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ExxonMobil Upstream IT Leads with Expertise and Collaboration on Power Platform Wins

by Jason Gumpert

Microsoft often promotes Power Platform for its vast utility. And while nearly everyone in an organization from a non-technical line of business worker to professional developers can build applications, process flows, chatbots, integrations, and dashboards with these services, each organization must weigh their options for how exactly to make Power Platform a part of their IT landscape.

When ExxonMobil Upstream IT prepared for a new development effort that would rely on Power Platform, they pledged to deliver complex, high-value solutions quickly, to do it primarily with centrally managed IT processes and developers rather than citizen developers across the business, and to make their delivery team, Avanade and Accenture, equal members.

The work by ExxonMobil Upstream IT since 2020 has at times pushed the limits on Power Platform services, both in terms of usage and advanced development requirements. Huy Tran, ExxonMobil Upstream IT Product Manager, and Sacha Abinader, managing director for Accenture North America Energy, spoke with MSDW about some of their experiences and observations related to ExxonMobil’s IT-driven investment, including their professional-grade Power Platform practice and how the team can continue to adapt in a corporate context.

Designing solutions with users at the center

An area of attention in ExxonMobil teams on the field was the shift handover. While shift handovers are a known point of higher risks for both safety and equipment damage as a new crew begins work, taking over from the old crew, methods for tracking these daily interactions had become inefficient, inconsistent, and outdated, ranging from paper and spreadsheets to massive OneNote notebooks and manual entry of data into a series of legacy systems.

“By continuously striving to enforce effective communication, and sustainable processes, we strengthen people and equipment safety, while enabling effective learnings,” Tran said about the practices and techniques from crews around the world.

To bring handover data out of multiple systems and give on-site teams a consistent, reliable toolset, the ExxonMobil Upstream IT team looked to Azure Data Explorer and its high frequency data connector to capture facility equipment status at the time of handovers. Their Digital Shift Handover (DSH) solution brought external data together with Dataverse data in Power Apps for both DSH users and administrators. Power Automate flows generated handover-related PDFs and log attachments for historical records.

With DSH, users manage checklists and answer questions in a consistent way. It was also built to be flexible and secure by allowing different types of teams to use the app with the questions they need to see. Administrators can set up the right questions through a configuration table and avoid case-specific coding.

“ExxonMobil Upstream IT very consciously went with a user-centered design approach and worked directly with teams in Operations to help design and think through how this would all work out,” says Sacha Abinader. “And then, based off those designs, our teams looked at how to implement the application from a technical perspective, focusing on leveraging reusable components and limited customizations while staying true to the design. Our guiding principles were to have the users’ needs in mind while balancing scalability and limiting support and maintenance needs.”

DSH has provided tangible Return of Investments for the company that totals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced downtime, productivity gains, and safety incident prevention. The application has helped crews navigate over ten thousand handovers among hundreds of operators and counting.

Re-usability at scale

One of the challenges that Tran and his team wanted to address with their Power Platform development efforts was to create evergreen digital products, or to give product as long a life as possible with the right business conditions. The company tend to run applications a long time if they can, Tran says.

“While the Power Platform is being continuously updated, improved, and enhanced, we focus on protecting and capturing additional value through deploying to more users and enhancing product features with new offerings from the technology over time as long as the benefit to technology cost stays attractive.”

Another Power Platform-based solution at the company, the Enterprise Annual Maintenance Plan, or AMP, was the team’s first real success with scaling a Power App. AMP provides a central workspace and common repository for teams to do risk-based work selection with a zero-based budget development approach. The new app aimed to improve an existing process that required managers, business team leads, and planners to work for hours with enormously complex Excel files that pulled in equipment maintenance data from dozens of company sites. With AMP, that equipment maintenance data flows through an Azure Data Factory Pipeline and is then accessed via Dataverse to serve AMP users and admins. Management can monitor activity via business intelligence dashboards, while automated reviews and calculation processes run as Power Automate flows. The application is being deployed and used across ExxonMobil manufacturing sites around the world.

As it was developed, AMP aimed to use longer and more resource-intensive flows than what Microsoft had previously allowed for, says Tran.

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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