Small Iowa Tech Inked Deals with Microchip, GE, Raytheon, BAE and Siemens

Small Iowa Tech Inked Deals with Microchip, GE, Raytheon, BAE and Siemens

Despite the technology industry being hyper focused on the next great start-up darling, one small Iowa technology company has managed to quietly ink deals with tech giants like General Electric, Siemens, Raytheon, BAE Systems and Microchip. The GForge Group, Inc, based in West Des Moines, Iowa,, has built an impressive list of clients for their collaboration platform, GForge. According to President Tony Bibbs, the success of GForge can be attributed to thinking like their clients, making sure GForge provides them the right combination of collaboration features, itching unique enterprise needs and leveraging their size as a selling point.

Enabling Real Collaboration

While the collaboration industry has long been deployed at scale to the cloud, The GForge Group has gone back to focusing on their roots of on-premises collaboration. Microchip, a global provider of microcontrollers, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP circuits is using GForge to collaborate on multiple levels, addressing the unique needs of their disparate teams and customer base.  Specifically, Microchip uses GForge to:

  • Collaborate across internal Microchip organizational groups.
  • Collaborate internally on Microchip products and services.
  • Collaborate externally with Microchip partners and customers.

Microchip achieves these varied levels of collaboration by leveraging GForge’s portfolio management features which allow them to organize teams, projects and customers with varying degrees of visibility.

Another key feature of GForge is the fact it is an all-in-one solution which overcomes two key problems faced in the on-premises collaboration space:

  1. Ala Cart Features – Some collaboration solutions sell similar GForge features ala cart with each having its own pricing and requiring work to configure those features to work in unison. This approach is inflexible because it means you need to know what features each project needs ahead of time.
  2. Best-in-Breed Features – Other organizations, often times unknowingly and over time, end up buying multiple products from multiple vendors providing specific features. This approach shares the same inflexibilities of ala cart features from a single vendor but this also makes integration difficult, fragile and expensive. 

GForge’s all-in-one approach makes all features available to a project but gives its customers the flexibility of scaling with the project. At Siemens, for example, they enjoy the flexibility of taking a proof-of-concept, using a few GForge features, to a full scale, mature project that has expanded to use more of GForge’s capabilities.

The all-in-one approach is paying off because large organizations recognize that not all projects are created equal and with GForge scaling with their needs they are able to focus on their strategic goals without the hassle of renegotiating pricing when the needs of a project changes.

GForge Enables True Enterprise Collaboration

While GForge gives project teams modern collaboration features (like sprints, standups and team chat), it really shines when deployed across an enterprise. For example, General Electric (GE) uses GForge to manage over 16,000 global employees, all collaborating on GE’s vast array of products and services. 

With GForge, GE is also able to specify the export control classification of every GE project, to ensure export control policies and procedures are observed in a consistent, auditable manner.

Raytheon uses two key GForge features to elevate their collaboration. Within Raytheon, there are strict security boundaries between various programs. To address that requirement, Raytheon can quickly deploy a dedicated, isolated instance of GForge for each program, giving their programs the collaboration tools they need. For projects that don’t have the same security requirements, Raytheon has a shared GForge instance for managing their entire portfolio. GForge allows Raytheon to classify shared projects for reuse readiness,to ensure systems achieve a level of maturity before they are reused elsewhere. 

GE and Raytheon rely on unique GForge features to increase productivity and reuse, and manage regulatory requirements and project risk.

GForge Leverages Its Size

Make no mistake, GForge runs at scale, and it has to in order to support such large customers. According to Bibbs, however, GForge’s true value is the fact they are a small, privately held company: 

“Being a small company, we are much more agile and far more responsive to our customer’s needs”.

 Bibbs pointed to their unique support model noting that all GForge engineers also provide direct customer support. 

“Our size allows us to use this model which has the benefit of engineers getting feedback directly from customers. Nothing gets lost or miscommunicated like you often see with multi-tier support models.” 

Another small business benefit GForge brings to the table their customers have the ability to have a direct impact on the product road map. “Listen, there’s a lot of competition in our market and there’s some big fish in our pond. Our success is tied directly to our ability to listen to our customers and, to a large extent, let them drive the direction GForge goes.” Bibbs goes on to point out GForge, despite its size, has been in the collaboration business as long, if not longer, than most of their competitors.

GForge v18.1 Released!

Just a little over a month ago we ushered a completely revamped GForge platform dubbed GForgeNext and today we are happy to announce the release of v18.1.  Please remember we have changed our version numbering to reflect the year and the number of the release. Since this is the second release of 2018 this version coincides to v18.1 which should help customers quickly know how many versions behind they may be.

Take a tour of GForgeNext!

Getting Started with GForgeNext

The biggest change in 18.1 is the addition of SVN commit hooks. This means that all customers using both Git and SVN can safely upgrade to this version. For our remaining customers still using CVS we will be adding that support in v19.0 due out the first quarter of next year.

  • The v18.1 ChangeLog will help you understand the changes you can expect.
  • The GForgeNext FAQ will answer most of your questions but don’t hesitate to send additional questions.
  • We are still encouraging customers to reach out to us for a free consultation on the planning and upgrade process. If we don’t hear form you we will be reaching out to all our customers over the coming week.

Download GForge v18.1 Now!

GForgeNext Released!

Yes, it’s been a long time coming and nobody is happier than we are to formally announce the release of GForgeNext!

For those new to GForge, GForgeNext gives you all the tools you need to build and collaborate on software. In keeping with our motto of making collaboration Simple, Comprehensive and Elegant – GForgeNext leverages Docker so it installs in seconds, includes all the tools you need to build better software and it all comes with a user experience you will enjoy! For those not interested in running their own instance of GForge, you can opt for our new SaaS offering!

Take a tour of GForgeNext!

Getting Started with GForgeNext

For existing customers this release is significant because GForgeNext is as different as it is similar to GForge AS. You still get all the features of GForge AS but everything has been rethought and redesigned. In order to upgrade to GForgeNext, existing customers will have to upgrade to GForge AS v6.4.4 and then the upgrade will handle the rest! To help we have put together a few resources:

  • The GForgeNet ChangeLog will help you understand the changes you can expect.
  • The GForgeNext FAQ will answer most of your questions but don’t hesitate to send additional questions.
  • Beginning immediately we are encouraging customers to reach out to us for a free consultation on the planning and upgrade process. If we don’t hear form you we will be reaching out to all our customers over the coming week.

Download GForgeNext Now!

GForge v6.4.3 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3.  Other than being a bug fix release, this will likely be our last update to the 6.x series as we intend to ship GForgeNEXT later this year.

Important note: For anyone using GForge under the default license, which lets you run GForge AS free with up to 15 users without support, this number has been reduced to 5 users. Contact us at feedback@gforgegroup.com if you have any questions about this change.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3 Now!

New Features in GForge v6.4.3

  • Docman – Prior to this release, when browsing files in docman the link to the file pointed to the last version which had the version hardcoded as part of the URL. We now have use a URL that removes this hardcoded reference which means if you share the URL to the current version you will always get the latest version regardless of how many new versions have been added.  You can still access the direct link to old version through the right-click menu.
  • Project Export/Import – There were a number of issues preventing the export of a project from being imported into another GForge instance. You can now port projects between GForge instances provided both are running 6.4.3.
  • Licensing – Site administrators will receive warnings when they are approaching the maximum number of users allowed on their license.  Additionally we have given site administrators the ability to deactivate users in the event the hit that limit. Prior to this release when the system exceeded the maximum number of licensed use the system would give all users an error message.

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.3 includes a number of bug fixes and security updates. For the full details of this release, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.4.3 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3 Now!

Fall 2016 HackISU Wrap-up

 

Fall 2016 HackISU Winners for “Best use of the GForgeNEXT API”. Picture (left-to-right): Mehul Shinde, Dig Vijay Kumar Yarlagadda, Chris Matthews, Brendan O’Conner

Last weekend we sponsored our second HackISU Hackathon in Ames, Iowa.  HackISU is run, in part, by both Major League Hacking and HackISU, a student ran organization.  The GForge Group sponsored a prize for “The Best Use of the GForgeNEXT API” and out of all the teams at this fall’s HackISU two demonstrated great projects!

Runner-up: GitHub Migration

The team of Gregory “Charlie” Steenhagen, Justin Wheeler, Nathan Karasch and Jonny Krysh were this semester’s runner-ups.  At the end of the Hackathon they managed to migrate a single project out of GitHub including the Git repository and issues into a GForgeNEXT project.

Winners: GForgeNEXT Chat Commands

The winners for this semester: Mehul Shinde, Dig Vijay Kumar Yarlagadda, Chris Matthews and Brendan O’Conner implemented a way to execute user-created commands that could be ran in GForgeNEXT’s chat rooms.  They demonstrated commands that searched StackOverflow, ran Google searches that both showed up in the GForgeNEXT chat room. They also managed to do simple tasks like create new tickets, update existing tickets and list users assigned to a project.

While both teams demonstrated great ideas our winners edged out the win two ways:

  1. They exercised more of the GForgeNEXT API including use of the user, tracker, project and discussion resources.
  2. GForgeNEXT’s Chat doesn’t implement a way for user’s executed homegrown scripts yet.  This means the execution of any commands isn’t natively supported by our API and the workaround they came up to this limitation was fanastic.  Their engine would poll a given chat room looking for commands (beginning with “/”) and if the command existed it would execute the associated script.  The amount of problem solving that went into dealing with this limitation was impressive.

Overall this semester’s HackISU event was the best we’ve been a part of and we look forward being a part of future event’s.  We’ll conclude with the photo below of our winners who all earned $750 each:

GForge v6.4.2 Released

Today we are happy to announce the release of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2.  This is a primarily a bug fix release a few minor enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2 Now!

Notable Updates in GForge v6.4.2

  • Project Snapshots – We’ve a number of issues around project export and import.  If you need to move GForge projects between instances you’ll have to upgrade to 6.4.2.
  • LDAP/Active Directory – We now allow mixed mode authentication which allows users to login via LDAP/Active Directory or the database.  This is a great option for organizations that have internal users in LDAP and external stakeholders they want to give access to (via database accounts).  We have also provided a new script that will associate existing database accounts to their LDAP/Active Directory equivalents.
  • Syntax Highlighting – Web-based browsing of repositories now supports syntax highlighting.

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.2 includes over 100 updates and few security updates so please be sure to checkout the Complete GForge v6.4.2 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2 Now!

GForge v6.4.1 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1.  This is a bug fix release that also includes minor enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1 Now!

New Features in GForge v6.4.1

  • Docman – We made a few updates to Docman in 6.4.1 including the ability to mass upload documents by uploading a single, compressed file (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .etc).  You can also quickly restore a prior version of a file to the newest version while retaining the complete version history.  Finally we’ve added better logging, particularly when files and folders are deleted so administrators can identify what was deleted and who deleted them.
  • Tracker – Project administrators can now manually add and remove user or user groups from monitoring a Tracker or Tracker Items.  Also any custom tracker fields can now be added to the “Quick Filter” when browsing Tracker Items.
  • Project Templates – Before 6.4.1 you could configure GForge to auto approve projects.  We’ve now added a better level of control by allowing site administrators to configure which project templates require projects to be explicitly approved or which templates can employ the use of auto approve.
  • Debian – We now support Debian “Jessie” in addition to the latest versions of CentOS and RedHat Enterprise Linux
  • Discussions – Images added to discussions in the “forum” view are now rendered in-line just as they are in “chat” view.
  • SSO & LDAP– We’ve streamlined the user experience for customers using SSO and LDAP

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.1 includes a number of bug fixes and security updates. For the full details of this release, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.4.1 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1 Now!