6 cloud-native development challenges to avoid

Is your development team expanding its cloud-native app strategy? Fintech experts weigh in on how to clear common obstacles
1 reader likes this.
CIO Cloud

If your teams have begun developing cloud-native applications, how can you avoid common challenges when expanding your development strategy?

Setting clear goals – with milestones along the way – is essential to a successful cloud-native development journey. We interviewed former bankers, now Red Hat employees, for their insights on how to sidestep common roadblocks.

1. Having the wrong people on your team

Having the right skillsets is critical to the success of any project. When moving in a new direction, it is important to assess skills by looking at individuals’ potential, not just their current job output. For many reasons, your team’s talent may be underutilized.

[ Also read Top 4 skills to be a cloud-native developer. ]

“Someone who took a new role to try something different but can also do many other things,” says Eric Marts, industry principal: banking and payments at Red Hat. “Assess what skills you have, both seen and unseen, realign your teams and then see what you need to hire or train teams to do.”

2. Change-averse mindsets

Most people don’t like change, and this can be a difficult barrier to overcome. If you face resistance, start early to gather input and encourage buy-in by sharing the big vision and the “why.” Why is it important, and what will it mean for your team and for the company? If you can reduce the fear of change and its impact, you can lead more easily.

“Find a small group that has a classic app that is highly motivated and open to change,” advises Anthony Golia, financial services chief architect at Red Hat. “Do it and celebrate the win. Champion the win within your organization. We’ve seen that pattern get results.”

3. Getting stuck by technical debt

Technical debt can slow down even the best organization, so it is vital to look closely at what you will encounter and plan for it. This will enable you to build in the costs, resources, and time to address challenges rather than being reactionary and facing delays as you move to a cloud-first mentality.

4. Misaligned business and technical goals

When business teams and technical teams don’t understand the vision, or when one group dictates it, the results will not be as successful.

“Break down the silos. Bring together cross-functional teams with a shared vision and a common understanding of goals,” says Aric Rosenbaum, chief technologist, Global Financial Services, at Red Hat. “Sit technologists shoulder-to-shoulder with the line of business. This will lead to better outcomes, greater agility, and ultimately improved customer experiences.”

5. Unilateral rollout

It is difficult to fully understand your business when ideas and goals are one-directional. Ideas should come from both top management and individual contributors. Without input and honest feedback from all employees, you risk missing valuable perspectives and ideas. Often, your employees understand your customer profile better than upper management does.

"Identifying what individuals at each level are trying to achieve and targeting the outcomes and benefits they need to drive is the best way to lead change."

“Identifying what individuals at each level are trying to achieve and targeting the outcomes and benefits they need to drive is the best way to lead change,” notes Ramon Villarreal, chief technologist at Red Hat. “It needs to be both ways – bottom-up and top-down.”

6. Don't force it

Remember: Not everything needs to be cloud-native. Knowing where and when to use cloud-native development is essential. Look at each application and review whether it makes sense to ensure a greater chance at both short- and long-term success.

“Cloud-native development brings incredible value for some applications, but some are fine in their current structure with regular upgrades,” says Kaleem Azhar, financial services hybrid cloud specialist at Red Hat. “Knowing when to use what will set your teams and your customers up for greater success.”

Here are six actionable steps to expand your cloud-native strategy:

  • Assess the skills you have. Expand your cloud-native development strategy not by what employees have already done, but by what they’re capable of.
  • Get buy-in to the vision at all levels. Get teams involved and feeling secure so they become advocates for the projects.
  • Analyze your technical debt and plan for it. This will give you an accurate assessment of what becoming an actual cloud-native development will take.
  • Create cross-functional teams to create the vision. Bonus: You’ll build deeper relationships and increase buy-in.
  • Open a process for feedback and ideas at all levels. Use that to build your vision and next steps.
  • Evaluate what should be cloud-native. Focus on that, and don’t force it.

[ Want insights on talent and innovation from former financial services IT leaders? Get the ebook: Meet the Bankers.]

Emily Curley
Emily Curley is the director of financial services programs at Red Hat. Emily has spent over 10 years helping launch cloud technologies, building the Red Hat Developer program, and growing the financial services vertical. Emily is known for creating innovative programs, pushing the status quo, and piloting new ideas to benefit customers and stakeholders.