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Torelli's Big Takeaway: Get Help!

If you've been following this season's saga of a very special small to midsize business (SMB) getting its big break into the realm of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, you've probably already picked up on a recurring theme - one that continues to emerge in this collection of associated blogs, videos and "how to" articles. The lesson is: When it comes time to implement a new ERP solution for your SMB operations, seek professional help.

If you've been following this season's saga of a very special small to midsize business (SMB) getting its big break into the realm of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, you've probably already picked up on a recurring theme - one that continues to emerge in this collection of associated blogs, videos and "how to" articles. The lesson is: When it comes time to implement a new ERP solution for your SMB operations, seek professional help.In the case of the Torelli Bicycle Company, the subject of this season's extreme ERP makeover, the four-person firm reached out to ERP software vendor SAP and one of its premier integrators for the SMB market, Navigator Business Solutions. According to Torelli's Product Design Manager Christian Feldhake, having an integrator deeply involved in the implementation process may result in some additional costs, but those costs are easily justified, regardless of the size of the company that is taking on the challenge of installing an ERP system. "For larger businesses or smaller businesses, having [the integration partner onsite is] worth every penny, and it was priceless to us in the implementation," Feldhake said during a recent webcast sponsored by InformationWeek SMB and SAP.

"For a lot of the businesses that are looking at this software, some of the ... major questions are, 'How long will it take?' and 'Where can I get training for my employees?' " Feldhake said. "What you really have to do is sit down with the people who are going to be implementing this, and have them accept it. Once they accept it, they need to go full force into this software and really get as deep as possible," he advised.

"One of the things that was priceless about having [the integration partner] here is, when you do hit one of those small barriers - and you don't know that it's a small barrier when you're looking at it in the new software - you can walk into the other room ... and just ask [the integration partner. Its staff has] so much knowledge on how to fix this problem, how to go around this problem, and how your company may want to implement with this problem," Feldhake said. "Then it isn't a problem any more. It becomes, `How do we make a solution to get around this, or to make it work better for our business.'"

Find out more about Torelli's ride on the ERP express by experiencing the webcast, "InformationWeek SMB On Location Makeover: Torelli Races for the Finish Line with New ERP System," in its entirety, courtesy of InformationWeek SMB and SAP.

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