Dell Storage Forum: Dell, Technology and Partners are Better Together

Last week’s Dell Storage Forum in London was not only a great way to kick off the year but also an impressive illustration of how Dell’s storage business has grown and matured over the last eighteen months. Over this period Dell has been busy acquiring companies that bring new, innovative IP in the storage space – Compellent, Exanet and Ocarina to name a few – as part of a focused drive towards building the most robust storage portfolio on the market. More recently, in the last six months, our engineers have been hard at work integrating these various technologies to enable cutting edge solutions for customers, and the fruits of their labour were really on show at DSF!

The importance of the Compellent acquisition to Dell’s strategy was particularly clear – our Fluid Data strategy owes its name to Compellent’s technology of the same name, and it is this dynamic and automated management platform which lies at the heart of the vision presented at DSF. One of the overriding messages from the event was ‘Better Together’ – the notion that Dell’s technologies together become greater than the sum of their parts, offering greater flexibility, better performance and improved cost-effectiveness.

The investments we are making in storage are extremely exciting for our channel partners as well.  The Partner Day on Tuesday, January 10th, gave us the opportunity to talk with them about how they can sell Fluid Data solutions — and how Dell’s channel organisation is going to support them.  We have invested heavily in our storage channel business in the last 12 months, doubling solutions headcount and increasing the sales and marketing support on offer to partners.

During his Partner Day opening keynote Bob Skelley not only shared some insight into Dell’s strategy to grow its channel but also news of some extremely powerful and exciting tools we are providing to our partners. The first of these is DPACK – Dell Performance Analysis Collection Kit – a complimentary tool that allows partners to gather a set of specific information on the customer’s environment and then make recommendations on the most suitable solutions for their data management needs. Our sales teams have been using this tool for a while now and it has received extremely positive reviews.

We’ve also developed Storage Master – an entirely new and comprehensive sales tool which brings together all of Dell’s key sales and marketing resources on storage solutions in one simple interface. Partners are served up tools and resources on Dell’s storage portfolio depending on the type of solutions they need and by what stage of the sales cycle they are in.  Most importantly, they get the information they need in 2 or 3 clicks, thereby helping them use our vast collection of resources in a much more efficient manner.  Partners were able to see demos of the Storage Source and they were very excited to get it rolled out to their sales teams.

The final tool we have launched is the Online Solutions Configurator (OSC) – a new solutions tool helps partners rapidly configure solutions for customers based on their unique requirements. Through the OSC, partners also now can easily configure and sell Dell Business Ready Configurations (BRCs) – pre-tested and integrated virtualized storage, networking and server configurations. This should make it far simpler and faster for partners to configure solutions for customers.

The event theme, ‘Better Together’, nicely sums up our take on the importance of our channel partners in growing Dell’s storage business. Our investment in these new tools underscores our commitment to the channel and our belief that they have the critical blend of skills, expertise and relationships to take Fluid Data solutions to market. With further announcements coming soon around a new certification path for cloud, our partner program, toolkit and technology portfolio will continue to grow and help our partners enjoy a prosperous 2012.

About the Author: Kathy Schneider