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New online tool to boost network storage sales


Chessington, December 9: Ideal is going live this week with a new online tool to help resellers make headway in moving customers to storage area networks (SANs).


The Storage First Aid Centre (www.ideal.co.uk/storagefirstaid) acts as a ‘one stop shop’ where a reseller can go for information and help on selling SANs to end user customers. The Storage First Aid Centre, a micro-site within www.ideal.co.uk, and developed by Ideal in conjunction with Hewlett Packard, provides a range of services:


- SAN information

- An e-mail response service for technical queries

- Area for requesting a consultant for an on-site customer visit

- The ability to view relevant collateral

- Booking area for customer demonstrations

- The ability to request bespoke training

- Prepare a Storage Proposal wizard


One of the key parts of the service, the Prepare a Storage Proposal works as follows:


* The reseller downloads a questionnaire to send to their prospective SAN customer, or fills in the form online.


* This information is sent back to Ideal, at the touch of a button or by fax, and analysed by Ideal’s networked storage experts.


* Ideal then supplies the reseller either with a simple quote incorporating a list of requirements, within a maximum of four hours. Or, in the case of a more complex set of requirements, takes additional steps such as sending a consultant along with the reseller to the customer site.


”Resellers will save huge amounts of time by going on-line to get what they want, and make requests which will automatically be routed to the right people,” says Donal Madden, Ideal’s Business Manager for HP Storage.


Madden added: “Storage area networks, while a huge channel opportunity, are an intimidating sell for many resellers. The Storage First Aid Centre makes it easy for them to tap into their customers’ needs and find out if selling them a SAN is a viable option. If it is, it provides them with the next step.”


Madden says the Storage First Aid Centre is just the latest way that Ideal is helping its resellers to turn customer interest in SANs into sales.


Earlier this year, capitalising on the successful launch of HP’s “My First SAN” sales and marketing campaign, Ideal launched its own complementary programme.


The theme of the campaign was ‘First Aid for Server Storage’, outlining how HP and Ideal help resellers to encourage their customers to migrate to an HP SAN. The campaign included the provision of training for sales and technical teams, demonstration equipment and on-site consultancy for end users.


Ideal, one of the leading UK distributors, sells in excess of £200 million worth of HP equipment annually.


Madden commented at the time of My First SAN: “SANs are often misconstrued as being complicated and expensive. In fact, for many users, they are a simple and cost-efficient alternative to Direct Attached Storage (DAS). Our programme is aimed at cutting through any concerns resellers may have about the benefits and implementation of HP SAN technology.”


For further information please contact ambrosemcnevin@transom-media.co.uk, or call Ambrose on 020 8444 7649.



About Ideal

Ideal is the UK division of Bell Microproducts Europe. Bell Microproducts Europe is a unique channel focused supplier of hardware and software products and services ranging from components to high-level consultancy.

Each Bell Microproducts Europe business operates in the following key technology markets:

Enterprise Solutions - Focusing on high-end storage solutions. Branded as Ideal Enterprise Solutions in UK and Bell Microproducts Solutions in all other European territories.

Systems - Focusing primarily on the Intel based server, desktop and mobile

Markets;

Software - Focusing on the sales of software, primarily through its on-online licensing tool LDi (Licence Desk internet);

Mass Storage - Focusing on disk drives and storage components;

Professional Services - Storage consultancy engaging with end users to create a market for resellers.

Bell Microproducts Europe is headquartered in Chessington in the UK with operations in France (Paris) Germany (Munich); Italy (Milan); Netherlands (Amersfoort); Belgium (Brussels); and Sweden (Stockholm).

Bell Microproducts Solutions is headquartered in Almere, The Netherlands with operations in Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Frankfurt) and Austria (Vienna).

Bell Microproducts Europe is part of the billion NASDAQ listed Bell Microproducts Inc, one of the world's largest storage focused IT companies operating from more than 40 locations, and employing over 1,100 people across the US, Canada, Latin America, the UK and Europe.

In the UK Bell Microproducts Europe owns and operates Ideal Hardware. Ideal Hardware was voted Storage Distributor of the Year at the Computer Reseller News Channel Awards 2002 for the fourth consecutive year.



About Bell Microproducts

Bell Microproducts is an international, value-added provider of a wide range of high-technology products, solutions, and services to the industrial and commercial markets. The company is an industry-recognized specialist in storage products and is one of the world's largest storage-centric value-added distributors with offices in the Americas and Europe. More information can be found in the company's SEC filings, or by visiting the Bell Microproducts Web site at www.bellmicro.com.



Safe Harbor Statement

This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or facts to differ materially from such statements for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: the ability to successfully integrate the operations of recent acquisitions, industry conditions, changes in product supply, pricing, and customer demand, competition, other vagaries in the computer and electronic components markets, changes in relationships with key suppliers, foreign currency fluctuations and the other risks described from time to time in the Company's reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (including the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K). Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. Shareholders and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.



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