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United plots better customer service, revenue management: Can it execute on IT?

United plans to retool its systems and implement business changes designed to win customers back. But first it'll have to revamp a revenue management system that has been a problem for years.

United Airlines is planning to win premium customers back, improve operations and create $3.1 billion in value by 2018. But a lot of those goals will depend on United Airlines' ability to execute on the information technology front.

The airline, the product of the merger of Continental and United, has had trouble integrating operations even six years after the October 2010 deal was completed.

CEO Oscar Munoz said the company is looking to earn back trust from employees and customers. United has been a laggard relative to other airlines.

In a presentation to investors, United acknowledged that the integration with Continental has been rocky. United chose to use Continental's revenue management platform, but has had trouble managing inventory since the system was developed for a smaller airline.

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United said in a statement that it is aiming to better segment customers. Improvements have done well in testing of the revenue management upgrade, said United.

On the cost savings front, United said it is hoping to save about $500 million from migrating to one maintenance system and new tools to improve productivity.

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As for customer service--a place where United needs the most work--the airline said it will provide a better mobile app experience and "other customer-friendly tools."

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