AWS Cloud Financial Management

How PandaDoc took cloud operation to a new level with AWS

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Teams use PandaDoc to improve document workflows, insights, and speed while delivering an amazing experience for their customers. Businesses trust PandaDoc’s all-in-one document automation software to streamline the process to create, approve, and eSign proposals, quotes, contracts, and more. With powerful document creation and workflow capabilities, teams can provide their customers with a more professional, timely, and engaging experience.

The challenge

In 2020, PandaDoc achieved record growth as the world moved to more remote work, which challenged businesses to figure out how to operate more efficiently. In order to meet the new demands for their software, including customers from new segments, PandaDoc quickly deployed more infrastructure and iterated on feature development, which created architectural artifacts that were not optimized for cost efficiency or performance.

To tackle this problem, PandaDoc engaged AWS Enterprise Support in mid 2021 to help them facilitate future growth by adhering to the best practices in cloud operations. Here is how AWS Enterprise Support helped PandaDoc save money, improve their security and governance posture, and upskill their teams.

Executing the strategy

The first step PandaDoc took was establishing a cross-functional FinOps team, dedicated to driving cost optimization across all their accounts. Once established, PandaDoc engaged AWS Enterprise Support, who conducted a Well-Architected workshop in combination with a thorough infrastructure review. These engagements helped improve their decision-making process around deploying their cloud architecture.  For example, a new multi-step internal process was created for service adoption that more effectively evaluated alternatives and associated costs of solutions prior to deployment.

With the central FinOps team and the cost-conscious architectural mindset in place, PandaDoc then set about to identify and take action on cost optimization opportunities. At this stage, an AWS Technical Account Manager took the lead and worked with PandaDoc to deploy the Cloud Intelligence Dashboards (specifically the Trusted Advisor Organizational dashboard and CUDOS), as part of the Well-Architected labs, to better visualize their cost and usage data as well as surface various cost optimization opportunities and their impact.

Prioritizing team efforts based on data

After deploying the dashboards, PandaDoc, for example, discovered very low average utilization for EC2 instances used by AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). The dashboard identified the instance IDs in question and highlighted the savings PandaDoc would realize if they were to right-size them. After seeing the opportunity in the dashboards, PandaDoc engaged Enterprise support who provided access to expert guidance with EKS Operational Review to optimize cluster design and settings.

In another example, PandaDoc was able to use the dashboards to identify that their hourly on-demand workloads were spikey, indicating that certain applications needed re-factoring to take advantage of EC2 Spot instances. This re-factoring ended up saving PandaDoc up to 50% of their compute costs per each development environment. PandaDoc used these savings to double the number of test environments engineers could use to test future releases, speeding up their release cycles.

Finally, PandaDoc was able to use the dashboards to find and eliminate unused instances and to uncover new opportunities for Compute Savings Plans. Making these changes increased their overall compute resource utilization up to 75% and resulted in another 20% in overall Compute savings.

“The Cloud Intelligence Dashboard helped us visualize our Trusted Advisor flag checks alongside our AWS Cost & Usage Report. The visibility into our right-sizing recommendations and EC2 usage patterns enabled us to uncover so many opportunities to save costs without compromising performance or resiliency!” – Alexandr Revko – Cost Optimization initiative lead, PandaDoc

After PandaDoc successfully increased performance and reliability of their architecture and saved money by taking action on cost optimization measures, they tackled operational and security issues with help from their AWS Technical Account Manager. By using AWS Control Tower with AWS Security Hub integration, PandaDoc overhauled their account governance model, which helped add a new layer of granularity per environment. Taking these steps created a new controlled zone to make applications more secure. Ultimately this resulted in teams having a greater level of autonomy through self-service without compromising security.

Next steps

Thanks to Enterprise Support and the Cloud Intelligence Dashboards, PandaDoc has been able to cut 45% of their total compute costs while maintaining the same pace of new customer acquisition. But this is only the beginning of the savings opportunities they’ve identified. Next, they will focus on application and database migrations to ARM Architecture enabled by the AWS Graviton Processor providing up to a 25% better price/performance ratio.

PandaDoc looks forward to engaging Enterprise Support more in the future as they adopt more AWS services to enable new products and features. “Information shared under NDA about specific services was helpful to plan our solutions integrations and release pipeline,” says Anton Charnamord, lead engineer for new product launches.

Vadim Kharitonov, Technical Director, is pleased with the level of cooperation between PandaDoc and Enterprise Support teams. A proactive attitude to identify and get the right support at the right time made this engagement productive: “It feels like our Technical Account Manager is truly part of our team to the extent that we could assign tasks to him in our internal tools.”

About PandaDoc Benefits PandaDoc achieved using AWS
  • PandaDoc is an american software company providing SaaS software for the sales processes. Includes document automation software as a service with built-in electronic signatures, workflow management, a document builder4, and CPQ functionality.
  • Unleashed innovation through native services (such as EC2, EKS, Control Tower, Security Hub, and the Cost & Usage Report) and architecture deep dives delivered by experts
  • Reduced time to market for new products
  • Improved security posture
  • Optimized costs by modernizing and rightsizing compute resources, and various AWS purchase options, e.g. SP, Spot

Aaron Edell

Aaron Edell

Aaron Edell is Head of GTM for Customer Cloud Intelligence for Amazon Web Services. He is responsible for building and scaling businesses around Cloud Financial Management, FinOps, and the Well-Architected Cost Optimization pillar. He focuses his GTM efforts on the Cloud Intelligence Dashboards and remains obsessed with helping all customers get better visibility and access to their cost and usage data.

Alexander Ignatenko

Alexander Ignatenko

Alexander Ignatenko is a Senior Technical Account Manager at AWS where he helps customers navigate through their cloud journey with a focus on financial and operational efficiency. Prior to joining AWS, Alexander held multiple engineering and technical leadership positions across different countries in Europe and the Middle East. Alexander has a Masters degree in networking and industry certifications in IT operations, networking, and cloud architecture.