American Airlines Reveals Limits Of World-Class IT
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User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2012 | 8:55:23 PM
re: American Airlines Reveals Limits Of World-Class IT
I wasn't personally involved in the many efforts to put an GUI front-end on SABRE but there were many. There were a lot of technical problems but, as I understand it, the huge problem was human. Because the user interface to SABRE was user hostile, agents developed an expertise over time that developed into a kind of power structure. When the first GUI front ends rolled out there was such a backlash and sabotage that the effort was pulled. You always have to remember that, for a reason I have never understood, manage/labor relations at AA and most airlines was poor and any effort to change things--even for the better and with best intentions--was first looked upon as an effort by management to get more out of the employees for nothing.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2012 | 7:48:51 PM
re: American Airlines Reveals Limits Of World-Class IT
The mantra these days encourages IT to help with the *key* business processes, the strategic ones. AA used IT to its great benefit in reservations and pricing. What about those other key processes, like hedging fuel prices? Or empowering unionized employees, to help address the persistent labor relations? IT couldn't help with the material costs or huge capital expenditures involved in aircraft; more precisely, IT could help Boeing more than AA in those areas.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/26/2012 | 8:29:52 PM
re: American Airlines Reveals Limits Of World-Class IT
AA may have been at its zenith in 1985, but what happened? Was Max asleep in the cockpit? Why didn't he introduce a GUI to reduce new-hire training from 5 weeks to 1-2 weeks? An airline paying a reservations agent or airport employee for 5 weeks of training (on a "green" screen) is crazy! Max must have seen other industries doing this between 1985-1995. His attempt to buy QIKres and slap that on-top of SABRE (different than Sabre) failed because it was s-l-o-w. New employees were not as productive with it, and senior employees couldn't move from one task to another without exiting (the first task) and commencing down a new path. (Slow!) Maya Leibman is an excellent choice to push-beyond the non-innovation of Max's last 10-15 years. Sabre and the other GDS companies (Travelport...) you mention will radically change in the next 24 months. Direct Connect is next. It will cut distribution and ticketing costs by $9-$12 per ticket. (That's the current battle between AA and Sabre.) That may not sound like much -- but that's the difference between profit and loss for >90% of all airline customers in North America. Maya's promotion was an outstanding choice by AMR/AA.

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