The Risk of Not Integrating Your Software: What You're Missing Out On
The journey of building and running a fitness or health enterprise varies greatly, but three steps are common to most, if not all journeys. First is to open the first facility, buy some essential equipment, and run it. As time goes by, technology and software start being thrown around in circles and eventually catch the manager’s or owner's attention.
At this point, most give technology a try, and before you know it, there are software systems all over the place. A website here, a blog there, and a fitness app somewhere in between, you get the drill.
Given the benefits of fitness technology, getting this far is not easy and should be lauded. Many consider gyms that embrace technology to be at their mature stages. But is there an extra mile? There is a third step that many managers and owners may overlook, and very few people shed light upon it.
This is software integration.
About 10 Min.
What Is Integration?
Your facility embracing technology and software solutions is laudable, but that doesn't mark the end of the road. The more fragmented systems you introduce, the more inefficient their overall management and compatibility becomes. That's why you need integration. Integration is the process of linking existing systems and technology for improved compatibility and data flow.
So are you missing out on something? You may be wondering. There's a lot to gain from integrating your software and a lot to lose from maintaining the status quo. These include:
1. Reduces The Chances Of Error
You have been told for so long that embracing software solutions and technology will reduce or almost eliminate the error. This is true, but with some notable exceptions. A few software systems can eliminate errors, but if you run on multiple fragmented systems, all co-existing in one platform, the risks of error significantly increase.
The continual retrieval, transfer, and storage of data from one fragmented system to another create chances of loss or error. This is where integration comes in. Integrating all your gym technology brings all your systems under one umbrella. The transfer, retrieval, and storage of data can happen from one point, significantly reducing the chances of error and improving your data protection.
2. Improves Customer Experience
The expectations of members today are entirely different from the expectations they had in the 80s. The advancement of technology in all aspects of life, including fitness, has come with several benefits to both members and operators. One flipside, however, is that it has made people less patient.
Members today attach a very high value to convenience. Fragmented platforms, on the other hand, offer the opposite of that. Inconvenience. Moving data between non-integrated systems can be time-consuming on your members’ side and lead to bad reviews and ratings. Embracing technological integration will not only make your systems and software more convenient but also more accessible and straightforward. Synchronization will help you professionalize your gym brand. This is likely to improve your customer experience and lead to a lower churn rate. Always remember that members reward convenience.
3. It Simplifies Data
The technology in your fitness or health facility will always have tons of data and information. Your members will likely want to use data to understand their fitness routines and current health status. Operators, have to handle multiple sources of data on top of that: From accounting data, sales data, customer reviews, attendance registries, and more. Data without perspective is nothing but just figures on a screen; you can't make decisions from them; neither can you interpret them. If your software lacks integration, you may be missing out on the benefits of data aggregation and presentation.
What integration does is to simplify data. Software integration collects all data from all different systems and presents them in a single platform. This enables you to interpret data and make informed decisions about the future of your business.
4. More Flexibility And Scalability
As a business grows, so do the systems and software that aid in its operation. Moreover, you have to keep up with technology trends in the industry. Over time you will have to remove aging software solutions and replace them with new and improved ones. Adding software to a non-integrated system is a complicated affair that takes a lot of time. One of your systems may refuse to connect with your new software leading to difficulties and unnecessary expenses.
Installing and uninstalling new systems in an integrated system is relatively easier. All your systems are linked to a common platform from where you can efficiently add new software and remove older ones. Over time, this efficiency saves you and your team a lot of time and money.
5. Reduces Expenses
Many may not notice, but a non-integrated system is relatively expensive to run. For a medium-to-large business, the retrieval, storage, and interpretation of data may require several employees or even outsourcing. In the long run, maintaining a bloated workforce can affect the growth of your business, hence efficiency is crucial.
Technology integration reduces your expenses by automating redundant tasks such as data retrieval, storage, and presentation. The fact that it enables you to control all the data from one point reduces the need to hire several employees or outsourcing to experts.
6. Real-time Visibility
Tracking key performance indicators is a staple for growing any fitness or health facility. To make informed decisions, you should have the ability to get all the data needed to aid in planning for the future of your enterprise.
A fragmented system cannot give you real-time results. The collection of data takes time and is cumbersome. An integrated software system, on the other hand, gives you a 360-degree view of your enterprise.
Adopting and embracing software and technology is a step forward for any sector of the fitness industry. However, any business, including one in the fitness and health industry cannot harness technology's benefits until the software systems are integrated and compatible with each other.