22 June 2018 • Brigitte Derks and Gideon Wille
ICT students at THUAS help the Salvation Army with GDPR
The Netherlands has been in the grip of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over the last few weeks. For the Salvation Army, this means cleaning-up all of their records in the coming period. At the behest of the Salvation Army, first-year ICT students at THUAS (Software Engineering specialisation) have developed a special application to make it simpler for them to clean their records.
The students were divided into various groups and given the assignment to design a program that could check the Salvation Army databases for inconsistency and integrity. The best proposal for use by the Salvation Army was chosen on 11 June. The students found it exciting to not only design the application, but also to work for a real-life client.
The students consulted every morning with the client via Skype for seven weeks. On Friday afternoons, the groups held a Skype review with the client in which the groups received feedback on the delivered products and the progress. The project presented significant challenges for the students, such as good communication, not only within the group but also with the client. Furthermore, they were faced with the client’s changing requirements.
Yet the students remained enthusiastic. “It was more fun than a regular school assignment”, said the students from group 1C. According to group 3F, “It was a very enjoyable introduction to the world of business and gave us a good idea of what to expect after our studies”. In the words of group 5D: “It was exciting, because what you’re making is also actually being used in practice”.
The winning application came from group 2A. “Given the project skills, the quality of the design and the accuracy of the results, we found this application the most useful one”, said the Salvation Army. “During the design phase, these students gave a lot consideration to the correct implementation of the various components”.
What is the Salvation Army now do with this application? ICT Architecture Manager Writsaert van den Born: “Things occasionally go wrong during system maintenance. This means that rights can continue to exist which should actually have been removed. An example of this is an employee who is no longer employed but is still able to access certain information. This application brings these anomalies to light. It allows us to gain valuable insights which would otherwise involve laborious and time-consuming manual checks and enables us to actively resolve the anomalies.”