Interactive site map for the Operation Management Center of the Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen

Smart and speedy as a team: For the mobility of the future Success Story as PDF

TIMETOACT develops an interactive monitoring map to visualize the central alarm management and service monitoring for the Schweizerischen Bundesbahnen, in short: SBB.

Every day, Schweizerischen Bundesbahnentransports more than one million people and over two hundred thousand tons of goods to their destinations. The company's vision spurs on, even when it comes to central alarm management and service monitoring including a ticketing tool: mobility of the future.

TIMETOACT is building an interactive situation map for SBB that makes disruptions, interventions and interruptions visible to everyone at a glance. The digital "monitoring map" shows how events in the route network influence each other. In this way, the SBB employees responsible reliably identify disruptions and are able to rectify them immediately.

Setting the right course

SBB permanently monitors Swiss rail lines with the help of a monitoring system to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the road, at stations or in server rooms. This would work even better than before, according to the project launch in October 2018, namely with an interactive graphic map that depicts the central alarm management and interactive service monitoring and makes faults quickly visible. This digital, geographic map is intended to complement the conventional static information tool, which "organizes" geographic correlations of incidents in tables divided into the three categories "Alarms," "Incidents," and "Changes." In contrast to the now outdated overview, a modern and future-oriented visualization of the "Monitoring Map" is moving to the top of the agenda. The plan: The "operators" recognize correlations immediately, queries and jumps to surrounding systems are no longer necessary - what blocks can be cleared out of the way more efficiently and effectively.

The new situation map quickly provides answers:
  • Is the alarm in Bern related to an intervention at the neighboring station?
  • Is the reported fault already known? Has the repair been commissioned?
  • What is the status of the technical equipment at this precise moment?
  • Is everything okay with the server in the data center?

For SBB, the aim is to drive innovation forward in a targeted manner in order to make the integrated rail system even more reliable. This is revealed by the SBB Strategy 2020, which places the maxim of "increasing customer satisfaction" ahead of its other thrusts. And for this, a functioning incident management system based on a high-performance, interactive "monitoring map" is a key lever. The period from the detection/reporting of a fault to its rectification includes the fault analysis, which is significantly simplified by the visualization. This reduces the number of minutes of delay for the end customer.

The intensive dialog with each other was very valuable. This was the only way we managed to implement the application quickly and in a user-friendly way.

Adriano Nicastro Operation Management Center (OMC)SBB
Trust carries and openness promotes creativity

The TIMETOACT team and SBB have known each other for several years. Many alarms and functionalities the IT experts from Heusenstamm have integrated for the Swiss. Knowledge and experience are available, the project participants trust each other and understand each other. Dominic Lehr, Senior Consultant at TIMETOACT and developer in this project, emphasizes: "It is enormously important to always be to start open and curious again when we begin the next job." IT projects work IT projects work when an IT service provider constantly puts itself in the customer's perspective and says goodbye to familiar thought structures. In order to listen to and internalize what the customer really needs, it is always a matter of going back to zero or "fail fast. Listen and start again, to design creative and sustainable solutions for the future.

Agility, flexibility and mobility set the course

The view into the future

When understanding the customer's perspective, user stories are the valuable basis for aligning the project with the outlined result and for keeping the team focused on the goal. After all, once you "sniff" the solution, you identify with the shared plan. "Our contacts at SBB IT and the Operation Management Center described in practical terms what the interactive application would ideally do," explains Malte Grimm, TIMETOACT, who acts as the interface between the TIMETOACT developers and SBB. An example: If there is a malfunction, a ticket is automatically opened. With that, the goal is clear and the project team from Heusenstamm is on track. "Thinking our way into the desired result is as important as the open, continuous dialog in our collaboration with our customers," Grimm elaborates. He already knows SBB's infrastructure from other projects and understands its systems and processes inside out.

Desired trial and error and fine-tune progress

The project schedule provides for: Twice a week, the project participants coordinate their activities in status calls. In the virtual room, TIMETOACT employees meet with the contact persons in Switzerland. They regularly critically question what has been achieved and planned. In order to display the filter and search functions more quickly and to make the processes more efficient, the intensive dialog with the users helps enormously. The Germans and the Swiss also discuss what has already been set up cleanly: for example, the proven frameworks that are becoming established as modern standard solutions.

These virtual meetings focus on questions such as:
  • What has everyone done since the last meeting?
  • What's next for everyone?
  • What has worked?
  • What is slowing down?

The better performance is well received; by the SBB management, employees employees and rail customers.

Dariusz Malicki External project managerSBB

Gaining distance thanks to efficient result preview

Based on so-called mock-ups, the IT specialists gain distance together with SBB employees. This preview option already demonstrates the target map realistically. The good thing about it: Mock-ups are created with the help of tool-supported wireframes, i.e. without any programming effort. Malte Grimm, TIMETOACT, made sure that the data needed for the interactive map was available. As an SBB-experienced employee, he knows what needs to be tapped where and how or to be operated process-wise. "The fact that we had concentrated discussions at short intervals and were able to evaluate the progress of our product in a very concrete way accelerated the process enormously," Grimm emphasizes.

Jeanette Fürst accompanies the customer SBB as the responsible TIMETOACT sales representative from the beginning and encourages:

When we accompany clients over a longer period of time, we grow together as a team with our clients. Grown understanding for each other supports efficiency and project success.

Jeanette Fürst Sales ManagerTIMETOACT

The mock-up process proves to be a very efficient way to further develop the interactive geomap in a user-oriented manner. TIMETOACT prepares easily digestible morsels, so to speak, and serves them up at the user demos every Friday morning. This development process is open-ended in the agile sense. Everyone contributes, creative ideas are welcome. Flexibility, transparency, intact communication, reliability and constructiveness characterize the togetherness. "The intensive dialog with each other was very valuable," emphasizes Adriano Nicastro, who uses the geomap at SBB in the Operation Management Center (OMC), and adds, "This was the only way we managed to implement the application quickly and in a user-friendly way." Within just under eight weeks, the pilot went live for a defined user group.

Quality of the monitoring map is obvious

The test confirms the quality of the interactive "Monitoring Map. Dariusz Malicki, external project manager at SBB, says: "The better performance resonates - with SBB management, with employees and ultimately with rail customers." The reasons are obvious:

Very flexible and fast responses to the technical situation are possible. This is a success factor, especially in the case of major disruptions, for the fastest possible resolution.

It is possible to see which interruptions or events are mutually dependent. In the event of a disruption, decisions have to be made under enormous time pressure. The situation map provides a simple representation of the overall situation and becomes an important support for the decision-makers.
The interactive site map convinces with:
  • Map tool and filter widget,
  • Filter and search functions,
  • detailed views,
  • automated jumps to the relevant surrounding systems
  • links between "Incidents" and "Changes", and
  • a much faster back-end.

In the final polishing stage, the IT staff improve individual features and document the users' reports on their experiences. "The testers are valuable experts for us on the way to the final result," says Malte Grimm, TIMETOACT, who is pleased with his colleagues that the map has been successfully in use since the beginning of 2019.

A project that once again highlights the value of agile processes

When all partners join in, progress and the joy of joint development emerge. Then innovations are possible.


According to Fürst, the companies for which TIMETOACT is in use revolve around innovative, digital solutions without exception. Because the markets are defining new laws for technological progress. At the same time, the quality of human relationships in teams is coming more into focus. Fürst sums up: "This project stands for time savings and innovative strength. And it has further strengthened the solidarity with our Swiss customer." The employees at TIMETOACT have long known that it pays to take an agile approach in order to rethink services and develop solutions in close dialog with users. "Not every company is mentally open to agile processes from the outset," Fürst continues, "inner readiness takes time to mature." However, SBB has been consistently adopting agile for years and is taking on a pioneering role in this area." The TIMETOACT team is therefore certainly looking forward to the next project for Swiss Federal Railways. The fact that this experience also inspires other customer projects motivates them to consistently focus on innovation as a core value in a practical and customer-centric manner.

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Jeanette Fürst