One of the biggest indicators of project success is the bottomline. On large infrastructure construction projects, enterprise planning and cost controls software allows project controllers to gain insight into expenses and performance, allowing teams to improve overall project cost management.

One example comes from Noble Energy Inc., www.nobleenergyinc.com, Houston, Texas, an independent energy company that is engaged in oil and gas exploration and production. The company underwent a project-management assessment to determine the best method by which to control costs.

Following the analysis, Noble Energy began working with EcoSys, www.ecosys.net, Rye Brook, N.Y., a provider of software, to implement Web-based project cost-management technology.

The software, EPC (Enterprise Planning & Controls), allows Noble Energy to manage budgets, commitments, changes, forecasts, variances, earned value, and time-phasing of costs throughout the life of a project. The technology also integrates with Noble Energy’s E-Business Suite from Oracle, www.oracle.com, Redwood Shores, Calif., which allows Noble to obtain actual cost expenditure data for reporting.

Noble Energy is currently using the system to manage project costs for the development of two offshore natural gas fields. EPC, in combination with E-Business Suite, allows Noble Energy to automate reporting to improve cost analysis. With the technology in place, labor can shift from compiling repots to high-value activities such as analysis and forecasting.

Javier Sloninsky, CEO, EcoSys, says it has implemented standards into its product, allowing for accuracy of reporting and ease of use. The company has served the oil and gas industry for more than a decade, providing best practices for project cost management, portfolio management, capital planning, budgeting and forecasting, funds management, resource management, estimating, and earned-value management.

While this is just one example, cost management and earned-value management can be big areas for technology use in the future. By identifying and managing costs more effectively through the lifecycle of a project, teams can ultimately improve the bottomline.