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A Conversation with Dan Tilley

Spectrum Clubs' newest officer discusses his role in the growing company.

DALLAS, Texas-A quick quiz. What do the following acronyms stand for? CEO. COO. CIO.

If you didn't get the last one, don't feel bad. CIO (chief information officer) isn't a title you see often on business cards in this industry. Which is why some industry insiders may think it peculiar that a young company like Spectrum Clubs, a growing club consolidator, chose to hire a CIO before rounding out the rest of its executive team.

Dan Tilley, the aforementioned CIO, points out there is a very good reason for the company's decision. "Spectrum from its inception has been committed to the use of technology and information systems," he said. By hiring a CIO as one of its first officers, Spectrum shows that it takes this commitment very seriously.

When Tilley talks about the use of technology and information, he doesn't mean buying computers and plugging them in. An information system isn't just a computer; it's how the computer is used. Therefore, as a CIO, Tilley's job involves finding the best computerized operations for Spectrum's clubs (18 currently-10 in Los Angeles, eight in San Antonio, Texas) and developing a platform that suits the company's growth plans.

This involves many tasks. To serve members, Spectrum must implement systems that do everything from improve check-in to enhance the entertainment experience. And to make sure all of Spectrum's different divisions work well together, Tilley acts as a liaison, soliciting conversations between the departments and making sure they receive meaningful information. As a basic example, Tilley must establish the easiest way to pay bills. This process shouldn't burden the general managers in the field, yet it should still give the accountants everything they need to do the books correctly.

Making this process possible requires the creation of methods that streamline communication via computers and other technology. When creating these methods, Tilley won't limit his research to the health and fitness industry. No matter what your industry is, he says, you should always look at how other sectors use information. For example, when Tilley was senior executive of Cobble-stone Golf (his former job before joining Spectrum), he would study industries with common practices and apply them to the golf industry.

Take payroll, for instance. Payroll may have its own nuances in different industries, but generally, it shares much in common in every sector. So there's no reason why a fitness club couldn't search outside the industry for a better payroll system. That's the approach Tilley will take in his new position.

"We will look at applying the best practices used in any industry and apply them to our environment," he noted.

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