Dell has kicked off 2012 by using its inaugural European Storage Forum in London to announce a number of enhancements to its Storage Smart partner programme that it says will simplify the storage marketing and sales process for its resellers.
A new sales tool called Storage Master will act as a one-stop-shop for Dell partners to get their mitts on educational resources. The tool can be configured to reflect the different stages of the sales cycle and offer resources relevant to both this factor, and customer needs in different industries.
The other new element is an Online Solutions Configurator, which will help partners rapidly configure solutions for customers, and avoid needless back and forth exchanges between the reseller and Dell's internal teams, according to Ahmed Mouldaia, EMEA channel solutions executive director.
"We want our resellers to be capable of answering every storage need," said Mouldaia. "We have to extend the capability of our partners to own the Dell portfolio."
Both of these tools sit alongside the Dell Performance Analysis Collection Kit, or DPACK, launched last month. DPACK runs remotely to draw together core customer data such as disk IO, throughput, capacity and so on, and produces an in-depth view of workload and future requirements.
The vendor is building its storage proposition around the idea of Fluid Data, the ultimate purpose of which is to help end-users drive cost out of their business.
"Having a great technology story is not enough," said Andy Hardy, Dell head of UK public sector and large enterprise storage. "The key issue here in Europe is money, and partners [must] face head-on the reality that budgets are tight and yet storage is still the single fastest-growing cost in the data centre."
"It's a bit like selling toilet paper; you have to have more of it," he added.
The Fluid Data concept is meant to address this by dynamically adapting how businesses store their data based on their current business needs, with the result, said Hardy, that budgets don't spiral out of control if more capacity is needed, for example.
Dell also used the Forum to look back on a successful 2011, during which it claims its storage business registered 60,000 deals and booked sales of €2bn (£1.65bn) in Europe, up 27% year-on-year.