We know it, you know it, everyone knows it—social networking is changing the way we connect with friends, family, and almost everyone else in between.

Here to help cut out the “almost” part is CubeTree, a new-ish collaboration suite designed specifically to bridge the gap between the social Web and the enterprise by offering users the best of both worlds. 

A Social Foundation for the Workplace

Because CubeTree is built on a social networking platform, it offers the features that make services like Facebook and Twitter so popular (user profiles, follow/follower news feeds, status updates, micro-blogging, etc.); however, that’s not all there is to this package. In addition to popular social functionalities, CubeTree also offers enterprise collaboration tools including wikis, file sharing and polls.

Users familiar with social networking will find themselves in familiar territory when using CubeTree, as the tool focuses heavily on the Feed and the Profile. But on CubeTree’s feed, instead of seeing updates from everyone in their social network, users will see updates from coworkers. And on their profile page, rather than highlighting pictures or videos, there is an emphasis on information and documents.

Claiming that although companies recognize the link between collaboration technology and employee productivity, Carlin Wiegner, chief executive officer and co-founder of CubeTree, believes that what's keeping employees from connecting effectively is the current condition of most companies' intranets.

"To reap the full benefits from any collaboration technology, everyone in an organization must have access,” said Wiegner. “We believe the social networking technology that originated in the consumer space can revolutionize enterprise collaboration. CubeTree is the first product in our space that offers everyone in an organization access to all features including wikis, user profiles and micro-blogging for free.”

Branches of CubeTree

With the service, users can expect the following highlights:

  • Connect easily: By leveraging features with which most people already accustomed – like user profiles and activity feeds – CubeTree makes it easier for employees to understand and fully utilize the system.
  • Collaboration tools: Tools built on top of the social networking platform include micro-blogging, wikis, blogs, polls, goals management, travel-itinerary sharing, file sharing, link sharing, search, and more.
  • Feed architecture: This feature allows users to broadcast their activities from within CubeTree, as well as from other collaboration tools. CubeTree integrates with consumer and enterprise products including Twitter, Google Docs, Google Reader,, WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and Basecamp.
  • Privace and Security: CubeTree’s security system ensures a company’s proprietary files, images, updates and internal communications remain confidential. Only employees with the same email domain can access their company’s CubeTree network, and every page request is securely served via HTTPS. The standard version includes basic security features including SSL and community user disable; for companies requiring greater policy controls, CubeTree offers premium versions that provide additional security features including access restrictions based on IP addresses or browser, password policies and the ability to turn features on and off for all users.

“At work, email and IM are still the dominant online communications media,” said Mitch Kapor, an investor in CubeTree and founder of Lotus Development, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation. “I believe that is destined to change with products like CubeTree, which help companies create enterprise social networks. I invested in CubeTree because I believe that social networking technology will be at the heart of the next generation of enterprise collaboration.”

Familiar in More Ways than One

If the idea behind CubeTree sounds familiar, that’s because companies like Telligent (Community Server) and IBM (Lotus Connections) have already brought social capabilities to the enterprise market. Not to mention the other, prominently social services like Yammer and Socialtext, neither of which have all the functionalities that CubeTree offers, but are still leading the enterprise in a similar direction.

Whether or not CubeTree will top what’s out there already and become the next big thing for the enterprise remains to be seen, but thankfully, testing it out won’t burn a hole in anyone’s pocket.

The premium bells and whistles (custom branding, custom security policy, user synchronization, etc.) cost a handful of dollars per month, but you can try out the basic version of the solution for free here