Skip navigation

Darwin and Digital Platforms

Elaina Shekhter

CMO, EPAM
Blog

For any serious student of evolution, Charles Darwin's theory explains not only biological laws relating to how organisms develop through natural selection and small variations, but also how the order of any number of organic and non-organic systems can be viewed.

Our work with Digital Platforms has led my thinking into this same evolutionary direction - looking to identify how individual organizations and groups of organizations can come into being and increase their ability to compete, survive, and thrive.

Interestingly, it wasn't until we had wide acceptance of digital and cloud technologies that we could identify the current market volatility for what it was - a real evolutionary wave that would turn certain organizations into a totally new species (think sharing economy, new generation marketplaces, etc.). Or, simply be pressed out of existence (as is the case for any number of significant brands made less relevant through what could only be viewed as a mass extinction). In effect, no digital platforms = no mass extinction!

The latest turmoil in the retail world is further evidence of both extinction and formation happening simultaneously.The announcement by Amazon of the addition of 100+ thousand jobs and some rather frightening AI was set against the background of the continuing contraction of traditional brick and mortar business for hallmark brands like Macy's, and the complete turn towards digital-only presence for brands like the Limited.

As software engineers, we had to determine whether we should continue to focus on engineering the best quality software in the world, or  the more existential crisis unfolding in front of us, putting the entire future of some businesses as we know them up for the ultimate question of survival.

We concluded that more would be required from people and companies whose primary characteristic was growth through technology - and that more would necessarily include an expanded set of abilities with new personal and organizational DNA. For us, the question became not only what we want to do, but who and what we want to become.And this set us on a path of becoming what I hope is a 'new breed of service provider' - one for whom the critical activities of thinking, designing, engineering, and optimizing combine seamlessly and create our new identity as Digital Orchestrators.

As newly minted Digital Orchestrators, we might play the role of superhero in the crisis that is Digital Transformation for most organizations. And, as a colleague recently pointed out, our primary concern must be humanizing all of this digital change. As Digital Orchestrators, we will use our natural technical prowess to quickly assess the threats and identify opportunities. As newly integrated Thinkers and Optimizers, we would tackle questions of disruption - to not only see the problems on the surface, but to infer what deeper waves of crisis these surface ripples might indicate. Beyond insights, strategies, and platforms, we should also be able to offer an expanded set of capabilities that include running parts of an organization in a continual and agile optimization loop. This latter part is, in itself, a Darwinian inflection point as it represents the oppor-threat of automation, which in my opinion, is really the biggest elephant in the room.

This direction feels at once familiar and new to me, and as we navigate through continued change in every way conceivable, I'm hoping that Darwin smiles upon us and welcomes us as a new species into his wonderful view of the world as described by the man himself --

“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” 

―  Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Hello. How Can We Help You?


Our Offices

  • Canada

    • Ottawa

      343 Preston Street,
      ON K1S 1N4, Ottawa
      Canada

      Map
    • Toronto

      5 Park Home Avenue,
      Suite 400,
      ON M2N 6L4, North York,
      Toronto
      Canada

      Map
      F: +1-416-595-1551
  • Mexico

    • Guadalajara

      Periférico Sur #8110,
      Col. El Mante
      45609 Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
      Mexico

      Map
  • United States

    • Newtown, PA

      41 University Drive,
      Suite 202,
      Newtown, PA 18940
      USA

      Map
      F: +1-267-759-8989
    • Bellevue, WA

      110 110th Ave. NE,
      Suite 310
      Bellevue, WA 98004
      USA

      Map
    • Boston, MA

      21 Drydock Avenue,
      Suite 410 W,
      Boston, MA 02210
      USA

      Map
    • Conshohocken, PA

      101 East 8th Ave,
      Suite 201,
      Conshohocken, PA 19428
      USA

      Map
    • Los Angeles, CA

      11601 Wilshire Blvd,
      Suite 350,
      Los Angeles, CA 90025
      USA

      Map
    • Mountain View, CA

      465 Fairchild Dr,
      Building B,
      Suite 221,
      Mountain View, CA 94043
      USA

      Map
    • New York, NY

      24 West 25th Street,
      5th Floor,
      New York, NY 10010
      USA

      Map
      F: +1-267-759-8989
    • Philadelphia, PA

      30 South 15th Street,
      9th Floor,
      Philadelphia, PA 19102
      USA

      Map
    • San Francisco, CA

      222 Kearny Street,
      Suite 308,
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      USA

      Map
    • Washington D.C.

      7901 Jones Branch Drive,
      Suite 400,
      McLean, VA 22102
      USA

      Map
  • Australia

  • China

    • Guangzhou

      Unit B01, 23/F,
      Yuexiuxinduhui Building,
      No. 236, 6th Zhongshan Road,
      Yuexiu District, Guangzhou,
      China 510180

      Map
    • 广州

      中国广州市越秀区
      中山六路236号
      越秀新都会大厦中座 23楼 B01室
      邮编510180

      地图
    • Shanghai

      Room B509, 5th Floor,
      48 Weihai Road,
      Huangpu District, Shanghai,
      China 200000

      Map
    • 上海

      上海市黄浦区
      威海路48号
      5楼B509室
      邮编200000

      地图
    • Shenzhen

      3/F, Block 5, Vision Shenzhen Business Park,
      9th Gaoxin South Road, 
      Shenzhen Hi-tech Industrial Park,
      Nanshan District, Shenzhen,
      Guangdong, China 518057

      Map
    • 深圳

      中国广东省深圳市
      南山区高新南九道
      威新软件园5号楼3楼
      邮编518057

      地图
    • Suzhou

      Building 12, Creative Industrial Park,
      328 Xinghu Street,
      Suzhou Industrial Park,
      Suzhou, China 215123

      Map
    • 苏州

      中国江苏省苏州市
      苏州工业园区星湖街328号
      创意产业园内12号楼
      邮编215123

      地图
  • Hong Kong

    • Hong Kong

      26F&17F, The Wellington Tower,
      198 Wellington Street,
      Central, HK

      Map
  • India

    • Bangalore

      Smartworks,  
      Global Technology Park,
      Block C, Outer Ring Rd,
      Adarsh Palm Retreat, Bellandur,
      Bengaluru, Karnataka 560103
      India

      Map
    • Hyderabad

      10, 11 & 12th Floors,
      Salarpuria Sattva Knowledge City,
      Plot No. 2, Phase - 1,
      Survey No. 83/1,
      Raidurgam Village,
      Serilingampally Mandal,
      Hyderabad, Telangana - 500081
      India

      Map
    • Pune

      SmartWork Business Center Pvt Ltd,
      Suite 8, Level 1,
      West Wing, Nyati Unitree,
      Samrat Ashok Road,
      Yerwada, Pune - 411006,
      Maharashtra
      India

      Map
  • Japan

    • Tokyo

      Floor 1-10-11
      Shibadaimon Centre Building 10th
      Shibadaimon Minato-ku
      Tokyo 105-0012
      Japan

      Map
      F: +81-03-6880-9201
  • Singapore

    • Singapore

      5 Shenton Way
      UIC Building, #10-01,
      Singapore (068808)

      Map
  • United Arab Emirates

    • Dubai

      EPAM Systems FZ-LLC Dubai Branch
      2307 Arenco Tower, Dubai Media City
      PO Box 501929 Dubai
      United Arab Emirates

      Map