In a bid for a bigger piece of the Internet pie, Reynolds and Reynolds Co. has created an e-commerce division.
The eBusiness Group is the brainchild of Reynolds' new president and COO, Lloyd 'Buzz' Waterhouse. Waterhouse, 47, was with IBM Corp. for 26 years, most recently as IBM's general manager of e-business services, a division with annual revenues of more than $2.7 billion.
The move paves the way for the Dayton, Ohio, computer giant to expand its electronic commerce services. E-commerce currently represents just under $50 million in annual sales, or about 3 percent of Reynolds' total $1.5 billion in annual revenues.
'Reynolds' Internet business is growing 100 percent a year - and, unlike a lot of Internet companies, it's profitable,' said Waterhouse, who joined Reynolds in April. 'Reynolds was looking for somebody who had Internet experience. It was a good match.'
Reynolds' eBusiness Group, which was established in late June, now has about 300 employees. But the staff could top 1,000 by early next year, Waterhouse said. He would not make projections of future revenues for the eBusiness Group.
The group is headed by Greg Collins, formerly vice president of corporate strategy and development for Reynolds. It includes dedicated staff from each of the company's business units. Mark Brown, formerly group vice president of automotive solutions for Reynolds, is leading the automotive efforts for the eBusiness Group.
Reynolds intends to expand its existing Internet business, which includes administering the dealership relationships for Microsoft Corp.'s CarPoint, an online car-buying service that sends online prospects to dealers for a fee; offering the Customer Advantage service, a way for clients to order customized business forms over the Internet; and packaging communications services such as phone, local area network and Internet access for dealers to help them save money.
The company's next generation of dealer management systems also will include Internet applications. And Reynolds is working with manufacturers to put dealer communications systems on the Internet.
Waterhouse believes the biggest opportunity for Internet sales is in providing consulting services and training. Two-thirds of the money spent on the Internet goes to services, not servers and browsers, he said.
'Some dealers are paranoid about the Internet,' Waterhouse said, explaining that the Internet has the potential to shake up the franchise system. 'There is huge demand for us to help them think through what they are going to do (using the Internet) and helping them do it.'