27 Dec

2023, the year we redefined our standards

2023 was different. A year that stands out from any other year in The Virtual Forge’s history. Don't forget to watch our "Year in Review" video right at the end!
Matt Wicks
min read
Simply put, it was a year of change. For us, these last 365 days meant planting the seeds of the future. And we’re now ready to watch them grow in the upcoming year!

In 2023, The Virtual Forge grew and redefined its meaning of success.

Thirteen years have elapsed since Garrett and Matt joined forces. The ideas they had back then shaped The Virtual Forge into what it is today.

They wanted to build a company capable of bridging the gap between design and data-driven development to produce innovative and beautifully crafted solutions.

More than a decade has passed, and today, The Virtual Forge is a company made up of a group of experts building beautiful data-driven software solutions.

Driven by passion and ideas to bridge the gap between the technical and the beautiful. The creativity and cutting-edge technology. The innovative design and the logical coding. 

Transforming ideas into success is one of the most difficult things in the world. Your ideas proved triumphant, Matt and Garrett. And this year we grew.

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its brand.

“Our brand doesn’t characterise who we are today and what we do.”

You may have noticed the recent facelift to The Virtual Forge brand. 

Since 2010, as individuals and as a company, we’ve learned a lot. And as we grew, our experience told us that our former website, logo, images, illustrations, and colours didn’t accurately represent who we were anymore. 

This is where a new vision came to light. At the end of 2022, we redefined what The Virtual Forge is, and the values we want to represent. As a team, there was some inward reflection - and that vision started building itself.

The process was not an easy one,  but certainly  a  worthwhile one.  We did a deep analysis of our projects over the last few years and took a hard look at what succeeded, what didn’t, what our team enjoyed, what they didn’t, and so much more. 

From there we solidified our offerings and infused some life into the language and visuals surrounding it. 

We are experts in designing & developing data-driven software solutions for the cloud. 

Check out the launch here.

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its locations.

London stands as one of the brightest tech beacons worldwide. It's not just an incredible city; it's where many of our clients call home.

In an exciting move this year, we've forged a new office in the heart of Liverpool Street. This goes beyond being a mere workspace; it's a dynamic environment strategically located in proximity to our clients and at the epicentre of our London projects.

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined the offering for our clients.

Our professionals spent 144000 hours developing software for the cloud and working on data, in an effort to deliver the very best solutions.

We were busy working across the globe to provide data-driven solutions for many clients. While some have been long standing partners, others joined forces with us in the course of this year.

A few examples below:

  • Machine Learning Solution for a leading North American automotive manufacturer - The Virtual Forge designed and developed a Machine Learning solution to resolve a search issue.
  • Multiple change requests to a  leading North American automotive manufacturerLearning Centre - A custom made Learning Management System implemented by The Virtual Forge. Since going live in 2021, The Virtual Forge has been collaborating with this brand to improve the system and make it even more engaging for students.
  • Data Dashboards for a leading european automotive manufacturer - The Virtual Forge’s collaboration delivered data dashboards for the Training Analytics and Dashboarding Department.
  • SEGA - The global video gaming and entertaining company utilises Power BI data visualisations extensively. They have engaged with The Virtual Forge to enhance their massive number of central Power BI reports.
  • Gardiner and Theobald Canada Reports - The Virtual Forge has been asked to evaluate Gardiner & Theobalds existing reporting application and offer recommendations for its enhancement. It was decided that the best approach would be to re-implement the report generation in a modern tech stack.
  • Kelda Reports - Kelda Dynamics approached The Virtual Forge for assistance in the development of a breakthrough solution for precisely controlled drilling of depleted oil wells. The challenge focused on front end development, architecture consulting, and UX/UI design. 
  • Wall Street Docs - During 2023, The Virtual Forge collaborated with Wall Street Docs to implement several updates to their range of microsites and to their Portal, as well as implementing new functionalities. 
  • 87%- The Virtual Forge supported and enhanced 87% employee wellbeing platform. We continually work with them to enhance their application, ensuring it evolves to meet and exceed the requirements of their clients.

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its own creations.

2023 was also the year where we pulled the trigger on creating our own Intellectual Property (IP), which will be released in 2024.

This pivotal decision emerged from the obscurity of our minds where it had been concealed for numerous years, finally seeing the light of day.

My Content Scout. The Virtual Forge first IP. 

MyContent Scout is an advanced AI content analysis and search  tool designed to enhance the way users find and gain valuable insights from various data sources at once. 

This innovative solution enables users to ask questions and seamlessly retrieve relevant information from customer-provided content such as documents, videos, audio files, images, e learning packages and Power BI dashboards. 

With AI technology, users can explore and analyse diverse data sources while benefiting from categorised results plus AI-generated summaries and quizzes.

Its development involved every technical department, being a true effort of what our collective minds can do when put together. We take pride in this accomplishment.

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its tech stack.

During 2023, we continued to develop our partnerships and practice in Snowflake, embracing the data cloud more and more. Simultaneously, we dedicated efforts to enhance our team's professional accreditations and work with clients.

Our professionals continued embracing the new versions of .NET, namely on Project Scout,  Gardiner & Theobald Reporting App, and the JLR EV project. 

By doing so, we’ve benefited from enhanced productivity, better performance, easier integration with cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP), and multi-platform support, such as the ability to deploy .NET code onto Linux servers.

We also approached REMIX as our new front-end framework - and no better time than this year, as it goes into its second iteration. This has massively improved our productivity and ability to pivot to changing requirements .

Certainly, like all companies, we have embraced AI by developing our own products (you can learn more about this in the previous section) and incorporating AI tools such as Copilot and Code Whisperer into our daily operations. Additionally, we persist in utilising the NLP and computer vision services in Azure and AWS that have been integral to us for so long.

Our journey into AI is not solely about external tools; we emphasise our responsible approach to technology and data security. To fortify this commitment, we have developed our own internal AI Guidance framework.

Check out some of our content from this year with our technologies in focus:

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its learning methods.

Learning is part of human nature. Benjamin Franklin used to say “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Wiser words have never been spoken.

At The Virtual Forge, we prioritise the training and development of our staff as a fundamental aspect of our company ethos. As of November 2023, staff has collectively accumulated 4,781 hours of training and development. This includes participation in conferences, workshops, training courses, certifications, and accreditations, among other educational activities.

It is not an understatement to say that things move really fast in the tech industry. It's a space filled with start-ups, a dynamic workforce of people, and continual advancements in the methodologies of building and managing products and software. Catching up is difficult. And that’s the primary reason why we invest so much in employee training.

To give some examples, during 2023, we became certified in Power BI Data Analyst Associate; Snowflake Technical Sales Professional Accreditation; Snowflake Sales Professional Accreditation; Snowpro Core; Azure Administrator Associate and DevOps Engineer Expert, just to name a few. 

We've also been hosting our very own internal sessions, gathering content in a range of topics – from deep dives into our partnerships and projects to exploring unheard-of technologies. We've even cracked the code on the magic of marketing tools and followed up on a gripping first session about cybersecurity. With a dedicated channel and all sessions recorded, all you employees get front-row seats to binge-watch anytime they want!

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined its partnerships.

Over the years, our experience led us to connect with incredible products, amazing ideas, and even more spectacular people.

Continuing from last year, we continued  developing our partnerships with Boundless, a VR/AR company, and Creative Computing, specialists in Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.

But  it didn’t end here. Exciting developments are on the horizon for 2024. 

In 2023, The Virtual Forge redefined the meaning of corporative fun.

Fun is an important driver of well-being across all generations in the workplace.

Let’s start with a universal rule - we dedicate a considerable percentage of our existence fumbling through papers, gathering thoughts to solve the next challenge, typing away on our computers, emailing clients, and spending time with our co-workers, managers and bosses. 

With that said: shouldn’t it be fun?

That mindset is what drives most of our workplace culture. Throughout the year, we have several events to increase employee morale, foster engagement but sometimes, just for the sake of… relaxing! 

For many workplaces, “fun” has been embodied by office perks like ping pong tables, craft beer, catered lunches, and more. But we have our own way.

  • After the success of VF Day in 2022, we decided to continue the tradition in 2023. On the eve of the event, the team gathers for a celebratory activity, marking the occasion with drinks, delicious food, and laughter;
  • Our World Food Day celebrations continued at the Glove Factory and Portugal Offices. Every month, the team contributes with dishes from around the world, come together, and share a delightful time filled with good food and even better conversations;
  • For our 7th Edition Dress Up Day in October, we added a twist with the theme from Despicable Me. The Portugal office transformed into Minion's Headquarters, the UK became Gru's dungeon, and Unicorns made a magical appearance in our US office.
  • To conclude the year, each team gathered for a Christmas celebration in their respective locations, engaging in an activity of their choice. Matt joined the Portuguese team, and Garrett joined the American team for the festivities.

Our Co-CEO’s message

Looking ahead, we stand on the brink of unparalleled opportunities, but also a period of technological change in data and software development. 

The Virtual Forge is perfectly positioned to lead in such a period, and our dedication to excellence will allow us to address our partners' challenges as if they are our own. 

Our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible remains the same.

We will see you all in 2024.

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