Test Your E-business Intelligence Quotient

This test will help you assess your organization’s e-business intelligence quotient – to help you determine the best course of action for increasing your organization’s ability to turn data into knowledge and profit. For each statement, select the answer that most closely matches the use of information in your organization. Focus on the present situation, not future goals.

1.In my organization, the following types of people have access to corporate data (sales, customer information, financial metrics, human resources, manufacturing, etc.):

a. IT/IS staff (programmers, developers, etc.)

b. Power users and the people they support

c. All people in the organization

d. Do not know/does not apply

2.People in my organization feel that:

a. They are empowered to make decisions, but they are not given enough critical corporate information to make them

b. They can get basic corporate information in order to make the decision they need to make

c. Have all the corporate information they need to make decisions

d. Do not know/does not apply

3.In our organization, information is:

a. Rarely, if ever, disseminated

b. Shared only when necessary

c. Widely communicated and shared throughout our company

d. Do not know/does not apply

4.Users in our company use corporate data (sales, customer, inventory, manufacturing, finance, etc.):

a. For limited purposes only

b. To review performance in the rearview mirror

c. To forecast the future and drive corporate strategy

d. Do not know/does not apply

5.We share our information systems:

a. Only internally

b. Outside our organization, with our customers or partners

c. Outside our organization, with our customers and partners

d. Do not know/does not apply

6.We use corporate data to:

a. Report on the business

b. Manage by exception

c. Transform operational business processes

d. Do not know/does not apply

7.My view of customers’ activities is:

a. I can see a small part of customers’ activities with my company over time

b. I can see a majority of customers’ activities, but not all

c. 360 degrees – I can see all customers’ activities with our company, including their interactions with subsidiaries and strategic business units

d. Do not know/does not apply

8.In my estimation, people in my organization can access the following percentage of the data they need:

a. 0-33 per cent

b. 34-66 per cent

c. 67-100 per cent

d. Do not know/does not apply

9.The quality of the data that I can access in our information systems is:

a. Poor

b. Adequate

c. Excellent

d. Do not know/does not apply

10.We make use of key performance indicators (e.g., sales, inventory, finance, manufacturing, etc.) to manage our business:

a. Not at all

b. A little

c. Extensively

d. Do not know/does not apply

11.The indicators we track are:

a. Financial only

b. Financial and customer only

c. Financial, customer, business process, and organizational learning

d. Do not know/does not apply

12.Our information systems:

a. Present only the information captured internally

b. Present internal information enriched with market data that has been purchased and integrated

c. Present enriched internal information for partners and suppliers

d. Do not know/does not apply

13.Our Web clickstream data:

a. Is used only by IT staff for server planning purposes

b. Is presented to business users, but only in canned, stand-alone reports

c. Is integrated with customer profile, preference, and historical data

d. Do not know/does not apply

14.Will you have an extranet for self-service customer care (i.e., customers have direct access to account information, orders, etc.)?

a. Not planning to have one

b. Planning to have one

c. Already have one

d. Do not know/does not apply

15.Will you have an extranet for supply chain management?

a. Not planning to have one

b. Planning to have one

c. Already have one

d. Do not know/does not apply

16.We sell or barter the information we have with others in our market (partners, suppliers, etc.):

a. Never

b. Maybe sometime in the future

c. Already do

d. Do not know/does not apply

17.Our information privacy policy is:

a. Nonexistent

b. Written, but not well implemented

c. Written and well implemented

d. Do not know/does not apply

18.Our view on net markets (on-line trading exchanges) is:

a. Wait and see

b. We are buying from one

c. We are setting one up

d. Do not know/does not apply

19.The data in our information systems that I can access is:

a. Stale: old and out-of-date by the time I get it

b. Reasonable: not up-to-the-minute but recent enough for what I need

c. Fresh: up-to-the-minute

d. Do not know/does not apply

20.I learn about exceptions in the metrics I track:

a. One month or more later

b. One week later

c. One day later

d. Do not know/does not apply

21.I am automatically notified when exceptions occur in the metrics:

a. No. No such system has been implemented

b. On a regular frequency (weekly, monthly, etc.)

c. Immediately: the event triggers a message to me

d. Do not know/does not apply

22.I can see information:

a. Via static reports only (paper or on-line)

b. By selecting parameters in static reports (for example, in pull-down menus)

c. With ad hoc, self-service access to data that I can query, build reports, and analyse myself

d. Do not know/does not apply

23.I can get access to corporate information:

a. Only in the office

b. From the office, over the Internet, from my computer, and from anywhere in the world

c. From the office, over the Internet, from my computer, from anywhere in the world, and from my mobile phone Internet browser

d. Do not know/does not apply


To score your test, each “A” answer is worth 1 point, each “B” answer is worth 2 points, each “C” answer is worth 3 points, and each “D” answer is worth zero points. Total up your score, and consult the following to see where you rank.


Congratulations. Your organization is among the leaders in e-business intelligence. You are doing the right things to turn your corporate information into knowledge and profit, and you’ve extended your information enterprise to customers, suppliers, and partners. Keep it up!


Your organization is making a successful transition to e-business intelligence. Additional work to make all data accessible to all users at any time will help ensure success; in particular, you should make a plan to extend information to your customers, suppliers, and partners.


While you have done some of the right things to make sure you are leveraging corporate data within individual departments, these “islands” of information will not work as a long-term e-business intelligence strategy. To truly leverage your information for competitive advantage, you need to work on extending all information to every knowledge worker across the enterprise.


You are doing some of the basics by providing key information to senior management, but without change, your organization will not be able to fully leverage your information assets and increase competitive advantage. Your next step should be to help each department in the company leverage their specific information assets and then extend that information company-wide. Redoubling your efforts to achieve e-business intelligence may prevent failure.

37 and below:

Your organization is NOT leveraging your information assets, and this could make you vulnerable in the marketplace. Consider immediate “triage” to create an e-business intelligence strategy.

Bernard Liautaud is president and CEO of Business Objects, a leading provider of e-business intelligence software solutions. His book “E-Business Intelligence – Turning Information into Knowledge into Profit” was recently published by McGraw-Hill.