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If you’ve decided to take advantage of the converter (developed by //SEIBERT/MEDIA) in order to switch from OTRS to Zendesk, then you’re in the right place. The following guide will lead you through the migration process and make sure you achieve your goal: a functioning installation of Zendesk through which you can still access your old data.

Take the following important preparations within Zendesk

Before you can start converting, you’ll need to take care of some preparations ahead of time to prevent potentially negative results.

  • Under Manage > Triggers & email notifications in Zendesk, deactivate all active triggers. If you forget this one little step, Zendesk will notify by e-mail all of the customers who are tagged within the imported tickets.
  • Under Manage > automations in Zendesk, deactivate – just to be on the safe side – all active automations in order to prevent mails from being sent to customers during the import. When closed tickets are imported, they aren’t marked as being closed until the end of the import and an automation could – under the right circumstances – trigger in the interim period an action that could lead to mails being sent to customers or to changes in tickets that are actually already closed.

Input the necessary data into the converter

To make sure that the converter, a small OTRS-plugin, works correctly, you’ll need to input the following pieces of information:

  • The name of your Zendesk account (
  • The username that you use to login to Zendesk.
  • The password for that username.

Adjust the import manually

While it’s true that the converter can take care of most of the work for you, you’ll have to figure out answers to some of the questions in order to make sure that your needs and wishes will be met.

What should you do when you’ve reached the limit for editors?

If you have more agents in OTRS than you are allowed to import into Zendesk, you’ll have a couple of important decisions to make:

  • Which agents should be imported and which can you afford to leave behind?
  • What should happen to the tickets that had been allocated to an agent who is no longer in your Zendesk system?

Especially for the second of these, it can be a good idea to create a dummy agent to which you can assign all those tickets that cannot or have not yet been assigned to any other agent.

How should the differing ticket statuses be handled?

You’re probably already sensing the answer: The statuses that a ticket in Zendesk may obtain differ somewhat from ticket statuses in OTRS. In total there are five different statuses (New, Open, Pending, Solved, Closed) you’ll have to decide between.

To that end ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which ticket statuses should even be migrated? Could it possibly suffice to just import those tickets that can be marked in Zendesk as Open, New, or Pending? If yes, it would have the advantage that these three statuses appear in OTRS as well as Zendesk.
  • What happens to tickets that previously had the status merged or removed? Neither status is possible within the (intentionally) slim and minimalist Zendesk.
  • Should tickets that in OTRS are marked as closed be marked in Zendesk as Solved or also as Closed? There is a decisive difference! If tickets are only Solved, they can still be opened, but once they’ve been marked Closed, it’s over – closed tickets can’t be opened anymore.

How should the ticket priorities be migrated?

Similar to the ticket statuses, the priority settings in OTRS and Zendesk are somewhat different. For example, the Open Ticket Request System usually utilizes a total of five priority settings – from very low to very high. On the other hand, Zendesk only uses four priority settings: Low, Normal, High, and Urgent. To make sure the migration is a success, all tickets have to be given a valid priority setting.

One way to solve this would be to combine the OTRS priority settings very low and low into just Low for Zendesk, and very high could be allocated to the new priority Urgent. The remaining two OTRS priority settings normal and high can be transferred to the Zendesk categories of Normal and High.

It would be even simpler to just customize manually the preset ticket priorities in Zendesk and rename them according to your currently running OTRS installation categories, which would let you ignore completely the need to get used to new category names.

What should happen to doubled- or unallowed email addresses?

In Zendesk email addresses also function as user ids and therefore must be valid and clear. This was not the case in OTRS, in which multiple users could use the same email as well as addresses like root@localhost.

If you run into this problem, there are a variety of ways to solve it:

  • If multiple agents have the same email address, you could combine those agents into one agent.
  • Alternatively, you could change the email addresses so that each agent has an individual, valid email address.
  • You could also consider deleting problematic users and re-allocating the tickets.

Which time zone is used in OTRS?

If you’re using a different time zone in OTRS than you will be using in Zendesk, this can lead to some small, superficial problems. To avoid these, you should use the same time zone in Zendesk that you have been using in OTRS.

Don’t forget the finishing touches

If the migration has gone according to plan, you’ll usually only need to take care of two final things:

  • The triggers and automations that you deactivated at the beginning should be re-activated.
  • OTRS triggers that you can’t live without will have to be manually and individually re-entered in Zendesk under Manage > Triggers & email notifications.


At this point you should have access to a functioning installation of Zendesk that is not only equal to or better than OTRS in all respects but also gives you many new options and possibilities.

If you have any questions regarding Zendesk and migrating from OTRS, please just contact us through the form on the right side of the screen (close to the top).