WBI Energy

Utilizes the Smartsheet integration for real-time access to data in the field on mobile devices

“It’s so quick and so efficient on our side that we couldn’t imagine [GoFormz and Smartsheet] being separated at any point. It’s a perfect match!”
– Alex Palmer, Senior Project Planner, WBI Energy


WBI Energy needed a digital solution to resolve problems arising from their paper-based system, such as notable delays and on-site error detection issues. The solution needed to centralize information flow, maintain consistency among inspection teams located in different places, include GPS tracking functionality, allow for real-time access to data, and support offline data capture.


By integrating GoFormz with Smartsheet, WBI Energy streamlined their communication and data collection, providing their remote field inspection teams with mobile access to real-time data and offline data capture capabilities.


  • Leverages the GoFormz-Smartsheet integration to streamline data collection and gain access to real-time information
  • Eliminated paper usage on site by introducing a fully digital process on mobile devices
  • Minimizes the potential for errors and delays through GPS-tracking of specific assets
  • Streamlines their data collection and collaboration through Automated Workflows

Digital Form Type

Chief Report

Pipe Tally Form

Stringing Form

Excavation Form

Bending Form

Visual Weld Form

Coating Form

Bore Inspection Form

Pressure Test Report

As-Built Form

Lowering & Backfill Form

Seeding Form

Clean Up Report

Tie-In Report

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About WBI Energy

WBI Energy, located in Glendive, Montana, is a natural gas transmission company that operates in several states including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Minnesota. They facilitate natural gas transportation for customers from processing plants and other pipelines to their intended destination, whether a community or a power plant. The transmission pipelines for natural gas play a crucial role in connecting producers and consumers, enabling the delivery of North America's abundant natural gas reserves to power homes and businesses.

The Post-Project Paperwork Pileup

On the engineering side of operations, WBI Energy has three main business segments including: measurement engineering, compressor engineering, and pipeline engineering. Due to the accumulation of large stacks of paperwork at the end of each project, the pipeline engineering division realized they needed a better process for capturing data. “Pipeline engineering is where we build miles and miles of assets where you're trying to spread crews out over a long distance and capture consistent information,” Alex Palmer, Senior Project Planner for WBI Energy explained. “When this was being done in a paper-based way, we would have a large pile of paperwork at the end of the project.” As a result of this process, there were numerous opportunities for errors, delays, and lack of organization when interacting with regulated programs.

“We are heavily regulated under DOT, PHMSA, and FERC anytime we are building a pipeline project,” Palmer continued to explain, “so we have to keep documentation of the product that is being installed in the field.” Palmer elaborated on the significance of having forms easily accessible in real-time throughout a project, as they usually receive on-site visits from DOT and PHMSA during a construction project. “Without the documentation readily available, we would find ourselves in a scramble to collect all of the field inspectors’ forms and ensure that the information on them is adequate to meet inspection requirements.” This undoubtedly led to significant headaches and created a more stressful situation than it needed to be.

To add to the confusion, WBI Energy consistently hires third-party inspection contractors to capture field information for them however, they don’t always hire the same company. “In the past, the process for field data collection varied depending on which inspection company we partnered with. We lacked an internal standard for how this information should be captured and presented to us,” Palmer noted. “This is where we realized we needed to digitally transform from paper-based copies to digital data.” With the realization at hand, WBI Energy recognized they had an opportunity to establish their own standard for receiving information from day one of a construction project until its completion date.

Their Criteria

Over the years, WBI Energy has heavily relied on Smartsheet, their project management application tool, and it’s proven to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. Naturally, they decided to dive deeper into the application to pursue other aspects of the software. “We started trying to utilize the forms they offered and it was extremely basic and there was no offline capability.” Thus, the WBI team decided to look for other options that would meet their set criteria.

“We needed a way for the forms to resemble a printable version of the current forms that we were already used to filling out,” Palmer said. “We also needed to have offline connectivity and synchronization!” The company's ability to access forms, submit information, and sync it up once they were in service was crucial for their teams working in remote locations. This initial set of criteria played a significant role in their decision not to move forward with Smartsheet’s forms feature. Instead, they required a solution that would integrate with Smartsheet. “We wanted to have an integration with our project management application and that was one of the things that we found GoFormz could do,” noted Palmer. “That was just another reason for us to go digital with GoFormz,” he continued, “I don’t think we ever found anything else that matched our requirements.”

“It’s so quick and so efficient on our side that we couldn’t imagine [GoFormz and Smartsheet] being separated at any point. It’s a perfect match!”

– Alex Palmer, Senior Project Planner, WBI Energy

GoFormz, Smartsheet, and Accurate Field Data

“We knew going into this we wanted to start with some of our more basic forms,” Palmer expressed. “So we started with a stringing form and we wanted to prove to management that we could not only get the forms in a familiar view that resembled our printable forms, but also prove that we could get this information into a tabular version that we could look at in real-time rather than looking at a form by form basis.” After consulting with the GoFormz Professional Services team, WBI had their GoFormz-Smartsheet integration set up, providing them with access to real-time information on their mobile devices. “It’s so quick and so efficient on our side that we couldn’t imagine the two being separated at any point. It’s a perfect match!”

Through the use of automation and a powerful Smartsheet integration, the WBI team can quickly, and efficiently, capture and store their field inspection data in real-time. “Once a form is completed, it uploads an attachment with the integration of Smartsheet, it then dumps all the tabular data into a new row within the columns we have set up, along with pictures and the actual PDF version of the report itself.” Palmer continued, “so for each one of these rows being entered we’ve got to root back to its origination and that also includes a link back to the original form.” This streamlined data collection process has substantially improved their reviewing process. “So when we’re doing data reviews and we need to quickly get to that URL of the original form, it's very accessible for not only internal WBI folks who are dealing with this information but even our inspection teams.”

After getting a couple of basic forms built and moving into some more complex forms, like As-Built forms, the WBI team navigated into the GPS functionality of GoFormz. “We jumped right into geotagging and looking into the accuracy of using the tablets to get the GPS locked into all of our stuff.” Palmer continued to add, “Once we were able to prove the use case [to leadership] that we needed to use this application, it was as easy as, ‘what more can we add to build out our wish list of items?’” GPS plays a major role in the WBI Energy data collection process. In order to quickly locate a particular asset within a potentially lengthy 17-mile stretch, they need to determine the precise location of pipes. This functionality also allows them to identify potential errors and rectify them in real-time. “If there was some issue with the mill, we would have to regather some of that pipe and the geolocating helps us out a lot.”

When asked how the onboarding process went with introducing GoFormz to their inspection teams, Palmer noted, “they had already had a bit of exposure to [GoFormz], but a lot of the comments we received were that our setup was far more advanced than anything they had ever seen.” Since the use of GoFormz digital forms is standard practice at WBI Energy, field inspectors are involved in every part of the process – even ensuring their own user experience with the forms is optimal. “Usually, field inspectors would capture some information, it would go into some black hole, and then they weren’t really sure how it all pulled together in the end,” Palmer explained. “We have given our inspection folks access to see what they are submitting and even our chief inspectors can see what the sub-inspectors are working on.” He continued, “it’s made our chief inspector's job more efficient because he can quickly check the accuracy of his inspectors, make sure they’re doing their job, and ensure the information they’re submitting in the field is checking out.” Palmer concluded, “we wanted to make sure that our users have a good experience as well.”

Additionally, Palmer noted that the updates made to GoFormz over the years have significantly improved the efficiency of their current processes. “A lot of updates have rolled out over the years since we’ve been using GoFormz that have helped our process, such as versioning!” Template Versioning allows users to publish updates to their existing form Templates. A new version becomes available whenever a Template is published for creating future forms. This functionality is especially useful as it allows users to optimize their Templates as needed, without risking the loss of data saved within forms generated from earlier versions of the Template.

Post-Project Reviews Turned To Real-Time Reviews

Quantifying ROI can be challenging at times, but in some cases, it’s just a known fact that ROI exists. “Unfortunately, we haven’t done a full analysis on how much time we’ve saved at the end of the day, but anyone in the energy industry, especially the pipeline industry, should know how much of a major perk this is.” Palmer continued to explain the significance of real-time data collection through the GoFormz platform. “There have been instances with paper-based forms where we had to sift through information, find a mistake, place that project in service, find the issue, locate where it was buried, dig it up, and then x-ray the ditch to verify everything checks out.” A long enduring process that not only wasted time but also introduced additional work to a project. “Now we’re finding those problems before that pipe even goes into the ditch today. That's a huge win!”

Palmer also mentioned that over the years, as they collaborated extensively with the GoFormz Professional Services team, they felt that they were getting their money's worth. “It doesn't break the bank when we are wanting to put all this data together. Even the consultation hours were extremely reasonable just to get this thing up and running.” He continued, “just from the price that we were able to spend to get this up and running per year per user, for lack of a better word, it’s cheap!”

“We had to sift through information, find a mistake, place that project in service, find the issue, locate where it was buried, dig it up, and then x-ray the ditch to verify everything checks out…now we’re finding those problems before that pipe even goes into the ditch!”

– Alex Palmer, Senior Project Planner, WBI Energy

What’s Next for WBI Energy

With over 4,000 forms completed to date, WBI Energy is looking to expand GoFormz into their other engineering departments as well. “Pipeline has benefitted from this platform to where the need for inspection and real-time tracking is only growing even more that our compressor and measurement departments are interested in it as well.”

Lastly, WBI Energy will continue to refine their data collection processes to optimize their operations further. “We just came off of a post-project review where we discovered we need to tweak our existing forms and we might set up another template, but that's enough to get us through this next construction season.” While expressing his confidence that their current process in GoFormz would enable them to meet the demands of another construction season, Palmer also conveyed his satisfaction with the platform. “We’re extremely happy with GoFormz.”