in employee networking. With nearly
10,000 employees spread around the
world (55 percent work outside of the
U.S., where it is headquartered), Sabre
has utilized enterprise social intranet
tools, with spectacular results.
Recognizing its unique needs as
a globally distributed workforce,
Sabre embarked on building its own
employee networking intranet from
scratch. Using a nascent open-source
web framework, Ruby on Rails, Sabre
created an impressive employee networking platform called Sabre Town.
Sabre Town represents the company’s
need to forge more meaningful connections among its geographically
diverse employee population.
Sabre Town has all the features of
most social networking sites, including:
• Detailed employee profiles.
• Photo sharing.
• User commenting.
• Enterprise question-and-answer
On Sabre Town, users can post a
question to the entire organization, and
the site’s inference or relevance engine
automatically sends the question to the
15 most relevant employees, based on
what they’ve entered in their profiles,
blog posts and previous Q&A posts.
The results have been impressive:
60 percent of questions are answered
within one hour, and each question
receives an average of nine responses.
However, it took Sabre a full year to
convince a majority of employees to
join and use this internal social net-
work, and it required the active support
and participation of Sabre’s CEO and
Social business tools require careful
thought and planning. Yes, they’re easy
to deploy, but they’re not easily adopted
without the requisite investment and
accompanying change management.
The technology is the easy part. Successful social business requires more
than a fleeting investment of money,
time and process.
about the author
Toby Ward, CEO of
Prescient Digital Media,
is a social business
consultant, writer and
speaker, and chair of the
Intranet Global Forum, a
held in Los Angeles and
New York City, hosted in
association with IABC.