The benefits are overwhelming, yet the movement to the Web with club management software in the health club industry has been painfully slow. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a better understanding of the Internet along with describing some benefits of Web-based club management software.
Understanding the Internet
The Internet is basically a bunch of computers linked together through a network providing computer users in different locations access to the same information. All you need is an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and an Internet browser.
The simple, yet powerful concept of Web-based software systems allows businesses to access their software systems from any computer connected to the Internet. A Web-based system is also securely accessible from home or any remote area. Plus, multiple computers can access the system without the complexities of networks.
Safety and security should not hold you back in choosing a Web-based software system since most companies that host the systems will back-up data every night, and maintain the latest anti-virus software on their computers. Ironically, if you have a PC-based system storing data locally on your computer, the chances are higher that you will have some type of data problems or network issues. With a PC-based system, in order for your data to be safe and secure you need to back-up your data every night (to avoid loss from theft, fire or flood), move the back-up to another location, and keep your PC current with the latest networking anti-virus and spyware software. Your business needs are best met if you focus on your business, such as retaining and getting new members, and let another company take care of your system and data, preferably one that specializes in the process. Many businesses all over the world are seeing the benefits of taking this approach.
Benefits of Web-based Software
There are several benefits that Web-based software provides and the best way to clearly see them is to compare them directly to a PC-based system. A PC-based system would have software installed on a local computer at your facility while an Internet-based system would have software installed on a remote server that can be accessed through the Internet utilizing a browser and an assigned domain (such as www.TheGym.net). The following are the key benefits to an Internet-based club management system:
- Easy, secure access -Internet based systems do not need costly and problematic network configurations for multiple computers to access the system that PC-based systems would require. Any computer with an Internet connection can access the system securely with the proper user ID and password. This lets you easily add other computers to access the system without worrying about network configurations or additional licensee fees that can cost thousands of dollars.
- Member benefits – Internet-based systems can provide services that will let members connect to the system remotely to access their data securely. This will provide opportunities you can offer to new or existing members that are not available with a PC-based system. Examples would be: tracking cardio workouts, including total mileage; tracking strength workouts and muscles used; tracking fitness assessments, and registering for classes online. All of these examples collectively add value for a member at your facility. A PC-based system could not offer these services.
- Powerful information – Internet-based systems are most effective with consolidating information for facilities that have more than one location. Suppose an owner had 10 facilities. With each system being Web-based, an owner can access each system from one location easily and securely. Analytical reports can be easily designed comparing each facility to each other which will ultimately provide powerful information that can be used to most effectively manage each location better.
To run your facility most effectively, look for a club management software that has all functions completely integrated and accessible online, to maximize the enormous power and opportunities for your business. All types of businesses are moving toward the Internet as they are realizing the tremendous benefits of Web-based club management software. At some point virtually all health clubs will have an online club management system. What are you waiting for?
Larry King is the Founder and CEO of Shape.Net Software. He can be contacted at 800.381.2082, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.shapenetsoftware.com.