Silkeborg Kommune LogoLast week Silkeborg Kommune, the 11th largest municipality in Denmark,  had a very bad intranet day. Somebody in IT accidentally deleted their entire intranet and later discovered that they had no working backup.

Now, without an intranet, a press release was quickly issued (in Danish) on the municipality website. In the press release, the responsible manager is quoted saying that the incident will have absolutely no impact on either citizens or on any externally facing work.

When I first heard about this incident, I felt very sorry for the local intranet manager and the many intranet editors, with all their many hours of work completely lost. When I later heard about the quote in the press release, I was quite surprised. If it really has no impact that the intranet has gone missing, why do they have one?

If I were mayor in Silkeborg, I would not bother creating a new intranet; nor would I spend any money on it, at least not until some thought had been put into why the organisation needs an intranet. Also, I would suggest some criteria be defined for making the new intranet successful.

Is this just yet another case of a senior manager that does not get the intranet, or do we have a bigger issue here? Most intranets are very valuable, but if a senior manager really thinks that deleting the intranet has absolutely no impact, then there is a real problem! It could also be that the responsible manager took a political decision to try and talk things down.

If you’d like to learn from other organisations where the intranet is truly business critical, I’d encourage you to join our international intranet conference in Copenhagen on March 22 2011.