ITA Spotlight: Forte Group
Friday, June 7, 2019
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
Forte Group, @fortegrp
Answers provided by Steve Kreynin, CEO and Founder and C.J. Montano, Partner and Managing Director, Global Services and Solutions.
In 25 words or less, what is Forte Group all about?
Forte Group is a full-service software delivery partner for mid-market and large enterprises looking to accelerate or evolve their IT engineering or build custom software.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
There are two things that we believe allow us to solve the challenges that arise when developing and delivering software products or projects better than our competitors. First, we’re unlike many software development companies or consulting firms because we adapt and innovate how we deliver software in the manner our clients need—not based on any pre-set on-shore or off-shore delivery model.
If a client is better served and needs a critical type of engineering expertise to complement its IT enterprise, we can help. If a business or IT enterprise needs to accelerate or build a custom software solution, we have teams that can do that, too. If an IT enterprise needs to build software at scale or evolve its engineering practices, our managed services delivery model is best suited for the job. That’s what we mean by full-service.
The second is we specialize in the actual delivery of valuable outcomes. We know how to deliver software predictably with quality, which means that our clients can rely on a consistent delivery mechanism that provides them value. We empower our clients by taking the mundane (for the lack of a better word) aspects of software engineering and delivery off their plates. That gives them more time to focus on their business and innovation.
How did you get started?
Forte Group started as a testing company back when Y2K (The year 2000) was a big IT concern for companies. We were skilled at hiring great testers. Because of that, our clients started asking us to find other software engineering talent. Based on our clients’ needs, we evolved into a staff augmentation company. As companies began to evolve their IT enterprises and agile methodologies began to take hold, we realized that talent alone wasn’t enough—it’s about building quality software that provides real business value. Over the past five years, we’ve been evolving into what Forte Group is today—a full-service software delivery partner.
How has your company culture evolved as Forte Group has grown?
We’ve been fortunate to keep our culture intact, despite the speed of our company’s growth and our diverse team. We don’t put an emphasis on hierarchies or titles and have an open communication channel across the organization, which fosters an environment of mutual trust and respect.
What are the biggest challenges you face as you scale your business?
The biggest challenge is related to the previous question around culture. Given our company’s size (more than 400 employees), the rate at which we’re growing, and our plans to expand into different countries, keeping our culture intact will be a big challenge. As we grow, we want to keep our local cultures, but also operate as a global company. Our delivery, recruiting, and operations teams have this down to a science because that’s how they’ve always worked. But now our marketing and sales teams operate on a global scale with remote teams.
What motivates your employees to come to work every day?
Earlier this year, we conducted an internal employee satisfaction survey. We asked our team, “What do you like most about working at Forte Group?” The majority responded with, “the people.”
Internally, we call ourselves the “friendly people company.” We’re a diverse company, not only in terms of our people, but their backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. We all like each other and enjoy working together.
Externally, what motivates us is the work we do for our clients. Our engineers find the work to be challenging and are solving complex problems for some of Chicago’s leading companies. And it doesn’t hurt that we’re all pragmatic agilists.
Why does Forte Group call Chicago its home?
It would be great to say something outside of the obvious, that our leadership team lives here, but that’s the simple truth. But, why do we stay? It’s because we grew up here, we’ve been a part of the growing Chicago tech community for nearly two decades, and we love our clients here. Chicago is one of the hardest working cities and the people are great.
What is the one thing Forte Group cannot live without?
We end on an easy question, but it’s actually two things: Our people and our clients. Without our people, Forte Group wouldn’t be the company that it is today. Our teams work incredibly hard and know how to deliver software predictably with quality. They also are a great partner to our clients, many of which have been with us for a long time.
It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for our clients, but they trust us to do great work, to be a great partner to them, and to empower them.
This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
Yes! We recently published a white paper that really digs into the “full service” aspect of software delivery we mentioned earlier. Different companies face different IT challenges, and so the approaches to solving these challenges through software have to be flexible. In our new white paper, we outline what software delivery models, in our experience, work best for different types of organizations. Your readers can download and read the report at fortegrp.com/delivery.