Nattawud Phacharintanakul

Surfing the next wave of technology

Each new wave of technology comes crashing more rapidly than the last. While you’re still grappling with one wave, you look up and see the next one, and next one.

The speed at which we are introduced to new technology with the potential to enhance our personal and business lives can be dizzying – even, or especially, for all of us working in ExxonMobil’s IT department. Yes, our job is to augment the company’s competitive edge through technology and to provide our colleagues around the world with the latest tools while also trying to envision the future.

But, to put all of this into perspective, our chief innovation officer recently said that the pace of the changes we’re seeing today will probably be the slowest in our life time.

Do you hear those waves?


Still, despite that pressure, my team and I work in a dynamic area that enable our employees, no matter the time zone, to find ways to do their most important work. Specifically, we are in the early stages of developing robotic process automation technology that will reduce the amount of mundane, routine tasks, such as running reports or extracting data from PDF files into enterprise systems.

That may not sound groundbreaking, but we don’t want our people copying and pasting when they can be pioneering and discovering.

At the same time we are developing a “chatbot” for our employees, which is essentially a personal assistant on our devices. One of our goals is to enable a streamlined process to quickly search for whatever information that used to be at their fingertips, but is now digitally buried. While we have a few pilots now in production, the idea is still evolving, like most everything in information technology.

The company is evolving, too, and I’ve seen that transformation unfold in just the eight years I’ve been here. Today, with the rapid growth of technology, I see a shift in how the company pushes forward; employs new ways of tackling challenges; and embraces more cutting edge solutions faster than ever.

We’re looking to see where we can alieve the “pain points” we identify in the daily work lives of our coworkers. We question and we test. We learn, adapt and iterate. At the same time, we are always looking … for that next wave.