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Case Study: German International School Sydney

The German International School Sydney needed a secure, user-friendly online data collection solution that complied with Australia’s privacy laws.

  • The school wanted a fully-functional digital solution to replace the resource-hungry paper-based methods of the past
  • They needed a tool that anyone at the school could easily learn to use and quick access to responsive, locally-based support
  • The school uses Snapforms’ versatile, multi-user functionality to maintain a secure and adaptable data management system
Pictured: The school’s pioneering shipping container classroom build won a Good Design Award

GISS logo

Australian schools collect a staggering amount of information and data about their students.

And like all schools until relatively recently, the German International School Sydney (GISS), relied primarily on paper-based tools to manage the tedious and repetitive task of data collection.

But in 2019 the multilingual school, based in the city’s Northern Beaches, hired a new business manager who immediately recognised an opportunity to streamline their data collection processes by moving to a digital solution.

I looked for ways to simplify processes but also have something that’s very adaptable.

Kristian Wolf, now the school’s General Manager, relocated from the US where he had used online form solutions to manage data collection.

“I came here from the US where I used Wufoo quite a bit,” Kristian explained.

“I found that Snapforms was a great equivalent to what Wufoo offered me in the US.”

But using an overseas-based online form provider such as Wufoo to collect students’ personal information was not an option. Australia’s privacy laws dictate that all data collected from Australians must be stored here in Australia on Australian-based servers.

And Snapforms was the only Australian-based provider Kristian found that offered the functionality and features he needed.

Multi-user functionality that complies with Australian privacy laws

“Privacy issues are a huge topic for us,” says Kristian.

“And knowing that we don’t have to worry about that aspect is a big plus.”

“Privacy issues are a huge topic for us.”

Kristian has also embraced enhancements to Snapforms’ functionality which allow users to assign different levels of access to different users.

“The new privacy and access levels Snapforms now has allows us to segregate certain forms to certain users which is another big plus we want to utilise.”

“Every employee here has to work with a lot of private info – it’s even better when we are able to segregate certain information between employees.”

What was the business challenge?

In addition to the requirement for a secure solution that aligned with Australia’s privacy legislation, Kristian needed an online forms solution that is user-friendly to anyone that either creates or fills in forms.

It’s been a very easy process getting people on board.

“That’s been one of the biggest things… it’s easy for a variety of people here at school to either adapt forms or come up with their own forms.”

“I think it’s the ease of use that’s been a big win for us – there’s a variety of people that know how to work Snapforms.”

“It’s been a very easy process getting people on board – it’s not something where you spend days and days to try to explain it to them.”

How was the solution implemented?

Kristian says he’s very much a learning-by-doing type of person.

“I had some time over the summer last year to really knock out a couple of different forms and also try a few forms that I didn’t need desperately, which gave me the opportunity to try out the tool and figure out if it did what we needed it to – especially on the back end.”

It integrates beautifully with the website.

“It integrates beautifully with the website… It’s a very easy way to get out something that looks good that has quite a bit of functionality.”

He and his team also value the local 24/7 support they receive from Snapforms.

“Dealing with the Snapforms team has been very good – there’s a lot of direct feedback when we have any questions, especially in the beginning.”

“It feels like you’re dealing with people and not just a large company, which I thought was quite nice.”

“It’s not the typical very standardised support where there are the same twenty questions before you actually get to talk about what you need to solve, so that’s been really really good.”

I’ve checked those boxes in terms of COVID safety.

The school constantly has a wide variety of online forms on the website collecting all sorts of information, including excursion participation forms, extracurricular activity sign-up forms, a playgroup attendance form, a bus booking form, a sports hall booking form, and parent/carer feedback surveys.

“We have our after school care sign-up form where we used payments for the first time through the Stripe integration.”

“And we’ve done quite a bit of COVID stuff as well… the risk assessment that we need for all sorts of events is done by Snapforms.”

“So basically if anyone has an event, for example, that parents attend, this form takes just two minutes to tell me what sort of COVID precautions they’re taking and then I have that on file just in case anything ever happens.”

“I’ve checked those boxes in terms of COVID safety.”

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