Case Study

Jonas Fitness capitalizes on managed IT to support extensive growth and ongoing innovation

The health and fitness industry is experiencing robust growth worldwide. One firm enabling health clubs to meet this surging demand is Jonas Fitness, a global leader in fitness software and billing services.

Because of this increased demand, competition in the health and fitness software sector is tremendous. Health clubs are challenged to meet high customer expectations and deliver exceptional service while maintaining strong financial performance. That’s a difficult objective to meet when you’re struggling to manage your own IT systems and payment processes.

Enter Jonas Fitness, a global leader in health club software and billing services providing best-in-class management systems to health clubs around the world. The solution enables the firm to efficiently manage everything from member check-in to the scheduling of personal training classes, from bill payment to mobile self-service.

By enabling its clients to automate and delegate demanding operational challenges, it frees them to focus on producing a powerful customer experience. Recognizing the value of this approach, more than 6,000 health clubs now rely on its solutions.

“We are intent on further strengthening our position as a market leader in health club management software,” says Scott Burgess, Vice President of Operations at Jonas Fitness. “By making it easy for health clubs to run their operations, we are enabling them to play to their strengths – providing a powerful health and fitness experience to their members.”

Confronting the migration challenge

Jonas Fitness is a division of Jonas Software, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise management software and billing solutions to a variety of industries. Jonas Fitness was originally part of Club Solutions, acquired by Fiserv and later sold to Jonas Software

Considering Jonas Software’s positioning as “software for life,” the purchase represented a strong fit and an opportunity to build a dominant brand. The post-acquisition transition promised to be a difficult undertaking, however.

Jonas Fitness faced a one-year deadline to migrate its club management applications from legacy platforms to a robust, scalable, and secure alternative. The applications – a legacy system known as i4™, and a next-generation SaaS platform known as Compete®– would require not only highly available production hosting services, but disaster recovery and PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance support as well.

Historically, the organization had struggled to manage and enhance its systems in an agile fashion. Rigid and slow moving change controls hampered the success of its Compete application. As a software company in a fast-paced industry, Jonas Fitness was eager to obtain superior IT performance and support as it considered its options.

One option the firm quickly abandoned was going at it alone. Given the tight timetable for migration, the complexity of the endeavor, and the array of skills necessary to manage its platforms, the firm quickly decided it would need to engage a managed services partner.

Jonas Fitness knew this was a high stakes decision so trust and confidence were critical. After evaluating several potential service providers, the firm ultimately chose Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS).

Mastering complexity, managing IT

In years past, Sungard AS had hosted the Club Solutions i4 legacy software, the club management application, and had demonstrated its ability to deliver expertise and high quality service.

As a result, Jonas Fitness had confidence that Sungard AS could handle the rigors of this complex migration and managed services initiative. Among the core elements of the project:

  • Migration and hosting of the next-generation app, Compete.
  • Continued management and support of the legacy i4 application.
  • Migration and hosting of a mainframe-based platform for electronic funds transfer.
  • PCI-DSS compliance support, reporting, and consulting.
  • Disaster recovery planning, testing, and support for all production infrastructure.

Central to the success of the migration was the ability of Sungard AS to orchestrate a complex mix of services, capabilities, and technical experts. The project involved the carefully planned movement of databases and applications to several supporting data centers.

“The ability of Sungard AS to manage our complex environment has made this a powerful partnership,” says Burgess. “It committed to a timeline for standing up our infrastructure that was extremely aggressive. The migration was a complicated and stressful project, but it was handled with quality, speed, and efficiency. Overall, it was an excellent, outstanding project.”

Sungard AS also provided an array of managed hosting services. It was able to provide shared space on an IBM mainframe, sparing Jonas Fitness from investing in an extremely expensive system it could not fully utilize. It provided managed mainframe and x86 infrastructure support for Compete, the company’s SaaSdelivered suite of applications. This gives Jonas Fitness a solid foundation to scale up as necessary, meeting the growth demands of the business in an agile and flexible fashion.

Additionally, Sungard AS has guided and supported Jonas Fitness through the demanding process of meeting PCI compliance standards. The rigors of this process can be particularly challenging in a new IT environment. Technical support and continuous reporting have been a critical factor in meeting and maintaining the exacting requirements of compliance auditors.

And, to ensure the availability and protection of the applications and infrastructure, the Sungard AS managed recovery team provided replication to a disaster recovery environment. Moreover, the team supported Jonas Fitness through the planning and execution of disaster recovery tests – a series of procedures that require specialized support and capabilities. As Burgess explains, “They took responsibility for a lot of the prep work for testing, and making sure everything worked as planned. That’s a big liability off our plate. It’s a huge benefit to us to be able to leverage those resources and that ability to plan, manage, set up, and execute those types of DR events.”

Finally, Sungard AS has provided consultative guidance and responsive support to ensure the new managed services solution enables Jonas Fitness to scale rapidly, execute nimble change management, operate without interruption, and meet the high expectations of its clients on an ongoing basis.

Delivering high impact results

Results have been impressive. “We’ve been able to accelerate our deployment schedules from a code release perspective because we’re no longer dependent on a bureaucratic IT group,” says Burgess. “We are able to issue defect fixes in enhancement releases of our software on a much more frequent basis… we’ve met our objectives in the first year of operation and we’re exactly where we expected to be in terms of return on investment, based on our models and projections.”

Such performance strengthens the ability of Jonas Fitness to serve its clients. For health clubs, gyms and other clients, the company’s software and billing solution is essential to growth.

The company’s true strength lies in its ability to provide these health club management capabilities in a way that’s tightly integrated with its payment processing services. But its ability to rapidly and continuously enhance these offerings is essential to its continued success.

“We are an agile software company,” says Burgess. “We need to be nimble and quick, and be able to take action at a rapid rate. Now, we get software deployments out faster. We can resolve and fix issues swiftly within this environment, and we’re able to make a change control much faster. This ultimately enables us to resolve issues more quickly for our clients, which is critical to our growth.”

For a business focused on the fitness and health industry, one could say Jonas Fitness is operating at peak performance with the help of Sungard AS.

  • SaaS hosting platform for greater agility
  • Accelerated new product delivery schedule for increased competitiveness
  • Production management of business critical systems for superior performance
  • Faster deployment of change controls and defect fixes for better quality
  • Support for Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards to meet compliance requirements
  • Cost savings through eliminating need to purchase additional hardware
  • Planning and execution of disaster recovery tests to provide for ongoing business continuance
  • True IT partnering with ongoing consulting services and responsive customer support