See what is 'next' for CSI Software
Tue, June 24, 2014 at 13:35
Jon Feld in CBI, CSI Software, Jonathan Ross

CSI provides club operators with Business Intelligence.In 1977, one of the fitness industry’s first computer-based management firms emerged in Houston, Texas. At the time, it offered a basic billing and scheduling module.

Since then, much has changed. Everything, in fact, has changed. But CSI Software has remained true to its original vision, and consistent in its approach to serving clubs.

“Unlike most of our competitors, we’re not a billing company,” notes Jonathan Ross, the president and CEO of CSI. “We’re a true management-services provider. We work to leverage technology to provide the most comprehensive suite of modules in the industry, providing fully integrated, single-source, enterprise software solutions.”

The company’s determination to meet real needs efficiently and to stay ahead of the technology curve to deliver cutting-edge solutions has produced a series of impressive offerings.

In 1982, CSI released its first DOS-based product, and, in 1996, it introduced a Windows-based version. In 2006, it launched its flagship SpectrumNG enterprise-management software, an “end-to-end” solution consisting of a streamlined system of modules that was specifically designed to help operators manage mulltple departments and revenue streams. This software represented a true integration of scheduling, billing, management, and accounting functions.

CSI has been updating and upgrading SpectrumNG every step of the way since then, and the package now includes 22 management modules. Among them: Access Control, Program Registration, Camp Management, Online Services, CRM (customer relationship management), and much more. In addition, the system offers a diverse array of tools, such as Business Intelligence, Case Man-agement, Group X, and a sophisticated API (application programming interface).

CEO Jonathan RossNext up? Its newest management software release: vNext.

To support its products and services, CSI offers technical assistance in a variety of forms: online and phone assistance, newsletters, webinars, an eLearning library, and an exclusive club management software User Group Conference, now in its eighth year. And it’s all available in a cloud- based application.

Today, CSI, which is still privately held, serves some 622 facilities of every imaginable sort, including fitness and health clubs; cam- pus recreation centers; wellness clinics; JCC, YMCA, and YWCA organizations; park and recreation departments; and hotel and fitness resorts. The company employs 75 people and generated revenues of approximately $10 million last year; it expects revenues to increase by about 10% in 2014.

Comfort in the cloud

When Ross talks about leveraging technology, he’s talking about helping people utilize it as it was meant to be used - in the most productive way possible. “The cloud and the way CSI employs it for our clients might be the best example,” he suggests. “The bottom line is, we offer cloud technology in its most effective form. The full power of the cloud is realized only when the application is written in such a way that it’s hosted across servers as a plat- form - or, as we refer to it, ‘platform as a service.’ That’s how we deploy it.”

With the CSI system, for instance, when demand increases, resources are automatically allocated as required. If a component becomes inoperable for any reason, network and hardware resources are reconfigured to work around the problem. And this is done automatically via the software, without any human intervention.

“Most firms using the cloud are actually hosting on someone else’s hardware infrastructure,” notes Ross. “All of our cloud-based software and services are delivered through our own hardware and servers, making the process completely seamless and independent of resources housed elsewhere.”

What’s next is vNext

While maximizing the productivity of exist- ing technologies is key to what CSI does, the company also explores opportunities to innovate and build around emerging platforms. Trends such as BYOD (bring your own device), which allows employ- ees to use their own technology to access corporate information, are taking root and transforming platforms. CSI is meeting the challenge head-on with vNext.

CSI SOFTWARE

Year founded: 1977
Location: Houston, Texas
2013 revenues: approximately $10 million
2014 projected revenues: $11 million
Number of employees: 75
Number of current customers: 622

 

“vNext is a game-changer,” attests Ross. “Increasingly, workers and consumers are moving from their PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones. vNext is an adaptable extension of our application that’s been designed from the ground up to support all of these consumer devices, self-service kiosks, etc.”

The first iteration of vNext will be a sales-walkthrough tool that will allow a salesperson to engage consumers via a tablet. “It’s designed to bring the sales rep out from behind a desk, and put them directly in front of the prospect,” explains Ross. “It’s a ‘customer-engagement- oriented’ system, which is a major focus of our development moving forward.” Upcoming functionality will include personal training scheduling, group exercise attendance, point of sale (POS), guest kiosks, and more, he says.

CSI’s future strategy with respect to mobility is that any software component that involves customers in any way will be extended out to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. “There are already a number of mobile apps avail- able to health clubs, but they’re almost exclusively content-driven,” he observes. “In other words, you can view the locations - see the hours of operation, contact information, group-ex schedule, etc. We’ll provide the same sort of content, but also leverage our API to allow members to register for classes, view account information, make a payment, check-in with their smartphones, and use a variety of other interactive tools.

“We plan to offer this tool as a white- labeled mobile app,” says Ross. “In other words, our customers’ members will down- load a club-branded mobile app - not the CSI Software mobile app. That, we think, will help make our offering unique.”

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