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A Direct Line to a Database Administrator

When the Hillman Group VP and CIO Jim Honerkamp started moving his Oracle EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to Microsoft SQL Server, leaving his AS/400 and his DB2 database behind, one obvious step was to hire a new database administrator. "But it would have cost us $85,000 per year, and there wasn't enough work to keep that person busy," says Honerkamp.

Based in Cincinnati, the $351-million Hillman Group is a distributor of items like hardware (screws, washers, etc.) as well as numbers and letters for mailboxes and commercial building signage. Honerkamp's philosophy on outsourcing some of the Hillman Group's work is simple: Keep the strategic tasks in-house, and farm out the strictly technical stuff.

Because the Hillman Group had made a series of acquisitions, Honerkamp was running three separate proprietary ERP systems for various product lines. The systems were not fully integrated, but Honerkamp was able to run reports across all three using an Information Builders' tool, WebFocus. The company decided to deploy EnterpriseOne because "our business is too complex to be running three separate systems," says Honerkamp. "Our customers are demanding better accuracy, and it's difficult to meet their needs with these legacy systems."

For his SQL Server project, Honerkamp turned to dba-Direct Inc., a database administration managed services company in Florence, Ky. "Because we handed it off to them, we can get from point A to point B at a better price," says Honerkamp. To move data from DB2 to SQL, Honerkamp uses IBM WebSphere Information Integration -- a project dbaDirect is helping with. "It's a tool on steroids," says Honerkamp. "It takes 15 minutes to process 6 million transactions."

The Hillman Group is paying roughly $30,000 annually for dbaDirect services, and Honerkamp is pleased with the price tag, "I don't have to think about it. I don't have any issues, and that's what I'm looking for from an outsourcing partner." Problem solved.

Stefanie McCann was formerly editor at large at CIO Decisions magazine. Write to her at

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