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Lessons Learned from Cubetree; an Enterprise Social Software Company

Posted by on January 22, 2010

I had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of Cubetree last night and one of the things we talked about were some of the lessons Cubetree has learned over the past 2 years of being in business.  I first became acquainted with Cubetree at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco where they won a best-in-show award.  For those of you not familiar with Cubetree, they offer an enterprise social software platform that large organizations can use internally to collaborate and improve how they do business.  Carlin shared what he considered to be the three most important things that he learned over the past two years with enterprise social business.

  1. Tools still depend on a champion to drive usage, someone that is passionate and knowledgeable who can help move things forward.  It’s not obvious to everyone at an enterprise company why they would want to post status updates, share that what they are working on, or collaborate with other employees.  Broadcast communications are still crossing the chasm and the best way to deploy them along with enterprise software solutions is to have a champion on board that you encourage.
  2. If there is a business problem being solved (or business driver) that is focused on transparency and communication then this really helps out the company champion.  This focus on transparency and communication gives the deployment a push forward.
  3. ROI takes a while for a company to figure out.  Giving freemium versions (which Cubetree does) has been effective because it lets the champion take the platform to the front door.  This is interesting because not all of the other software vendors out there offer a freemium version of their platforms.

If you recall, a little while ago I posted that companies interested in enterprise 2.0 need to take strategy seriously; Carlin echoed that sentiment and cautioned that companies really need to have a strategy in place to get this done.  You shouldn’t do anything just because it is the new cool thing to do.  However, eventually in order to stay competitive this shift is going to happen, especially as companies begin to notice that their competitors are able to recruit better talent, complete projects quicker, market more effectively, and overall operate more efficiently.

Carlin mentioned something interesting in terms of goal setting for the enterprise.  The lager the goal the longer it takes to achieve that goal.  Therefore it might be better for companies to focus on several smaller goals instead of on one massive goal that can take several years to achieve.  As Carlin mentioned there is still this giant revolution that is taking place in people’s personal lives that is beginning to transition into their professional lives the shift towards enterprise 2.0 is at the forefront of this. 

Finally, we spoke on the future of Enterprise 2.0 which Carlin believes is going to be a dial tone for employees and companies in the coming years.  When asked on the future of mobile in the enterprise Carlin (and I agree) said that the killer use case hasn’t really been established yet.  Overall we had a great chat on some very interesting topics and I’m hoping you will find the above information informative.  Let me know what you think.

  • One of the other things that is important from an adoption perspective is the value of the tool to individuals/groups – An obsessive focus on business drivers and ROI may stifle adoption – If the tool really makes a difference to someone's life, change becomes easier.

  • One of the other things that is important from an adoption perspective is the value of the tool to individuals/groups – An obsessive focus on business drivers and ROI may stifle adoption – If the tool really makes a difference to someone's life, change becomes easier.