Alibaba DevOps Practice Guide | Under the digital transformation, what is the fundamental goal of DevOps?

Introduction to Digital transformation is the combination of information technology and industry. It is not only the traditional industries that need to be transformed, but also the information industry itself, such as Internet companies. DevOps is an important part of digital transformation, and the DevOps system and practice must also serve the needs of digital transformation. This is the common challenge and mission of the Internet and traditional industry companies.


Editor's note: This article is derived from the "Alibaba DevOps Practice Guide" produced by the Alibaba Cloud cloud effect team. Scan the QR code above or go to: , download the full version of the e-book Learn about Ali's ten-year DevOps practical experience.

In the digital age, technology has become the core of industrial development. The delivery speed and quality of technology are directly related to business development and innovation. Most companies consider DevOps as an important part when planning their digital transformation strategy.

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

Digital transformation: from information to digital

Digitalization is deeply changing various industries. In terms of the breadth and depth of influence, there is no doubt that digitalization is a technological revolution.

5 technological revolutions since the industrial revolution

The book "Technical Revolution and Financial Capital" reviews the history of 5 technological revolutions since the Industrial Revolution and summarizes the commonalities among them. Each technological revolution can be roughly divided into three periods: the introduction period, the transition period and the expansion period. The same is true for the digital revolution:

Introductory period (1971-2000): In the informatization stage, the Internet grew out of nothing

The lead-in period of the digital revolution began in 1971.

Both the first personal computer and the first microprocessor were born in 1971. Prior to this, ARPANET was born in 1969 and became the prototype of the Internet; NATO's first software engineering conference in 1968 marked the birth of software engineering.

Microprocessor, PC, Internet, software engineering, the basic technical elements of digitization are ready. The next 30 years was the lead-in period of the digital revolution. The Internet grew out of nothing, and the acquisition, dissemination, and processing of information on a global scale have been improved by several orders of magnitude.

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

Technological change cannot be accomplished overnight. It requires a comprehensive upgrade of infrastructure and a deep-level shift in industry perception. This often leads to a low ebb in technological change. The Internet bubble in 2000 marked a turning point in the digital revolution.

The transition period affects business development, but technological development itself has not stalled. During this period, vigorous developments including cloud, big data, AI and IoT have laid the foundation for digitalization. The concept of digitalization has also been deepening and has begun to be seeded in various industries.

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

Expansion period (2016-present): In the digital stage, the Internet has gone from being to "nothing"

Today, the digital revolution is in its unfolding period, and its key sign is: digital transformation has become the consensus of various industries. What people care about is not whether to digitalize or not, but how to integrate digitalization with specific industries.

2016 is the first year of the digital transformation of China’s industry. Just as Jack Ma said at the 2016 Wuzhen Internet Conference, the Internet has grown from nothing in the past 30 years, and the Internet has grown from nothing to “nothing” in the next 30 years. The meaningless here is nothing. Everywhere, the boundaries between the Internet industry and traditional industries are disappearing.

Summarizing the history of the digital revolution, we are transforming from informatization to digitalization. What is the difference between informatization and digitalization?

Informatization is geared towards the information and Internet industries, including the information departments within enterprises. 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. As far as this goal is concerned, informatization has done a very good job.

Digitization is oriented to all industries in the whole society, focusing on specific businesses and in-depth specific business processes; the problem to be solved is how to respond to user needs accurately and in real time. The ultimate goal is to achieve the best customer experience and the highest operational efficiency at the same time.

Informatization vs. Digitization

As shown in the figure above, relative to informationization, the requirements for digitization are much higher-wider in breadth, deeper in depth, more complex issues, and higher goals. This of course also puts forward higher requirements on IT technology.

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

The results of digital transformation must also be reflected in the business. What digitalization needs to do is to empower business and bring simultaneous improvements in user experience and operational efficiency.

In the era of large-scale production, experience (especially personalized experience) and operational efficiency are inherently a contradiction. We bring the efficiency of scale and standardization at the expense of personalized demand experience.

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

The goal of business agility

Business agility requires all-round transformation of the organization, such as building a full-scale, multi-dimensional and real-time data collection and processing system for the industry; establishing an organizational structure that meets the rapid response of the digital age; achieving the integration of online and offline businesses; IT delivery , Upgrade of operational capabilities, etc.

Digital transformation is a systematic change, and DevOps is an important part of digital transformation. In the digital age, more business innovation and development can only be achieved through digital technology. The efficiency of IT technology delivery and operation has become the key to determining the success or failure of digital transformation, and this is the problem that DevOps has to solve.

Unlike the consumer Internet, which focuses on information itself, the digital transformation of the industry poses even higher challenges.

Business agility challenges in the digital age

First: In terms of delivery content, from centering on information to focusing on complete business links. In the information age, what we pay more attention to is the acquisition, sharing and processing of information. In the business system, more attention is paid to transactions. In the face of specific industries, we must pay attention to the complete links from customer acquisition, supply chain, manufacturing, financial support, market operations, internal collaboration to service delivery.

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

The two changes mentioned above are huge challenges to the IT technology department and require a comprehensive upgrade of capabilities, including organizational and collaborative capabilities, as well as technical and engineering capabilities. When we introduce the value proposition of Alibaba's DevOps in the next section, we will specifically introduce these two capabilities.

to sum up

The core of digital transformation is industrial transformation. China has the world's most complete industrial categories and the largest industrial scale. 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 established a strong digital infrastructure, with strong policy support and technical talent bonuses.

In the 40 years of reform and opening up, we have rapidly industrialized and achieved large-scale manufacturing capabilities. However, digitization will lead us into the era of large-scale customization and achieve simultaneous improvement of experience and efficiency, which we call business agility. It has relatively driven the rise of China's industrial capacity, from a major industrial country to an industrial power.

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

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