Limited Time Offer
Up to $20K in incentives for AWS partners. Request Details
Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 186

October 13, 2023

#186 Dan Hod: Building Bridges: How Amdocs Collaborates with Hyperscalers to Deliver Customer Value

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, Chief Partner Officer WorkSpan is joined by Dan Hod, VP, Global Cloud Alliances & Ecosystem, Amdocs.

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, Chief Partner Officer WorkSpan is joined by Dan Hod, VP, Global Cloud Alliances & Ecosystem, Amdocs.

An exemplary leader with over 3 decades of experience, Dan excels in linking people, businesses, and cutting-edge tech. His blend of technical expertise and business acumen consistently generates new revenue, nurtures partnerships, and drives symbiotic collaborations. 

Co-founding and driving R&D in three startups, Dan achieved successful fundraising and two exits, shaping industry standards. 

Dan’s recent focus on cloud computing led him to pioneer Amdocs' cloud business, leveraging a deep understanding of Hyperscalers. Dan's journey showcases innovation, strategic insight, and a steadfast commitment to reshaping tech landscapes.

Topics covered include:

  • The history of Amdocs and how it started - 3:53
  • Working with the cloud providers - 10:05
  • How did you get into cloud consumption - 20:34
  • Advice on how to take on enterprise deals - 27:53

Chip Rodgers  00:06

Hey, welcome back everyone. Chip Rodgers, Chief partner officer at WorkSpan and I'm excited to be joined this morning by Dan HOD. Dan, welcome.

Dan Hod  00:19

Good morning. Thank you for waking up early for me.

Chip Rodgers  00:25

So Dan is VP of global cloud alliances and ecosystem at Amdocs. And Dan excited  to have a chat with you. Dan has a background in technology actually starting going way back within, in the army for six years in learning, technology and computers. And I'm really digging my way back.

Dan Hod  00:58

Actually, my story is that I was playing, as I told you, before, when I was a kid, I was playing the piano and guitar. And in Israel, there is also something called a military bent. And when I grew up, I always wanted to go in this direction. And actually I was elected to one of the military bands, which was not open, and then they told me there was a chorus of tools in the IDF. Do you want to go so I thought, yeah, why not? And all of my career changed because of that.That's why I went back into the playground.

Chip Rodgers  01:29

And you're still playing music, learning new instruments. And you're actually playing in a band?

Dan Hod  01:45

Yes,I'm planning my retirement. So it will be like playing in a band, maybe in the street. Welcome to play in the streets. Israelis, suburbs, or neighborhoods.

Chip Rodgers  02:02

Love it. So, Dan, you've had a long career in technology. 16 years at Amdocs. Currently heading the cloud alliances ecosystem group. Why don't we start there, Dan, maybe you can share a little bit about what you and your team are up to at Amdocs.

Dan Hod  02:28

Thanks, again, for giving me this opportunity to speak with you. So my team today is in charge of all the relationships with the cloud partners for Amdocs. So we started with the hyper scalars, we can dive into that, and build an ecosystem of partners. And together with the hyper scalars, we like to serve the cloud business.

So my team today is working with four hyper scalars AWS, Azure Google and recently OCI. And for each one of them, we have to run and manage the partnership, the day to day my partnership, but there is a lot of focus and in the activities on driving, how can we drive joint business with these guys? The huge companies with so many programs and roles, and you get to know them? And this is the speciality of my team.

The history of Amdocs and how it started

Chip Rodgers  03:34

That's great. There's a lot going on with, with the cloud providers, the hyperscalers. Maybe, if you could talk a little bit about how that process has been going.

Dan Hod  03:53

Maybe I'll tell you the history of it, because I think it's interesting. Yeah, so all related to my history in Amdocs, I started to make a few roles in Amdocs. And then I moved to the Alliance's team, and I manage all the new alliances, all the strategic alliances. So 6 to 8 years ago, it was around open source, for example, Amdocs, we moved, we shifted our portfolio from being vendor specific, and to be open source to be based on open source technology. 

So I had to work very closely with the technical technology leadership, and define the new agreement to choose the new vendors and to define the new agreements. How do we work with it? So Amdocs, for those who don't know Amdocs, has 35,000+ plus people ,almost $5 billion in revenue and 40 years in the market. 

And by far like the leader in the telecommunication industry, and now we are also penetrating the FSI industry. And Amdocs is a unique combination of an ISV. And that's many times my challenge working with these big guys, they look like an ISV because we are independent software vendors, we have over 100 products in our portfolio, 5000 people developing products, but we have also 25,000 people doing services inside. 

So we call it a product lead services company. By the way, there are many companies not many, but few companies that try to replicate this model. So, we come in with our IP and we are the system integrator also to deliver and Amdocs is the only system integrator for our product. So, Accenture for example, are not implementing Amdocs products or other SIs. So, we started in, I started, for example, working with open source vendors, and trying to build a new portfolio. And then there were more strategic areas like networks. 

So we started Amdocs started going into the network business, acquiring network companies that are not creating network equipment, but doing for example, network optimization, so require a company like Actix and Salsa. And we developed something that to intersect called the network orchestrator, if you remember the buzzword around the SDN and NFV, we went to it and developed. And then we created an ecosystem of partners around this ecosystem. 

So for example, companies like Cisco or Nokia, Alcatel, like we had Android, may have almost 100 partners, only around this ecosystem of network. So it was open source, then network, and then we started doing big data in the AI ecosystem around that. And then back then in, I came from a startup, by the way, in 2007, that we developed something like Dropbox today. And we started working with AWS back then. They had three, the early days when I joined Amdocs,I was monitoring cloud development. 

I mean, like, six, seven years ago, after doing like open source network data, then I started telling my boss, let's start talking with these cloud vendors. And the first drive, by the way, was 10 years ago, I was managing a product and we came to the customer and told them guys, why don't you try it called the APRM Amdocs product relationship manager providing basic b2b capabilities for the telco with its partners, like dealers or content providers. And back then 10 years ago, the cloud adoption was too early so that we gave an amazing pricing, for example, for the customers, but they didn't want to adopt it. 

In 2017, AWS, I was already talking to them. And they gave to us you didn't know, what AWS are seeing more and more telcos coming and asking, to discuss a cloud, cloud migration. And then AWS was the first one to come to us and the first deal that I signed. And by the way, I don't know, if you're familiar with their strategic collaboration agreement, it's like a framework where they are looking for leaders in the sector in like industries, so Amdocs for the telecommunication, and basically made a lot of investment, to start moving Amdocs to the cloud. 

So we started , I started myself, now we have a team of almost 50 people. So I started myself, with AWS with the technology guys, and moving like building our portfolio to be a native run native on AWS, and looking for the first deal. And then in 2019, the first deal came, it's like an APAC, I cannot disclose the name of the customer. It's an APAC customer. And they wanted to move the Amdocs systems to the cloud, because again, we see the telcos moving, where they can system, of course systems to the cloud, to enable developing new applications. 

So if you want to develop a application on the cloud, and you need access to the backend systems, for example, for it to call API or to get information, so if if the backend systems are still on prem, you need to go to the it to the security, sometimes you need to buy equipment, very, very complex. So, we did that. And from then the team grew and the business grew, like tremendously in the next year, and then we continued a deal with Microsoft and then Google.

Working with the cloud providers

Chip Rodgers  10:05

That's really interesting. So by working with the cloud providers, as long ago as 10 years ago, I guess maybe 2017, you said, was when it really got started. But you were able to simplify deployment and some of the challenges that otherwise you would have had, or your customers would have had if it was on prem.

Dan Hod  10:34

Yeah, correct. So by the way, talking about this partnership, I remember I read in the Surface Book that there is a chapter about partnerships, the partnerships you need to build, not when you need them, but my longtime. So the first agreement was signed in 2018. But the boom is in the last two, three years. So it's really a good example, are we so where the market is going? And it was not like, it's not a nuclear technology. It was very obvious, because you saw the banking moving to it. And, I learned that the FSI telcos are an industry that are leading the market. 

And we came ready with all the mechanisms, windmills to incentivise the customers to move, because they have the challenge, for example, the Amdocs, which have existed for 40 years. So we have customers running the system for 20-30 years. And every five years that they need to repurchase software, sometimes, and to fly for an Oracle database or Red Hat, underlying technologies that you need to rebuild or recompile, the system. So these compelling events, we came and told them, guys, maybe now you can move to the cloud. And this is exactly exactly what happened. So you saw that, at the beginning of my sale my fight was, even internally in Amdocs, because I had to go to the sales guys and tell them guys why you are your own only offering on prem. 

And for the guys who are doing the sizing, I told them, guys, let's give them another option, let's give them on prem, but let's give them an opportunity or an option to go on the cloud. And there was a deal. By the way, it was very interesting, I was pitching that, and they told me Dan, what time we saw. And then a week before the submission, the customer told them, by the way, we also want an offer on the cloud. So then I rest my case, every time we came with this approach to be ready, because they didn't want to do the work at the last minute.

How did you get into cloud consumption

Chip Rodgers  12:39

Wow, that's interesting. So what has the journey been? So you started out, I mean, that you sort of gone full circle with starting, really building a joint investment, you were saying that, with AWS initially to, build the solution in the cloud, move Amdocs technology into the cloud, and then you've gone through this whole process of going to market together. And now I assume you're also Co-selling with some of the field, some of the cloud providers, some of their field teams.

Dan Hod  13:20

So first of all, I want to compliment AWS because they came to us without any commitment, nothing, they didn't tell us if we give you x you need to provide us 10x or something like that. Now, they believed in telecommunication, and believed in Amdocs. And they just put a lot of resources on us. And they get a lot because now for example, or when we develop our software, the development is done on prem and on AWS. So that's how it started. Now, an important part of our business, it's a business with partners. 

So Amdocs is the biggest AI in the telco. And when we come to our customers, sometimes they ask us for technology that we don't have. So we brought partners in and we found out that we can give our customers even the huge ones at a better price on HP, Dell,IBM, Oracle, Red Hat So we became a very strong reseller of all these, what we call the third party vendors came to the cloud. I tried to emphasize to the cloud guys the importance of selling consumption. And they told me, we work with big SIs. Nobody is talking with us about selling consumption. So I will tell you again, it was five years ago. That's everything these days. Because it's money on the table.

So we were working very hard to let them understand how to make it happen. For example, if a sales guy has two options to sell on prem, he gets all the revenue, or to sell on the cloud, and then the customer is buying directly from AWS No, no, no, or it will not work. So I created this mechanism, starting again, with AWS, then with Azure, how we secure this, what we call the cloud consumption. And, then working very closely with each hyper scalar in their sales team, to map the accounts that we want to go after. And then to see, what is the Amdocs footprint, what we can bring and work very, like very closely to jointly win deals together. And to support this model, everything will run and manage on an Amdocs account, for example, Amdocs. Right now we are moving slowly, that is a portfolio becoming more and more based on SAAS products. So we have maybe 10 SAAS products, but the core Intel Committee calls BSS business support systems in OSS operational support systems. 

It's cloud native, it's based on the microservices development, everything is split, but it's not SAAS, I remember I came to Amdocs. And, I came from a software background, I work in the army on very large projects. And here, every project that we count in amendments and sometimes it could be 1000s of amendments, you go to a huge transformation. And then you see that every telco is there, hundreds, sometimes 1000s of homegrown solutions that you need to integrate. It's endless work. So when you come in and try to translate it to bring it to the cloud, it becomes very difficult. 

So we started slowly winning those accounts and moving them to the cloud. So that was phase number one. Now the phase is to see how we can expand how we can sell more stuff. We sell them the new stuff, we're expanding into FSI, the Financial Services. So we have Amdocs that has a nice, very nice business of selling to banks. And now we're working also with hyper scalars. And how to elevate it and how to create more business together around it.

Chip Rodgers  17:42

So interesting that journey to included, really educating, kind of bringing your sales teams along and in the process and getting them to understand what are the motivations of their counterparts at AWS to begin with, and then the other cloud providers and getting them over the hump even to understand the the concept of consumption and how that can help them win the deal by aligning with the cloud providers sales team.

Dan Hod  18:18

Yeah, definitely. And it was hard also to explain the cloud to the cloud guys. So the good thing you would have is many people from big enterprises like IBM, EMC, HP, they all went to AWS or Azure, etc. So they understand people that come from there, for example, I remember one of them was for Cisco, and Cisco is known by like, selling everything from the partners, 90 plus percent. I was also managing Cisco like many. And I told the guy you came from Cisco. So you know it, certainly yes, I know, I understand. And they help you. But then we had to solve some issues. 

So for example, you come to a customer, the customer tells you but I just made the commitment to AWS. So we had the solutions, how to make sure it doesn't hurt from this commitment. So it will retire its commitment when running with Amdocs it will get a discount. So it's not easy, but we sought it out and we saw the result.

Also talking about what you said about understanding you know, out there other guys compensated it's super, super important. This is also a specialty of my team to know all the details and all the different programs of this guy. So in Microsoft, for example, IP Co-sell a program, so if you say something to the customer that they don't like from Amdocs, but Amdocs has a project in a customer, the guy the Microsoft guy that this customer can get recognition of a few hundreds of 1000s of dollars depends if you if you help him to get it and then he gives you back reciprocate. And then to understand the importance of consumption to them. Recently, last year, we started transacting via the marketplace and we see the trend of the marketplace.

So also Microsoft, all these guys understood, like Amdocs. Like we understood that we should resell Red Hat and HP learned this. It took him a few years because it's great revenue. I don't know if you know, but like when they doubted that if you bought something from the marketplace, it would only be 50%, like 50 cents per dollar against your commitment. Now it's 100%. So they have incentive because they want to grow their business. Yeah. So we also do that. So I have a team in my team, they're like two people that all they do is partner programs and operations, because it's endless.

The value of Marketplace

Chip Rodgers  20:53

Just tracking all the different programs. They, at Inspire. Last month, Microsoft made big announcements about everything that needs to be transacted. Transactable in the cloud, in the marketplace.

Dan Hod  21:09

And by the way, they are one leg behind AWS, for example, AWS also allows you to resell a third party from the marketplace. So Microsoft, I think they will announce it. So let's say I'm selling to my customer, Cloudera, or snowflake or whatever. So instead of them buying directly from Cloudera, or stuff like that at the marketplace, I want to be the reseller, in between. So it's becoming amazing that there are lots of businesses going there. And also the good thing. So the value of the marketplace is that it's easy to construct, because there is already an infrastructure in place. 

You don't need to go after a new approval, you just click and that's it. But you don't need to sign more documents. So we see many customers, asking us to also transact there, the marketplace will grow. By the way, Google and Oracle still do not have a marketplace, there are two options. One is the public marketplace. But in the telco, nobody will look for Amdocs in the public marketplace. Like you buy it in the app store and will buy something. So publishing on the public marketplace. But the deal is done in the private marketplace. Private after all. So everyone is also copying that. And,it's a clear direction where they go.

Chip Rodgers  22:37

Well, Dan will have to have you on. You can teach your course in this.

Dan Hod  22:43

But I wonder if I told you I prefer playing music then.

Chip Rodgers  22:52

Oh, that's great. It's taken a while even to get, everyone to understand the process to get the sales team, the product teams everyone to, get on board, how far how it's been six years say, since sort of starting out on this journey, how far along are you are feeling like you're that you've made a good dent in getting everyone aligned? How was it going?

Dan Hod  23:28

Not 100 percent you know, it's still a my team is like the Center of Excellence for all these activities. So when there is a deal, everybody comes to us and they don't go directly because we tell them many things, many programs are many even in the agreement that we have there like special benefits that we can apply on a deal. So we know there but also these companies are progressing and releasing updates and adding new stuff all the time. And, also introducing new roles. So one of the things that we need to know is which are the key guys in every region that we should speak with, to identify new opportunities. 

So for example, in the telco, it's easy. There are big telcos everywhere. But we want to get approached the small telcos or MVA knows NVMe so we need to know like, when in every region for pre hyper scalar with the business development guy, the right guy or partner sales guy, sometimes called the development guy, but the sales guy, the sales guy, GSI sales guy to talk with, to introduce us to know, to know opportunities, and that's my goal in the like in the next year, it was in this year and next year in the next two years is to see how we like significantly going to growing joint business with the hyper scalars by going to like new logos. So that's the challenge. And that's like one of the focus areas.

Chip Rodgers  25:00

It's tough to do that to get the sales teams aligned, Amdocs is a global company. So it's not just you got to go into each region or get each of the reach of your regional teams aligned, and then get them connected. So they can co-sell with their counterparts. 

Dan Hod  25:25

It's good because still you need the inter relationship, personal relationship between people and you see, where you have territories where the sales guys are, working amazing together. It's amazing. You see the difference between places where they fight, they don't see eye to eye, they are trying to find different stuff. We can talk about it, like in another episode about that. But still, and that's I'm happy to see that it's not like you buying a SAAS or like, small SAAS products from the internet that still have a lot of relationships, like being involved in the sales process and the partnership.

Chip Rodgers  26:10

Yeah, I mean, these are enterprise deals. So it takes time to get everyone aboard.

Dan Hod  26:18

We're still hunting elephants.

Chip Rodgers  26:23

So, Amdocs started out in telco very successfully in a sort of your core you've moved into into banking, are there other industries that you're taking on as well?

Dan Hod  26:38

Right now, it's a telco in the FSI. Now, the FSI business is like, above 10% of our overall revenue, almost 20. And we are going to spend a lot of effort. We also acquired the cloud division in the last few years, three consulting companies sourced I don't know if you are familiar with them, source group and DevOps group, and Kenzan. And many of them are coming with a very strong portfolio of banks in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, they are providing cloud consulting, and we are coming with from this consulting perspective and, bringing the full Amdocs is doing a lot of stuff. For example, one of the trends today in the banks that we see also in other places is mainframe, the banks, they don't want to continue paying to the mainframe. So they want to modernize them, they modernize the mainframe, moving it from AWS to Azure. So you'll see this trend. So that's where we have done mainframe modernization in the telco. Now, we're bringing this expertise to the as an example. To back up, so it's interesting.

Advice on how to take on enterprise deals

Chip Rodgers  27:53

Well, yeah, this has been fantastic. Thank you for sharing so many really interesting experiences and getting Amdocs. And, your whole organization, sales team, product team, everybody aligned and excited around working with the cloud providers. You've been working in partnerships for quite a while. Is there anything that you've learned along the way? Or are some advice that you got, along the way that's helped you working with partners that you'd want to share with our audience.

Dan Hod  28:30

Actually, when I think of a few pieces of advice first, when you sign the agreement, I try not to spend too much time on the agreement, and I'm telling the partners, let's not fight on the agreement. Because at the end of the day, if the partnership will work, then we don't need agreement. And if the partnership will not work, then also we don't need agreement.

Chip Rodgers  28:52

What are you really going to sue each other.

Dan Hod  28:56

Another thing, by the way, that I can give to small partners when we're coming to work with bigger SI like Amdocs as an SI reseller. I remember the first one of the first deals I did at the company startup that the CFO was a friend of mine also. And he told me Dan, we brought you to this deal in Telstra. How many deals my CEO is asking me I'm going to have next year can I say four or five. So I told him you can say 10. But you need to bring the deal. The bigger SI  they don't. We are selling 100 products and then another 100 products so we cannot sell you know, we the sales guys are responding to RFPs etc. And the small companies. 

If we have done that, I can tell you a story. There was a company that I told them again the same story I will tell them guys, this is the customer base. Let us tell your VP sales let us 1-2-3 opportunities that you want to pass through Amdocs. So we'll be the Brian and get some margin. And then we will replicate it. 

So he was going and I was telling him every time you go to a country, let me know, I will introduce you to them on Skype. So he had a presentation that he met like 30 Plus, Amdocs sales guys. And then the door was opened to the one big North American operator. And we signed the deal for them, like a five year deal. That was like five times their annual revenue was amazing. It was a big company. And small companies or mid sized companies cannot do it. They need big companies like Amdocs. And in the level of Amdocs, to do it comes to come to Amdocs with opportunities that you know that Amdocs is strong and does have customers and can help you sell it can help you increase it. So these are like two important tips.

Chip Rodgers  30:53

That's great. That's fantastic. Good advice. And you've been doing this a while and done it very successfully. So congrats on that, Dan.

Dan Hod  31:06

Thank you so much. Thank you both and continue with this. podcast. It's super interesting. I saw the list of people that you interviewed. It's super, very, very impressive.

Chip Rodgers  31:19

It's been a lot of fun. It's been quite a journey. And, I get to meet so many interesting people and all in, technology and partnerships and all that. So it's been a great, great project for us. So thank you. Well, Dan, thank you for joining. And this has been fantastic. And thank you all for joining another episode of ecosystem aces and for Dan Hodd. And I'm Chip Rodgers. Thank you again and we'll see you next time. Thanks, Dan.

Links & Resources