Case Study: GAF Materials

The Problem

GAF Materials, the leading roofing manufacturer in North America, needed to establish an online marketplace of roofing services contractors and students of GAF Roofing Academy.
Project name: WorkBelt
Objective: connect contractors with the GAF Roofing Academy students directly. The web and mobile apps have to accommodate detailed search/matching and easy communication for both sides.

GAF Materials researched the market of custom software solutions and discovered that for a project as custom as WorkBelt, there were no out-of-the-box solutions.

Apart from the custom product itself, GAF Materials needed to have a strong technical partner who would be able to maintain and expand the project, as well as educate the internal team about all aspects of running it.

After conducting a tender for vendors, GAF chose Skalfa’s product and services as the core of the future WorkBelt project.

The Deploy Challenge

GAF Roofing Academy has an ongoing education process, as well as existing relationships with contractors. It was necessary to develop and launch the WorkBelt features in stages. Thus the workflow could be changed one function at a time without disrupting the established process.

Functions deployed gradually would need to be tested on focus groups before opening up for the general public.

The Hosting Challenge

Due to strict data security practices at GAF and a critical long-term value of the WorkBelt project, it was necessary to deploy the live system in GAF’s own technical environment. That included educating and co-operating with the GAF technical team.

The COVID-19 Challenge

Anti-COVID-19 pandemic measures in the USA and Asia coincided with the beginning of the active development process. It put additional strain on coordination and communication since both teams had to work from home.

Enter Skalfa

The entire scope of work to implement and launch the WorkBelt project was divided into 5 stages, according to the GAF needs, as advised by Skalfa specialists.

The first stage was setting up and tuning development, test, and production environments for a smooth work process, from specification to deployment.

Each development stage took 2-5 weeks depending on the complexity of the feature set to be rolled out. It took 8 months to implement the first major version of WorkBelt + the closeout period with transferring knowledge to the GAF team.

GAF’s internal database of contractors was imported into the system with actual data for immediate use of student focus groups.

Communication

There was established a channel of tight communication for the entire length of the project. Every-day calls and information exchange through a secure ticketing system made sure both teams stayed in constant sync and mutual support in spite of the timezone difference.

We hope to see a strategic partner in Skalfa with this ambitious project and we need a holistic approach from you at all stages.

— Sunil Garg, Director, Product Management at GAF

The Results

The initial set of functionality required to launch WorkBelt for the public fully was developed and deployed within 5 stages.

Because of being ahead of schedule, one more development iteration was planned and performed before the end of the year.

Brian Cornelius, Program Director at GAF Roofing Academy, has presented the product on TV and to the GAF stakeholders, receiving significant positive feedback on the work performed so far.

What’s Next?

Promising results of the year-long development period warranted expanding the project’s mission beyond only serving company-specific needs.

According to the updated objectives, WorkBelt is now an ambitious multi-phase project aiming to make a big splash in the American roofing industry. GAF Materials is planning the next phase of the project for 2021. Skalfa is staying as a key partner in the project’s new direction.

We achieved and overachieved our objectives. In 2021 we are moving to the next phase of the project.

— Stephanie Zhang, Senior Project Manager at GAF

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