A Customer-Centric Approach to Club Management with Daxko CTO, Bjørn Bjerkøe

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When I joined Daxko earlier this year, I knew it was the right decision for many reasons. The most important? Daxko closely aligns with my overarching philosophy of a customer-centric approach to design, develop, deploy and support a club management platform. Now that I am fully onboard and working with my teams on Daxko Operations and Daxko Spectrum software, I am putting even more of a focus on our customers and I know this is the path to take to achieve long term and sustainable growth both for our customers, but also for our company.

Our vision is to become the most loved and largest software provider focused on member-based organizations. How do we do that? By being the best-in-class member-management solutions, pushing the envelope and understanding where the market is heading. I believe that successful software technology companies either succeed or fail based on how consistently they deliver quality software. There are two key words in that statement, consistency and quality.

Daxko CEO Dave Gray interviews Daxko CTO Bjørn Bjerkøe at 2017 Virtual Reach Event

I believe a critical element of software development, and a necessary step in delivering on both the consistency and the quality promises mentioned above is involving our customers in the process. When we bring our customers into the conversation, we have a built-in engine for continuous feedback. This customer-focused approach leads to more regular iterations and incremental development to lower our overall risk and results in higher quality and more rapid software releases.

Becoming the Best-in-Class Software Provider
At Daxko, language is very important. We regard our customers as partner organizations. We partner with them to deliver not only an industry-leading club management platform and the exceptional customer experiences that have won our services team numerous awards. Part of providing exceptional experiences is knowing when to build and when to partner with other software and integrate our systems to best serve a customer need. And, by involving our customers first, we have the opportunity to understand their needs and where they see themselves in five to ten years. Our products serve over 9,000 facilities and 20 million plus members. This gives us a wealth of industry knowledge and data to tap into to enhance the products and services we offer.

Having an Innovative Mindset
We are in the software technology space. We must innovate. I need my team attending industry conferences, meeting with customers to dig deeper in discovering the next big thing, and keeping their finger on the pulse on where technology trends are heading, whether that’s mobility, artificial intelligence or API integrations. My teams (along with our product strategy teams) are also tasked with keeping an eye on market needs and trends. Right now, one of the biggest market needs is data – exchanging data, analytics, dashboards – everyone wants to be able to consume data in a digestible manner. We have 20+ years of data in the member-based health and wellness market. Customers have data from other technologies they want to see integrate with our products and that’s where our vision for a partnership ecosystem and our Daxko Spectrum REST API comes in, so that all parties involved can leverage what each of us do well and enhance our services and offerings. Having my team focused on these things opens us up to become the best-in-class health and wellness facility solution our customers are looking for.

Delivering Exceptional Experiences
We are dedicated to providing exceptional experiences to our customers and that starts with our products. I love that we have great relationships with our customers, and I love hearing that someone chose Daxko because of what our product does, how it functions, how it makes their life easier or how it solved a problem. Our products need to be solving customer problems and making their lives easier while driving growth.

I believe that we have to listen to our customers, identify the key differentiators to meet market needs and follow through in terms of delivering those items to our customers. Mobility, data and having a great user experience are those key differentiators that will allow us to deliver those exceptional experiences that are vital to sustainability and growth.

Your Club’s Brand: An Asset or Liability for 2018

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In just two short months, individuals in your community will once again recommit to the pursuit of health. Your preparations are probably already underway to ensure that people choose your club vs. a nearby competitor.

State of the art equipment? Check.
Well-trained, friendly staff? Check.
Enticing programs? Check.
Powerful, relevant brand? Hmmm…

While not always top of the checklist, your brand can play a powerful role in enticing new members to join AND keeping them committed even as their new year’s wellness enthusiasm fizzles. On the flip side, your brand can work just as hard against your success.

In this 3-part series, I’ll share insights gained from Daxko’s own recent brand strategy initiative. My hope is that you’ll come away inspired and armed with a framework to evaluate—and if needed—evolve your club’s brand for a more prosperous future.

PART I: Evaluate

At Daxko, we intentionally took stock of our brand earlier this year. With our acquisition of CSI Software in late 2015, we had expanded to serve many more member-based health & wellness organizations. Daxko’s software now powers health clubs, medical wellness, and campus recreation facilities in addition to our long-time YMCA and JCC customers.

We set out to understand current perceptions of Daxko. What did customers think about us? The market? Our own team members? And how did the perception of our brand compare to other providers in the space?

Here’s how we approached understanding Daxko’s brand equity, guided by the experts at our brand strategy firm, R2i.

  1. Identify a cross-section stakeholders to interview. Prospective members. Current members. Terminated members. Boomers. Millenials. Engaged staff. Disgruntled staff. Pro-tip: Avoid the temptation to only talk to people who love your club. While the picture they paint will be rosy, it won’t be the whole picture.
  2. Draft a brand perception interview guide. Build an interview guide of questions that you’ll ask to each stakeholder. A few to get you started:
    • How do you initially hear about our club?
    • Has your experience with us compared to what you expected when you joined?
    • If you had to describe our club in one word, what would it be?

Pro tip: Keep questions as open-ended as possible to get as much information. Asking around 15 questions or less will keep the interview to a manageable length of 45 minutes.

  1. Invite them to share their perceptions. Listen, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say about you. Pro tip: Guarantee their anonymity when sharing results of the interviews to ensure there are no barriers to sharing. Having a neutral third-party conducting the interview makes this even easier.
  2. Compile and look for commonalities. After you’ve finished all of the interviews, what seems to be repeated over and over again? Is it that your staff are friendly and knowledgeable and make starting a routine less intimidating? Or perhaps that your group exercise programs are cutting edge? Pro tip: Compare how those common perceptions compare to what your competitors say to position themselves. Where do you stand out?

Web Resources for all YMCAs: An Introduction to Open Y

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We live in a world of resource constraints. That’s true no matter your budget. At some point, the need always surpasses the ability to meet it. What’s a good solution? I think it’s all about fighting our inner two-year-old and sharing more.

If you need a WIFM (what’s in it for me), how about innovation and growth? When teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen, amazing things can come out of it. When everyone in a group is equally invested in the greater goal, the result is everyone working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better. Drawing on the knowledge of others is crucial in getting to the best result. This concept has spawned an entire movement of sharing.

Ever heard of open source software or collaborative work environments? These are two examples in the technology world where individuals come together and contribute to something in the hopes of making it better. Just like our parents told us, the concept of sharing is wildly successful. And now, sharing is impacting a non-profit movement that Daxko has been supporting for 10 years: the YMCAs. Behold the Open Y initiative.

In 2016, a small group of Ys recognized that they had access to modern, engaging website development resources that weren’t available to all Ys. Rather than taking the path of least resistance and merely hoping someone else would solve the problem, these leaders came together and decided to be the change by developing their content management systems on the open source functionality, Drupal 8. What this means is that every Y can now make use of the development that these few pioneers started. And every time someone develops something new with this source, they can publish it for others to use as well.  At the Open Y Summit last week, it was invigorating to see this trend of collaboration come to life and open the eyes of 130 people, all focused on bringing greater opportunity to the YMCA movement.

Working outside of your own association can seem tedious and time-consuming. However, as the Open Y has already shown, bringing unique minds together is worth it because when a group of people focuses on achieving a big, common goal they create new, synergistic energy. This is how dreams of moon shots become reality. As a vested partner in the YMCA movement, I’m honored to be able to contribute to this new reality.

Want to learn more about Open Y and see how you can play a role in change?

Register to attend “An Introduction to Open Y” on Thursday, October 12, at 1:00pm CST. Nathan Maehren (Sr. VP, Digital at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities) and Courtney Glover (Director of Digital Strategy at YMCA of Greater Houston), both part of the original group that started Open Y, will walk us through how this initiative came to be and how you can help it grow.

Keep Your Data Safe: Unattended Workstation Standards

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Ensure that your staff never leave a workstation unlocked or unattended. Each workstation contains access to your most precious assets: your member and organization’s data. While much focus is placed on cybersecurity efforts to prevent malware or viruses, it is equally important to focus on the individual using the workstation. A computer is the most vulnerable when a user that is logged into the network leaves it unattended. It is possible for unauthorized access to applications to result in changes to data, fraudulent use, installing malware, etc. One cannot know who is going to be in the vicinity of a workstation, especially in high traffic areas, such as a front desk or a welcome center. Workstations located near these areas especially need to be secured. We recommend the following unattended workstation standards:

  • When leaving a workstation unattended, even if only for a few minutes it is best practice to lock your workstation with a password
  • Implement a password protected screen saver to run after a period of inactivity. PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance states 15 minutes if idle
  • If the workstation needs to be unattended, such as a check-in station, only allow access to that particular page with no additional permissions or access
  • At the end of each shift log off all applications, systems, and networks for your workstation.

About Daxko Cybersecurity

Our sophisticated architecture and stringent security policies protect our customers’ data from any outside intruders. Some of the ways Daxko keeps your data safe include:

  • Multi-tier data security architecture with Layer 7 Firewalls
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS) providing 24/7/365 monitoring and alert escalation
  • Dedicated onsite security teams at each data center providing 24/7/365 support
  • Incident management and escalation teams with formal tested plans to quickly resolve any issues
  • All communication and application access occur via secure and encrypted channels, web and web services communication use the HTTPS protocol, and file transfers use SFTP
  • Access is tightly controlled, monitored, logged and limited to authorized team members.

Daxko is:

  • Certified at the highest Level of PCI DSS Level 1 – Global Registry of Validated Providers
  • Audited and Certified SSAE 18 (SOC 1)
  • Audited annually by a certified third party QSA (Quality Security Assessor)
  • Performing enterprise logging and scheduled penetration testing
  • Providing multi-vector, multi-site transactional monitoring and performance testing