Dell’s recent PartnerDirect Solutions Conference 2012 in Madrid was the place to hear all about the core benefits of being a Dell Partner – as well as an ideal opportunity to find out about some of the biggest and most impactful projects partners have been working on in the past year.

One partner remarked about the benefits of being a Dell Partner: “The opportunity to cooperate with one of the major leaders in the market - that’s the biggest advantage. But Dell is also building and refining its Partner Channel, so there are even more opportunities.” You can hear more views from Dell Partners here.

That sentiment was backed up in many of the conversations we had with partners during the conference. With access to Dell’s expertise in business development, technical engagements, and sales and marketing, it’s fair to say our partners have never had more opportunities to succeed. Something that didn’t go unnoticed by CRN who put Dell in its list of the best companies to partner with in 2012, citing Dell’s acquisition of Quest as a great example of its evolution to an end-to-end solution vendor and strong channel partner; CRN also said Dell was “serving up a portfolio of storage, security and management software.”

With storage becoming one of the fastest growing areas of customer needs, it’s no surprise that many cited their biggest projects as those involving Dell storage. Listen here to find out what the Partners had to say. Many have also been taking advantage of end-to-end and cloud solutions to drive acquisition and growth. Says one partner: “Our biggest project would have to be a huge full stack project where we provided server, network, storage and backup from Dell.” Another one says: “Last year we worked with a Swiss railway company providing a desktop virtualization solution that involved a big hosting deal with Dell.”

Meanwhile, equipping his sales team with the right expertise was the most important priority for one of our partners. “We expanded the team so we’ve got more sales people who can win sales faster. Sales are critical to our future growth, as is staying in the Premier Partner programme,” he explained.

Full- scale cloud implementations also stood out as fine examples of great projects. One partner describes the experience: “By far the biggest and best project we worked on with Dell last year was implementing our own easy cloud public infrastructure which is comprised completely of Dell storage and servers.”

What does 2013 have in store?

The people who know and understand our customers’ needs and frustrations better than anyone are our valued Partners. The Solutions Conference gave us the perfect opportunity to identify the key challenges for our partners as well as their expectations for the coming year.

Most of our partners face similar demands. Like all technology companies, they’re under constant pressure to grow profits and keep up with other hardware providers. That means they have to stay on the cutting edge of technology as best they can. It’s no surprise, then, that cloud will be a key area of focus for everyone. As one partner put it: “Cloud computing is not only the future, it’s now, and today.”

When it comes to storage, confidence is high. Another of the partners we spoke to expects Dell to come out on top in the storage space. He said: “Dell has a good roadmap for storage and I think they can win the battle using Compellent, EqualLogic and PowerVault solutions.”

A key concern for one partner was the speed of the Dell acquisition programme and the effect it has on its relationship with its vendors. He said: “When Dell brings in a new technology, we’ve got a decision to make. We either bring it on board – but in a lot of cases that means displacing an existing vendor.”

Whatever the challenges they face in the coming year, our partners must be able to continue to rely on Dell to ensure they have everything they need to stay ahead of their competition. One of our partners identified “good and honest communication” with Dell to be central to its success in 2013. As long as we continue to build strong relationships with our partners, we can face all our challenges, together. In their own words, Partners discuss here what the key challenges are.

In terms of technology, storage and cloud are where most partners expect the action to be. Demand for both appears to be on the rise, but most of our partners seem to be thinking about the Dell product range as a whole.

A number of our partners identified the fact that Dell could provide an end-to-end solution as being key to their success. One said: “With Dell, we can provide the full stack – so starting from server through to network, storage, backup and archive. It’s one of the key benefits of working with Dell.” And another said: “Customers understand the value of the products because you can sell an entire solution – from laptops to storage.”

One of our partners also felt that Dell’s acquisition programme would deliver new business opportunities in the coming year. He said: “We’ve got new high-profit opportunities coming through all the time. The acquisition of Quest is quite key to us because we’re a high technology company. We have our own system engineers, and we’re a Microsoft Gold Partner so a lot of the Quest tools will naturally fit into our portfolio.”

Something all of our partners had in common was a high level of confidence that working together with Dell could deliver significant business opportunities to give them a real competitive edge. Hear more about what they have to say in this clip. All-in-all, with a full range of products and services, Dell and our partners are well placed to provide customers with truly comprehensive solutions that can transform businesses for the better. And that can only mean 2013 will be a great year for all of us.