By Bill Boothe
THE BOARDROOM • ISSUE 67
One of the most difficult challenges in managing
computer technology for private clubs is pro-
viding adequate user support.
Traditionally, club management has looked to the soft-
ware vendors to provide support – in the form of 24/7
telephone assistance, printed or on-line manuals/help,
on-line access by the vendor to the club’s software for
diagnostic purposes, user-group meetings, classroom
and on-site refresher training, and most recently, web-
based support and training.
The common ingredient in all of these is the same: the
software vendor provides the assistance and expertise.
For years we’ve been encouraging our clients to add a
critical ingredient to the traditional support recipe – sup-
port and expertise provided internally by club employees.
This approach has proven extremely effective in clubs
that have adopted it and kept it alive over a number of sea-
sons. The key players in the approach are called software
product champions. These champions are existing club
employees (not technical specialists) from each club
department, with primary responsibility for the core appli-
cation software (accounting, membership, POS, inventory,
reservations) used within their home departments.
Our experience has proven that champions can great-
ly improve the club’s success in implementing and main-
taining today’s complex application software. Yet most
clubs do not support a formal champions program.
Instead, clubs depend on a few “computer literate” indi-
viduals to surface and “volunteer” for the champion
duties. We recommend that clubs create a formal cham-
pions program to assure that new systems are imple-
mented properly, and that existing systems continue to
function at optimal efficiency.
Software champions are responsible for a number of
tasks. The ultimate success of the club’s software rests
heavily with the dedication and capabilities of the cham-
pions. Listed below are the champion’s duties within a