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13 February 2022

Is your gym management software fit-for-purpose?

Your gym management software is arguably the most important piece of equipment in your gym.  This is the system through which you operate your business; your members book their sessions and engage with their membership resources; and, most importantly, through which you manage & receive your membership fees.

Ask around and it won't be long before a gym owner tells you a horror story about how their gym management software let them down.

Stories range from membership payments not being taken (more common than you might think); to unscrupulous software developers stealing & selling their member data; to systems that simply get 'switched off' because a self-professed guru 'had a falling-out with his software guy'.

Reputable companies like Quoox, Mindbody and Glofox invest a lot of money on developing, maintaining, and securing their software systems. It is a 24x7 commitment and requires specialists who have dedicated their careers to professional software development, and understand the specific needs of their clients.

Maintaining a resilient, scalable infrastructure is an expensive undertaking. If you're paying mere tens-of-pounds per month for your critical business system, you need to start asking yourself some questions.

What is that you need to consider when selecting the platform upon which you are going to trust your entire livelihood?

Chris Windram - Co-Founder & CTO

CHRIS WINDRAM

Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Choosing a business system is a critical decision and can effect your livelihood.

Quoox CTO, Chris Windram, covers key some points you may wish to consider.

Fit for purpose

Topics you may wish to validate with your software vendor

1

DESIGNED FOR PURPOSE

You wouldn't run your ice cream business out of a car, so why would you run your SGPT gym on software not specifically designed for purpose?

Has the system been developed with your needs in mind, or is it a generalist piece of software that is loosely relevant across a number of different vertical markets?

2

ARCHITECTURE

As your core business system, the technologies upon which your system is build must reflect the criticality of the application. The system should be a proprietary in nature, and wholly owned by the vendor. Systems based upon or reliant upon a framework designed for a wholly different use (E.g., WordPress) should ring alarm bells.

Upon what technologies has the system been developed? Does the platform regularly receive security updates & patches? Is the system scalable and able to grow with your business? Who is responsible for the platform?

3

HOSTING

It is important to know where your business system is hosted and the uptime agreements that are in place. You certainly don't want your system to be on just one server, as what happens when that fails?

Who hosts your system? In what country are they based? Who has access to the system and your data? What is the service-level agreement in place with the hosting company? What resiliency is there in the hosting architecture (you never want a single-server hosting solution).

4

SECURITY

We all receive emails from overseas 3rd parties offering to write software for seemingly 'too good to be true' prices. Spoiler alert: they are. There is a strong likelihood that these apps contain more code than you might bargain, syphoning-off member & payment data for illegal purposes.

Who is responsible for the team that developed your system, and where are they based? What security is in place to protect your system and your data? What happens if a data centre goes offline? What happens if your system falls target of a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack?

5

BACKUP

If your system suffer a critical failure, you will want to know that this doesn't then become critical to your business.

What backup strategies and systems are in place? How is the development code for the system stored & protected? How long would recovery expect to take?

6

MAN IN THE MIDDLE

Many software providers route membership dues through their own bank accounts, and then forward it to their clients. This is a very outdated and dubious practice, benefitting only the software vendor.

Who controls & has access to your funds? Do they arrive directly with you, with you in control of your own cashflow? What happens to your money if the vendor goes bust?

7

A HOUSE OF CARDS

Some gym management systems are layers built on top of other, existing systems. There is not necessarily a problem with this if appropriate agreements & relationships exist between the vendors, but it can be a catastrophe if your system is subject to 'breaking' every time the base supplier makes a change to their system and your supplier has to play 'catch up'.

Is your system wholly proprietary, or is it reliant on 'middleware'? If the latter, what controls and agreements are in place to ensure that changes to the base system do not cause your business system to fail?

8

CORPORATE PROCESSES

Your system and hosting can all be sound, but it is important that the business & security practices of your vendor and their support team match.

Are staff who may access the system vetted? What security & best practice training do they undergo? How is the system access restricted to only current, authorised staff? How do you ascertain the person accessing your data is who they say they are?
Learn about our app security & policies

Alchemy

Alchemy provides the system, resources, and the practical advice & support that gym owners need to operate a profitable, "high ticket" membership, small-group training gym. Alchemy is the ultimate "SGPT toolkit".
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