Fitness center software is a niche product developed on the basis of customer relationship management (CRM) systems and utilises advanced technologies and analytical capabilities to manage core business processes within enterprises involved in health fitness management. Variety of fitness club software is offered in the market with vendors offering both ready to use and customised solutions; all of them being configurable to meet particular customer demands and needs.
Companies running single gyms and chains of sports centers tend to look for fitness club software that can be tailored to fit their particular requirements and suit the specifics of their business. It is a reasonable approach but corporate executives often do not realise that configurability and customisation are not synonyms when reliable health fitness management process have to be achieved. Customisation usually involves development of additional software modules and re-development of existing ones to better suit company requirements and can be a very costly and time-consuming process. Configuration, for its part, takes utmost advantage of existing ready to use solution that is configured in a manner to reflect a set of requirements determined by the client, offering a full-scale solution that can be implemented within days or hours.
Managers often mistakenly consider configurability and customisability as overlapping, while these are quite different options on offer by gym software vendors. Whilst most fitness club management systems would feature functionality to manage sales, marketing, billing, and scheduling processes, not all software products are highly configurable, allowing managers to apply flexible business approach while providing easy to use interface. Overall usability of business applications depends on many factors but configurability is definitely amongst the most important ones when the matter in hand is to get relatively fast return on investment and evident results within a reasonable period.
Thus, ready to implement club management solutions can offer obvious advantages to single gyms and large fitness center chains alike, in terms of shorter deployment time, trouble-free use, and uncomplicated support and maintenance process. Decreasing overall costs within an enterprise is a major goal of companies implementing automated solutions; therefore, tailored fitness club software should be considered an acceptable and affordable option only if suitable ready to use software is not offered on the market. A customised solution would usually cost dearer while the outcome is never guaranteed and tailor-made software is harder to adjust to new business realities if a company decided to drastically alter a core business process, for instance.
At present, a good number of software vendors sell their licensed products under monthly payments contracts, realising that businesses are forced to cut costs in times of economic downturn and few gyms are willing to make large one-time investments in new software solutions. This is hardly an option with tailored solutions for software vendors cannot draw a monthly payment plan when customised software is under development and is being tested on-premises for longer periods.
On the other hand, a fitness club should conduct in-depth evaluation of business applications currently in use and assess their compatibility with ready to use fitness club software intended for implementation. Poor integration, both in terms of incompatibility between applications and failure to integrate club management software within a broader corporate strategy, can cause worsening of the overall company performance in the long run.
Those interested in obtaining ready to use software can also take advantage of web-based solutions and software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems that usually are extensively configurable software products offered on pay per-use or subscription basis.
Overall, fitness center software that is ready to use can be of interest to both large chains and single gyms, offering functionality comparable to that offered by tailored solutions at lower costs.