Customer stories

Zurich Airport logoZurich Airport

OpenText SMAX SaaS creates a robust and scalable service management solution, reducing resolution times and improving user efficiency and satisfaction

Zurich Airport logo


  • ITIL-certified best practices to streamline IT and non-IT processes
  • Faster IT service fulfilment using automation for faster resolution time
  • High user adoption and satisfaction with self-service options with intelligent search
  • Moving OpenText SMAX to SaaS creates scalability, flexibility, and predictable costs
  • Always version-current with the latest features


Move existing SMAX on-premise implementation to take advantage of all the benefits of a cloud hosted SaaS solution.


Fully integrated ITSM requirement

The nature of its business means that Zurich Airport works with a variety of partners, from luggage handling, to car hire, duty free shops, and airport accommodation providers. Its aim is to provide a consistent service to its internal and external customers. Transparency in its governance, processes, rules, and infrastructure is key to this objective, as Roland Pfenninger, Team Leader IT Service Management for Zurich Airport, explains: “We wanted to understand exactly what systems and interfaces we have, how these interact with our processes, what data is available and, more importantly, what data do we need to fulfil an IT order such as a workplace for a new employee.”

The team felt that structured IT service management is at the source of this and although there was an IT support ticketing system, it was aging and had limited integration capabilities. Because the information was mainly entered manually the system contained redundant and duplicate data. To create a consistent IT service management structure, Zurich Airport needed a new solution.

SMAX supports ITIL-driven processes

Zurich Airport was clear on its requirements: the solution needed to be fully ITIL-compliant and contain broad integration capabilities to share data between key systems to ensure the IT service management solution would be efficient and provide the insights for continuous improvement. It also needed to align with the team’s IT priorities of governance, infrastructure, and standardizing IT services and, of course, it needed to be cost-effective. After a full evaluation of the leading market options, and following a public tender, SMAX was selected. “SMAX has provided the integration capabilities we need, and supports our ITIL-driven processes for full governance,” says Mr. Pfenninger. “We can also see the potential for even more operational cost savings.”

A project team with representatives from OpenText (formerly Micro Focus), and technical teams in charge of the configuration management system (CMS) and enterprise infrastructure monitoring, came together to scope the main SMAX configuration, covering incident, problem and change management processes.

Leveraging integration capabilities in SMAX

By integrating SMAX with monitoring and alarm systems, the team can automate event ticketing flows, from fault detection to recovery, reducing Mean Time to Repair (MTTR). With SMAX out-of-the-box integration capabilities, for example REST APIs, and guided by Professional Services, Zurich Airport was able to easily integrate their infrastructure monitoring with SMAX to automatically update, resolve, and close tickets raised by system alerts, without any manual intervention. With an integration between SMAX and their SAP system, all organizational changes are now instantly reflected in SMAX. Whether someone joins an organization, changes roles, or leaves the organization, SMAX always has the right people context for every configuration. SMAX tracks all configuration items (CIs) within the organization, such as a laptop, mobile phone, or a server. Regardless of what system this information is stored in, the seamless integration with SMAX and SMAX’s fast CI detection based on automatic discovery, make it available through a single source of truth: OpenText™ Universal CMDB. Leveraging this information, an agent can do a quick search based on an incoming ticket, for example, and ensure that the ticket is routed to the correct team for quick resolution.

The move to SMAX SaaS was smooth and took weeks, thanks to Micro Focus (now OpenText) Professional Services. Overall, the project took less effort than expected, and thanks to SaaS, we are now always on the latest version and can benefit from newly released features right away.

Roland Pfenninger
Team Leader IT Service Management, Zurich Airport

Efficiency gains with faster resolution and fulfilment times

With all IT services available through SMAX, over 1,000 users now access a single portal for their IT service requests. More than 3,000 tickets are processed each month by 130 employees responsible for ICT support and services. They are using SMAX Live Support to quickly find answers to common requests and issues, and use chat to interact directly with the requesters. They can propose existing knowledge articles and other information for a quick fix and coach users in SMAX self-service capabilities. “User feedback has generally been really positive, with users understanding the potential of how SMAX can help in their daily work,” comments Pfenninger. “They have continued to benefit from efficiency gains, with straightforward incident reporting and direct access to relevant knowledge articles.”

With SMAX the team can easily measure and report on issue resolution and request fulfilment times. With full service level transparency and key performance indicators (KPIs), service level agreements (SLAs) are more efficiently met and users are more productive and autonomous. Zurich Airport plans to continue expanding the knowledge article library which has provided the team with advanced search, and using Hot Topics Analytics to automatically detect trends, enabling agents to easily view and analyze patterns, and to create knowledge articles or problem records based on those patterns.

SMAX ITIL-based best practices are ideal to extend to non-IT processes also, giving users a consistent experience across all services. Mr. Pfenninger explains: “We look forward to continue introducing other business departments to all the benefits they can achieve by streamlining their processes with SMAX.”

The Zurich Airport team have expanded their SMAX usage over time and now leverage the SMAX service catalogue, change management, release, knowledge articles, service asset and configuration management (SACM), survey, service request, incident, and problem modules. This enables them to deliver modern IT services, while improving productivity and the user service experience. The mobile app is also now being used by ICT employees.

The SMAX SaaS implementation fits well in our overall cloud-based IT strategy, and means we no longer have to worry about maintaining an on-premises infrastructure or version upgrades.

Roland Pfenninger
Team Leader IT Service Management, Zurich Airport

Seamless move from on-premise SMAX to SaaS

When OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) introduced a SaaS version of SMAX, Zurich Airport was very interested. Mr. Pfenninger comments: “The SMAX SaaS implementation fits well in our overall cloud based IT strategy, and means we no longer have to worry about maintaining an on-premises infrastructure or version upgrades. A SaaS model also gives us much-needed scalability, flexibility, and predictable costs.” All existing data was seamlessly cloned in the SMAX SaaS environment, and after detailed planning we switched over during a single weekend. He continues: “The move to SMAX SaaS was smooth and took weeks, thanks to Micro Focus (now OpenText) Professional Services. Overall, the project took less effort than expected and thanks to SaaS, we are now always on the latest version and can benefit from newly released features right away. Rather than focus on operational infrastructure support and maintenance activities, our IT team members can now focus on delivering business improvements.”

Mr. Pfenninger concludes: “I’m proud of the collaboration and the effective knowledge transfer within the project teams. This has resulted in a solid service management solution which is ready for further expansion.”

About Zurich Airport

Zurich Airport logo

Owned and operated by Flughafen Zürich AG, Zurich Airport is the largest international airport in Switzerland and the principal hub of Swiss International Air Lines. It serves Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, and, with its transport links, much of the rest of the world. With around 1,700 employees, the company also has stakes in various other airports around the world.