The Gym Group & Okta – partners in strategy

By Leila Hawkins
Jasper McIntosh and Geoff Tinegate explain how Okta has supported them strategically, both throughout the pandemic and with their day-to-day business...

The Gym Group has a unique business model with a contract-free, low cost approach that has enabled them to grow into a successful business with over 180 sites in the UK. Technology has been a key enabler of this, and facilitating that technology, has been Okta. 

“Technology enables us to serve a high number of members to provide a fantastic gym experience through things like automated access control, online-only sales, and member sales serve” McIntosh explains. “Identity and access management is absolutely key to that.” 

Okta has been a major part of this architecture and infrastructure. “Okta plays a key role in our technology stack, fundamentally improving our security model, and enabling more features around things like multi-factor authentication. It's got context-based policies around location-based awareness, and it's really key for health-first strategy based applications that can help us scale. As we continue to grow as a business this is crucially important.”

The Gym Group has multiple cloud applications and a workforce that’s spread out all over the UK with diverse skills. They therefore needed a solution that would be easy for staff to interact with, but also gave them all the functionality they required. 

“When we were evaluating Okta, we were looking for something that would fit with a wide range of different authentication processes that were in our existing applications” McIntosh says. “We wanted to primarily provide an interface to our staff that was intuitive for them to pick up. It was really important that we had a level of reporting and understanding of how the tool was being used, where it was being used, and what our security profile was, so that we can bring new applications in confidently and understand how our staff are using them.” 

With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic they had to quickly adapt processes, and Okta helped ease these changes. “We were able to rapidly bring in new applications, adopt our technology model for staff, and really get insight into how those platforms are being adopted, making that initial adoption as frictionless as possible” McIntosh explains. 

“Okta’s absolutely helped us with that approach, automating a number of the identity access management features and access to applications that all our staff benefit from” Tinegate says. “With the features of Okta around automated lifecycle management, and licence provisioning, it's really helped remove those manual steps that are prone to error and reduce support calls, and also help staff on the ground and in the office be much more productive.”

Like so many other businesses, the Gym Group is looking forward to being fully operational once the pandemic is under control so they can get on with future plans. “We’re really excited to get back to the day job of delivering the gym experience to hundreds of thousands of members” McIntosh says. “Behind that initial re-enabling of the business, we're looking to grow both in terms of our core products, and also affiliated products and services that we can bring in. We see Okta having a major role to play in both of these strategies.” 

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