Keeping up with change.
In some cases, you don’t have a lot of choice. Certain technologies—typically less expensive—change with such frequency that it’s simply part of the cost of doing business.
“We are pretty simplistic in our hardware and peripheral needs—webcams, credit card scanners, signature pads, and ID scanners,” says Thomas. “The ID scanners have needed to be updated numerous times because of the changing technology, but the other items have remained nearly intact since we first got them.”
Thomas outlines some key basics Razor Sharp considers regarding upgrading tech.
Meeting competitive demand.
“When updating software and platforms, we look at what our current system does compared to what we need it to do based on the changing climate and competitive environment of our business,” he says.
While Razor Fitness has been using the same Jonas Fitness platform since opening in 2003, it has changed software packages to accommodate the need for better and more specific reporting, incorporate ancillary services including bookings, and update agreement capabilities.
“Our next focus,” Thomas says, “is updating hardware and peripheral pieces to take payments remotely and enable more contactless information gathering.”
Not keeping up with technology just for the sake of doing so.
Avoiding “learning curve” pitfalls.
At some point, constant upgrading can put you in a place where the technology you have is not as efficient as it could be.
“There are times when there is too much technology and you never truly understand how to utilize it for your benefit,” he explains. “And if you’re constantly chasing new technology, you might not be mastering what is at your disposal. In addition, changing platforms and updating systems takes a significant amount of time and effort. If this is done too often, then you start wasting time doing it."
Learning how to use any new technology properly takes time, as does teaching your team to do it. If you are going to be adapting to new technology, notes Thomas, be sure to have the time to train on it. Not doing so can equate to trouble going forward. You don't have to know everything, but you need to understand everything so that you can figure out how the technology will work for your business and how it can be adapted to do so.
“The most common pitfall we find in updating technology is around change management and communication,” states Lesley Silvestre, director of client success at Jonas Fitness, Inc. “When adapting or converting to a new technology, clients have the misconception that everything changes at the flip of a switch once they sign on the dotted line. The reality is that adopting new technology requires an extensive time and resource commitment from both of the parties involved: the vendor and client.”
When it comes to club management software, she adds, countless hours go into making sure that data is converted and validated adequately. After the data validation, you have to allot time to train your staff on the new product, both prior to going live with any new solution and after.