fit20: fit to grow with Google Cloud
- Business Challenges: Leverage an IT platform that enables rapid expansion and innovation. Find a flexible and reliable IT partner who understands the needs of a global scale-up.
- IT Challenge: Find an alternative for MS Small Business Server and Exchange, as those proved to be too management intensive for supporting fast and easy business growth.
fit20 was established in 2009. One of the first things co-founder Willem van Veen did was having an IT partner set up a Microsoft Small Business Server and MS Exchange in the garage of his home, which was used as an office. Confident of the uniqueness and effectivity of the fit20 workout method, Van Veen projected fast growth through franchised studios, so effective IT was crucial. Right from the start, fit20 encountered issues with Exchange. The creation of new accounts had a lead time of several weeks. This slowed down the pace of growth, as new franchisers needed to wait until their account was created, in order to be in business.
At that time, cloud computing emerged, and Google Apps for business were on the rise. In 2012, Van Veen decided to migrate to Google Cloud, with the assistance of a junior specialist. The migration of MS calendar data to Google Calendar proved to be a major challenge. The junior partner proved to be insufficiently skilled and equipped for the job. Van Veen: “It caused quite some concern. It is crucial to the business of our franchisers that the planning of training sessions is fast and easy.” In 2013 fit20 turned to g-company for expert assistance and trusted advisory. “They turned my initial concern into huge enthusiasm.” It was the start of a strong partnership that enabled fit20 to grow and to innovate, based on Google Cloud.
fit20 thrives with a unique formula in the crowded fitness market. The company runs a relatively small head office (about 15 fte) that services the fast growing number of franchise partners in the world. Some partners run several studios, others own just one studio. Many franchise partners are personal trainers themselves. The studios have no, or very limited back office staff on premises. This all means that business processes must be integrated and automated to the highest degree. It also means that IT must be as easy as possible, seeing as most personal trainers are not digital savvy. They are passionate about the physical condition of their customers. They are moving around in the studio with their customers, and they want to spend as little time as possible behind a computer.
g-company first resolved the Calendar issue that fit20 struggled with.
Right after that, g-company set up Google Workspace to best support fit20’s business needs, including security, privacy and integrations. g-company has mapped fit20’s business into Google Workspace, by creating the domain structure, Organizational Units and User Groups with the roles and privileges that reflect fit20’s complex business environment in detail.
Also, g-company provides second line IT support. “The support team of g-company is outstanding,” says Nienke Thomas, COO at fit20.
Furthermore, g-company assists with app development and the deployment of other innovations of Google, such as App Engine, BigQuery, Data Studio, Android, Chrome Enterprise and Chromebooks.
On top of that, g-company helped fit20 in 2018 to become GDPR compliant in time. As fit20 manages personal health data of its customers, security and privacy policies must meet the highest standards and requirements. Van Veen: “Insurance companies evaluated our policies and processes when we were looking for a cyber security insurance. They praised our security posture as much better than average across the industry.”
fit20 leverages Google Workspace for running its business. Van Veen: “We started with one solution and quickly adopted more, as Google offers a broad diversity of high quality innovations in hardware and software at very low costs. Google Workspace has made us aware of the power of cloud. Our scalability has been improved tremendously, so our international expansion is strongly supported. We have presence now in 9 countries, with more to follow. We have no worries at all if our IT is able to follow our pace. We have connected several studios in one month without any problems. With Microsoft solutions, that would have required a lot of admin effort at much higher costs. Security and admin costs of Microsoft are more than twice as high as those of Google.”
fit20 CEO Walter Vendel explains: “Continuous innovation is in our DNA. That starts with our training concept and the way we execute. We must keep providing the most innovative tools and business processes to our franchisers and personal trainers to add lasting value. Therefore, one in three of our staff is involved in developing and implementing innovations. We are always looking for innovative partners. It is striking that the majority of innovative parties we meet, works with Google Workspace because it makes collaboration internal and with the outside world so easy.”
Drive is at the core for creating, sharing and storing information. The franchise handbook and all supportive documentation is in Drive. As soon as a franchisee has a Google Workspace account, he or she is in business. “Drive contains the golden formula of fit20,” says Vendel. In the near future, fit20 will deploy Team Drives.
For fit20, the most used apps in Google Workspace are Calendar, for the planning of training sessions for customers, and Hangouts , for internal communication within the network. fit20 runs a central service desk for questions and issues of franchisers and personal trainers, including IT related topics. Hangouts Meet and Chat are very convenient for quick fixing issues. g-company provides second-line support.
Google Forms is leveraged for the intake of new customers and franchise candidates, surveys, planning of training sessions, and so forth.
All training results of the customers are registered in a progressive web app that fit20 have created with the Google App Engine. The app is connected to IoT sensors in the training equipment for monitoring the performance of individual customers to be able to adjust and improve their training program. The client gets instant feedback with Android tablets.
fit20 enables franchisers and personal trainers to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) based on Chromebooks and Android mobile devices. Those are managed through Chrome Enterprise and Google Workspace Mobile Device Management. Two Factor authentication (2FA) is enforced for all accounts. “That way, we ensure that the personal data of our clients stays properly protected” With Chrome Enterprise we are able to brand Google Workspace and the apps with our own logo.” The security analysis tools in Google Workspace enable fit20 to continuously keep an eye on the security of the entire environment and to immediately mitigate events and incidents, if any occur.
Vendel: “Continuous innovation has given us the lead in a very competitive market. We have an innovative training concept, we use the innovative Google Cloud, and we also want to leverage the innovative hardware that the Google ecosystem generates.”
The historic data of over 2 million training sessions in the App Engine, with BigQuery as the reporting and analytics tool and Data Studio as a visualisation tool. “We now are creating a big data warehouse that contains all our data: training results, CRM and financial data combined with relevant external data in order to become even more data-driven and automated,” says Van Veen.
To streamline and automate customer contact even further, Van Veen considers to leverage Google DialogFlow. DialogFlow enables to build engaging voice and text-based conversational interfaces, such as voice apps and chat bots, powered by AI and Machine Learning. Van Veen: “We will look into automated web chats and voice bots for standard calls. We aim to handle 80% of all global calls through voice bots, and 20% through live customer contact.”
g-company assists fit20 with:
Optimal communication and information for the (master) franchise entrepreneurs (Drive, Gmail, Hangouts Chat/Meet and Calendar)
High level security, through 2FA, Mobile Device Management and Security Dashboard
A perfect tool for custom app development (App Engine)
Making informed decisions with Big Data (BigQuery and Data Studio) cost savings and quality improvement (Dialogflow)
Hardware management (Chrome Enterprise)
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