Relizon-Epsilon deal easy as CRM

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Matching document management with affinity marketing was the thrust, according to company executives, behind Relizon Co.’s recent $189 million acquisition of data mining and analytic company Epsilon Inc., Burlington, Mass.

The idea is to combine information created in Relizon’s existing document management software systems with the actionable information Epsilon can provide as a data mining and analysis company, said Rodney Hedeen, president-CEO of Relizon.

Among other projects, Epsilon is the outsourcing company for Hilton Hotels Corp.’s Hilton HHonors frequent-lodger awards program.

Epsilon will continue to operate independently and specialize in building programs similar to Hilton HHonors for marketers in many different industries, Hedeen said.

The Epsilon acquisition, initially announced in May and finalized in November, recasts Relizon. It moves it from document management into customer relationship management. The newly merged company has more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Hedeen said.

Diversification was needed. In October, Relizon cut 5% of 4,600 employees because the document management software and services industry has been flat, according to a report in the Dayton Business Journal, in Relizon’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

Moving more fully into CRM has been part of Relizon‘s plans for a while, Hedeen said. Prior to buying Epsilon, Relizon had built its CRM business from zero revenue to more than $70 million in just a few years, he said.

The Epsilon acquisition gives Relizon additional data mining and analysis capabilities—aspects of CRM Relizon did not have prior to the deal. The services will be offered on the front-end, built on the document management back-end, Hedeen said.

"This will help us offer targeted and direct mail programs and other external communications programs," he said.

Customer connections

Relizon’s trusted relationships will help sell Epsilon’s data services, said Corey Torrence, Epsilon president.

Though Epsilon is a 31-year-old company, its average client relationship is only about seven years long, Torrence said. That’s because many of Epsilon’s services are too cutting edge to have a much of a history, he said.

Meanwhile, Relizon has numerous document management relationships spanning a decade or longer, dating back to its days as a division of Reynolds & Reynolds Co. Relizon was sold in August 2000 to The Carlyle Group after Reynolds focused on its core industry expertise with automotive companies.

Relizon has a 93% to 94% satisfaction rate among its customers, Torrence said. "We are trying to supercharge growth with a satisfied client base."

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