From OneNote and Excel

which are manually updated

Towards an automated system

With Azure Cognitive Search

Tech stack

Used tools & Technologies
  • Azure DevOps
  • Terraforms
  • Azure Functions in .NET 6
  • Azure in Cognitive Search
  • Azure Storage
  • Cosmos DB

How do young people who have serious problems seek help? And how can a smart system help them do that? Together with Team Rockstars, ROC Mondriaan developed an online platform especially for students. Efficient and scalable, thanks to Azure’s serverless functions and DevOps automation.

As an educational institution in The Hague, ROC Mondriaan is not unfamiliar with metropolitan issues. “Drugs, unwanted pregnancies, homelessness. We help young people with complex problems who often need various forms of help,” says ROC project leader Tina van Wouw. “All the knowledge about those aid workers was in my and my colleagues’ heads and in OneNote and Excel; that was hard to keep up-to-date and share. Together with interns, we started working on a smart search engine. That was promising, but for implementation we needed the expertise and decisiveness of an outside party.”

Team Rockstars IT delegated a DevOps team led by developer Vincent Bitter. Tina is very enthusiastic about the collaboration, “I am an agog and school leader by background. So I have no technical knowledge, but I do see that it works. The Rockstars do have that knowledge, but the great thing is: they also have a feeling for education. We really have got a top team in house.”



The ROC needed a system in which all assistance agencies in The Hague and the surrounding area would be listed together. With a smart search function that matches young people’s perceptions. Tina: “Our students don’t search by the solution, but by the problem: ‘I don’t know where to sleep,’ or ‘I’m pregnant.’ The search function should be suitable for that, without excluding other groups. Because mentors and teachers will also start using it for their students.

Vincent: “We have made the platform completely cloud native and are working with big data and data lakes, so that we can actively collect data ourselves – in this case aid agencies and their contact information. Azure Cognitive Search is central to this. This ensures efficiency and scalability. For example, only one function needs to run if there is only one visitor on the platform. If it gets busier, more will automatically run alongside it. Is it quiet, then the system scales down again. “You don’t need a server, so you never have to worry about monitoring it, whether you need a second server, etc.,” Vincent said.



Tina: “We always work in short periods. This is very pleasant, because this way I can always show internally what we have done and achieved. Every two weeks we meet, our own ICT people look on with interest. It is a very open and insightful way of working. And very structured; we are not used to that in education. Team Rockstars has introduced a different way of project management, which I really like. It helps us achieve our goals and keep the whole project team engaged. The Rockstars are really part of our team. Whether they work here with us or from another location. And that’s important, because at the end of the day they are education people who have to work with them. So they listen well, they explain well what they are doing and they have continued what we already had.”



For this job, Rockstars is working with Azure DevOps, a CI/CD tool that ensures that when a developer is ready, the new functionality automatically moves to the test environment. Vincent: “It’s a very controlled process. You always see when what has been put into production by whom. Nothing ever goes into production that hasn’t been tested, so you’ll never put anything online incorrectly.” Moreover, everything is automated. Its usefulness became apparent last summer when the school was hacked. It was the DevOps way of working that kept the project from stalling. Vincent: “We could just keep going, because we had a new environment set up elsewhere in no time.” Tina: “The Rockstars jumped right in. That’s just cool, that we could count on them even in a situation like that.”

The platform should go live in January at, named after one of the interns working on the platform. A Syrian name that stands for inclusiveness but also has a wonderful meaning: ‘The one to whom you seek refuge in a difficult time.’ Tina: “We hope to offer that refuge to a lot of young people.”

“Team Rockstars IT not only has the technology, but also has the feel for education.”

Tina van Wouw, project manager of the ROC
Vincent Bitter

Want to spar with vincent about working with Devops?