Brief introduction:Digital transformation is the combination of information technology and industry. What needs to be transformed is not only the traditional industries, but also the information industry itself, such as Internet companies. DevOps is an important part of the digital transformation. The system and practices of DevOps must also serve the needs of the digital transformation, which is the common challenge and mission of Internet and traditional industry companies.

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In the digital era, technology has become the core of industrial development. The speed and quality of technology delivery are directly related to business development and innovation. Most companies include DevOps as a key part of their digital transformation strategy.

The implementation of DevOps must serve the goals of digital transformation. When implementing DevOps, we first need to understand the expectations and demands of the digital transformation.

Digital transformation: from information to digital

Digitalization is profoundly changing industries. In its breadth and depth of impact, there is no doubt that digitization is a technological revolution.

Five technological revolutions since the Industrial Revolution

Technological Revolution and Financial Capital reviews the five technological revolutions since the Industrial Revolution and summarizes the commonalities among them. Every technological revolution can be roughly divided into three periods: the introductory period, the turning period and the unfolding period. The same is true of the digital revolution:

Introduction period (1971-2000) : the information stage, the Internet from scratch

The beginning of the digital revolution began in 1971.

The first personal computer and the first microprocessor were both created in 1971. Before that, ARPANET was born in 1969 and became the prototype of what became the Internet. The first NATO software engineering conference in 1968 marked the birth of software engineering.

Microprocessor, PC, Internet, software engineering, the basic technology elements of digitization are ready. The next 30 years were the beginning of the digital revolution. From nothing, the Internet improved the access, dissemination and processing of information on a global scale by several orders of magnitude.

Transition period (2000-2016) : infrastructure ready, technology and management paradigm ready

Technological change will not happen overnight. It will require an overhaul of infrastructure and a profound shift in industry perception. This often leads to low ebb of technological change. The Internet bubble in 2000 marked the turning point of the digital revolution.

The transition period affects business development, but the technology development itself does not stop. This period includes the development of cloud, big data, AI and IoT, which have laid the digital infrastructure. The concept of digital is also deepening and starting to be seeded in various industries.

Today the industry recognized that the turnaround period has ended. 2016 was a landmark year for China, with more than 700 million Internet users, the first time China’s Internet population exceeded half, and it is unlikely to double again. The information industry can no longer rely solely on the demographic dividend of the Internet to maintain growth. The digital revolution must develop in depth and integrate with various industries.

Expanding period (2016-present) : Digital stage, Internet from existence to “nil”

Today, the digital revolution is in its unfolding phase, and its key symbol is that digital transformation has become the consensus of various industries. The question is not whether to go digital, but how it fits into specific industries.

The year 2016 is the first year of the digital transformation of China’s industry. Just as Jack Ma said at the 2016 Internet Conference in Wuzhen, the Internet has grown from nothing in the past 30 years, and will grow from nothing in the next 30 years to nothing. Here, nothing means everywhere, and the boundary between the Internet industry and traditional industry is disappearing.

Summarizing the course that the digital revolution has gone through, we are transforming from information to digital. What is the difference between informatization and digitalization?

Informatization is oriented to the information and Internet industry, including the information department within the enterprise. It focuses on information and solves the problem of information interconnection. Its ultimate goal is to improve the efficiency of information acquisition, storage, processing and transmission. For this purpose, informationization has done a very good job.

Digitalization is oriented to all industries of the whole society, and the object of concern is specific business and in-depth business process. The problem to be solved is how to accurately and real-time response to user needs. The ultimate goal is to achieve both the best customer experience and the highest operational efficiency.

Information vs. Digital

As the chart above shows, digitalization is much more demanding than informationization — broader in scope, deeper in depth, more complex in problems, and higher in goals. This also puts forward higher request to IT technology of course.

From informationization to digitization, DevOps must aim to support business agility

The results of the digital revolution must also be felt in the business. What digitalization is about is enabling business, bringing about simultaneous improvement of user experience and operational efficiency.

In the era of mass production, experience (especially personalized experience) is a contradiction to operational efficiency. We deliver scale and standardized efficiency at the expense of personalized needs experience.

Digitization will have the opportunity to completely resolve the contradiction between experience and efficiency, accurately and in real time respond to diverse user needs, and at the same time improve the operational efficiency of the organization, to achieve the unity of the best experience and the highest efficiency. We call this capability business agility.

Goals of business agility

Business agility requires the organization to change all aspects, such as the construction of the industry’s full volume, multi-dimensional and real-time data acquisition and processing system; The establishment of the rapid response organization structure in line with the digital era; To achieve the integration of online and offline businesses; IT delivery, operational capability upgrades, etc.

The digital transformation is a system transformation, and DevOps is an important part of the digital transformation. In the digital era, more business innovation and development can only be realized through digital technology. The efficiency of IT technology delivery and operation becomes the key to the success or failure of the digital transformation, and this is where DevOps is addressing the issue.

Different from the consumer Internet, which focuses on information itself, the digital-oriented transformation of industry presents a higher challenge.

Business agility challenges in the digital age

First: content delivery, from information-centric to focusing on complete business links. In the information age, we pay more attention to the acquisition, sharing and processing of information, and pay more attention to the transaction in the business system. For specific industries, we must focus on the complete links from customer acquisition, supply chain, manufacturing, financial support, market operations, internal collaboration, and service delivery.

Second: the delivery process, from focusing on technology delivery, to optimizing the end-to-end process. When we talk about agile, we can no longer just focus on agile software development, but focus on the full link process from business, development, operation and maintenance to achieve end-to-end fast response, delivery and stable operation.

The two changes mentioned above represent a huge challenge for IT departments and require a comprehensive upgrade of capabilities, including organizational and collaboration capabilities, as well as technical and engineering capabilities. We’ll take a closer look at these two capabilities when we look at Alibaba’s value proposition for DevOps in the next section.


The core of digital transformation is industrial transformation. China has the most complete industrial categories and the largest industrial scale in the world. It is the only country in the world that has all the industrial categories listed in the United Nations industrial classification. At the same time, we have built a strong digital infrastructure, strong policy support and technical talent dividend.

Over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has rapidly industrialized and achieved large-scale manufacturing capabilities. However, digitalization will lead us into the era of large-scale customization, achieving simultaneous improvement of experience and efficiency, which we call business agility. It promotes the leap of China’s industrial capacity, from a big industrial country to a powerful industrial country.

Digital transformation is the combination of information technology and industry. What needs to be transformed is not only the traditional industries, but also the information industry itself, such as Internet companies. DevOps is an important part of the digital transformation. The system and practices of DevOps must also serve the needs of the digital transformation, which is the common challenge and mission of Internet and traditional industry companies.

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