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THINKING BIG W


Working with Exerp, Holmes Place Europe is installing a centralised club management system to manage its clubs in nine countries from its Berlin headquarters


hen it comes to implementing a new chain management system, one size does


not fit all. Small and medium sized health club groups have very different requirements from multinational fitness chains serving thousands of members across different countries. And, as some operators have learned to their cost, working with a provider with no experience of the health club sector, or trying to adapt a general club management system to serve the needs of a large fitness chain, can be an expensive business. Bryan O’Rourke is a technology


expert and strategic adviser to the fitness industry. As founder and CEO of Integerus, CSO of Fitness Marketing Systems, CSO and partner of the Flywheel Group, and president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, O’Rourke has observed the devastating impact of failing to invest in a specialist chain management system. “A well-respected US-based club chain spent more than $10m trying to


EXERP FACTS


• Exerp’s portfolio includes some of Europe’s largest fitness


• Versatile, scalable and well proven in Europe


• The industry’s most comprehensive chain management platform


operators. Focusing strictly on the needs of large chains, advantages of the Exerp platform include:


IRELAND


UNITED KINGDOM


NETHERLANDS GERMANY


• Over one million active members in one live system powered by an


• A 100 per cent successful track record


30


• Comprehensive API allowing easy integration of third-party systems


Oracle back-end PORTUGAL SPAIN GREECE


Localized In pipeline


* FRANCE SWITZERLAND LUXEMBOURG CZECHOSLOVAKIA POLAND


customise a solution with a horizontal partner. They failed. The project was scrapped and the CEO paid the price with his job. But it’s not just the capital cost that impacted the company, it was the opportunity cost too,” he says. Many large fitness chains choose to


work with a horizontal IT solutions partner and develop a bespoke system from scratch because they believe it will give them a competitive edge. In reality, that’s not the case. Large chains face unique and complex challenges. Aside from serving and processing data from thousands of members, many multi- site chains have formed as a result of mergers and acquisitions and therefore work across a variety of inherited legacy systems. They may also operate in more than one country. Building and maintaining software is


fraught with challenges and dealing with such organisational issues demands specialist industry knowledge. A horizontal partner will struggle to cater for the needs of a large fitness chain – such as CRM, billing, retail, inventory, PT and group exercise bookings, cashless vending and access control. “Partners lacking industry experience


don’t know what they don’t know. This can lead to an increase in the


brand, Holmes Place, chose specialist international chain management software company Exerp from 100 IT companies to implement a new centralised member management system. The chain has more than 75 clubs


requirements and scope of the project, delays to the implementation of the system and additional costs. The impact on the business could be significant including unplanned financial requirements, adverse consequences to operations and problems with billing and other reporting needs,” says O’Rourke. By contrast, working with a provider


with specialist knowledge of the sector and one experienced in the requirements of large fitness chains in particular, can reap a host of benefits for the business. An experienced system provider is


well placed to challenge the operator’s current processes and suggest best- practice alternatives. They will be able to demonstrate relevant, real life systems and will understand the complexities of large projects in terms of large scale data migration, project management etc. Crucially, they can anticipate common challenges during the implementation process, which will ultimately reduce risks, costs and time to market. “It’s very challenging to achieve great


outcomes without profound knowledge and experience in implementing systems in the industry,” says O’Rourke. This explains why the premium fitness


SWEDEN FINLAND NORWAY


DENMARK


AUSTRIA


The Exerp platform currently operates in chains in 11 European countries Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


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