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How Adam Noble, CIO of GAF, drives innovation through collaboration

Phil Weinzimer | Aug. 2, 2017
CIOs need to collaborate with C-Suite peers to develop effective enterprise IT strategies. Adam Noble, CIO-GAF and his team are leveraging technology to enable business outcomes with a collaboration strategy that works.

It is also critical at GAF that we have the ability to attract and retain some of the best and brightest technical talent.  I have worked closely over the past couple of years with GAF HR to establish a technical career path, allowing individual contributors the ability to further progress in the organization as a technical specialist. If you are a manager in this organization, you have historically had a clearly defined career path. However, if you're an individual contributor, somebody who has highly specialized technical skills, historically it may have been more difficult to carve out a path for those individuals, and many felt they needed to cross over to the manager career path in order to progress within the organization. We now have a model in place that gives these individual contributors a defined career path. They can progress and continue to specialize their skills.  The technical career path at GAF now provides a clearly defined career path for technical specialists and individual contributors.

PW: Every CIO wants to help the company innovate by leveraging technology. How have you been able to leverage technology to drive innovation at GAF?

AN: Our customers expect us to innovate and continue to lead the industry with world class products. More importantly, they want to interact seamlessly with us and want us to continue to make it easy to do business with GAF.  Innovation is also critical in all aspects of our business and an important part of how we operate as a business. The GAF Culture is our strength. We are a very nimble organization across every business function and continue to have a competitive advantage because of our agility. A couple of years ago, I worked with our Executive Leadership team to better understand technology investments at GAF along with the most effective way to innovate moving forward. We wanted our business leaders outside of IT to continue to explore technology because they can continue to provide a different perspective. In order to streamline the process, we implemented a Technology Acquisition Process (TAP) that allows the business to go out and look at different technologies, explore innovation, and then collaborate with IT during the initial assessment. Not a full-blown engagement, not to have everything funnel through IT, but have us look at it to say, "Does this fit into the GAF model? Will it work here? Is it secure? Does it create something truly innovative and is it a differentiator for GAF?" If it does, we may partner with the business to help drive an initiative forward, the business may move forward with an external partner or it may become a larger technology solution. The advantage of using this model enables the larger GAF to continue to innovate and do things that don't have to funnel through the IT organization. So not everything has to happen here, but what this process does is allow us to understand what's happening. We may see something and ask, "Have we gotten this request from four other areas? Is there an opportunity here for us to collaborate across these areas? Have we thought about using this technology in this way? Is there a way to leverage this in another part of the business?"


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