The Push for Compatibility. Part 3

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How it will affect you

Once software integration is complete, using club software will be quicker, easier and less costly. Says Dick Mitchell, vice president of CheckFree, “Custom interfaces are so costly to start and maintain. [An integrated system] eliminates this problem, and will make it easier for clubs [to run their business].” Part of making it easier is to make the whole technology aspect of running a club more user-friendly. Says Carter, “We don’t want it to feel like technology. The system will run easily and seemlessly.”
One example of how the new approach will work involves updating member data. With the integrated system, club members can go to their club’s website and change their contact information online. This new information will then automatically communicate with the club’s main database, and change the contact information there, too. This will save time and money, and will result in fewer mistakes. Says Buikhuizen, “One of the most frustrating things for users of multiple software applications is having to enter the same information multiple times (often called ‘double entry’). If applications can truly share their information, they can avoid the need for double entry.”
Using integrated software systems not only benefits the facility, but also its members. “The ability to touch and stay in contact with members will be greatly improved,” says Carter. Clubs will be able to use technology to offer better and quicker service. Check-in, scheduling, member information changes, pro shop sales and much more will all be changed (and bettered) by an integrated system.
Manufacturers weren’t sharing data before, so this begins a whole new way of doing business, and a whole new way for owners and managers to run their clubs. “We are very happy that the suppliers in the industry are cooperating to establish a new standard. This will be a big benefit to our customers and partners,” says Buikhuizen.
For more information on other technology solutions, read this issue’s Fit2001 column (p.40). FM
Getting Involved
While you can’t predict what new developments are around the corner, you can influence the way technology helps this industry by sharing your comments and concerns with those who are in a prime position to create new systems — namely, technology companies and the organizations to which they belong,and the publications they read.
You probably have technology needs and challenges in your facility and, possibly, some solutions. If you would like to share your thoughts, concerns and problems, you can fill out the FISA technology survey, which appeared in the September issue of FitnessManagement, and which can be downloaded off our website at www.fitnessmanagement.com (look for the red type at the top of the homepage). If the industry works together, as exampled by the vendors within FISA, common concerns and problems can be more easily and quickly addressed and solved.

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