Reducing Invoice and Billing Fatigue and Navigating a $10 Million Contract Negotiation for a Fitness Center Giant

The Client

This client operates more than 118 fitness centers and additional office sites around the United States and Canada. Most of these run 24 hours a day. Their goal as a company is to improve people’s health and well being while growing nationally and internationally.

The Predicament

Avista’s relationship with the fitness center giant began with a billing disaster. Avista was brought in to meet with the IT controller and the director of IT, because, with more than 250 invoices, they were having trouble managing each one through accounts payable in a timely fashion, which ultimately resulted in them getting shut down for non-payment. A common issue for companies without a centralized billing system, which was exactly the case with this client. When they would get shut down, the internet service and phone lines in their clubs would go silent. They could not serve their customers, they could not make any sales, and they could not run their business.

The Solution

They became a Vantage services client, engaging Avista in a unique, custom solution that our team would manage expressly for their organization.

The first step was to consolidate all of their billing to one provider. Their finance team had a strong background in carrier services, so we collaborated with them throughout the process. Within two months we had a plan in place and were ready to start implementing it in the third month.

Because of the level of complexity, number of sites, existing contracts, etc., we spent the next 12 months creating a unified platform. Within 18 months, the problem was resolved. Without the looming billing management obstacle, the company could focus on their work – improving people’s health and well being and profitable growth.

In fact, the company’s growth led to additional work and an ongoing partnership with Avista. As they acquire and build new locations, they rely on our team to manage all of their technology services.

To accommodate their needs, we designed a hybrid solution wherein an Avista employee has been embedded on site for more than eight years. The Avista team member does all of their telecom order management, bill management, escalations, and meets all system requirements delineated by the company. She is truly a part of their IT team, managing all internal tickets.

Working with their VP of architect and engineering and VP of technology, we have continued to consult on design, make recommendations for network optimization, and handle vendor management – interfacing with all of the technology vendors on their behalf. With Avista acting as the main vendor contact for this company, they no longer have to spend time on the phone with a telecom vendor.

Our long-term, custom engagement also means our team knows this company and their goals very well, which is why the CEO brought us into a $10 million contract negotiation. Leveraging our insider expertise, we collaborated with the CEO, VP of technology, and CFO to determine exactly what they needed from this vendor and what they could expect from the negotiations.

The goal of the negotiation was to get fiber built out to 150 locations without incurring any construction costs. Avista conducted discovery on the content of the contract, and solicited a number of competitive bids between different carriers with whom we had built strong lasting relationships. Once we leveraged carriers against each other and worked toward the best bid, we brought in the VP of the channel to negotiate directly with the client.

We got the absolute best pricing for our client, along with a special waiver of $2 million in construction costs, and special language in the master service agreement that allowed some flexibility with overall spend. We negotiated to get a menu of options into the contract. A beneficial tactic for companies that do not fully know what their growth pattern is or the applications they will be deploying, these menu options allow them to migrate their network without having to go back to the negotiation table and lose time and leverage in the middle of a contract.

The Benefits of Avista’s Vantage Services

As a trusted advisor and industry expert for this client, we are a true extension of their team. As part of the Vantage services, every engagement we enter into with them comes with a custom solution and custom management. We know this client very well, we listen to their ongoing needs, we alert them to new opportunities as they arise, and we manage their day-to-day technology solution to the point that we have an employee on-site at their headquarters allowing them to focus on the mission and the work of their business.