our products. In assessing our service gross profit margin, we monitor headcount levels and third-party costs.
Operating expenses. Our operating expenses are driven primarily by headcount and compensation expense, including variable incentive compensation and contracted third-party research and development services. As part of our ongoing expense management efforts, we continue to monitor headcount levels in specific geographic and operational areas. With the recent reduction in revenue levels, we reduced the size of our workforce in 2017. However, the 2017 transaction with Seagate has partially offset this reduction but should help increase revenue and improve storage gross profit.
Liquidity and cash flows. Due to the variability in product revenue, new contracts, acceptance and payment terms, our cash position also varies significantly from quarter-to-quarter and within a quarter. We monitor our expected cash levels, particularly in light of increased inventory purchases for large system installations and the risk of delays in product shipments, customer acceptances and, in the long-term, product development. Cash receipts generally lag customer acceptances.