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Much More Valuable Data

E-business relies not only on making business information accessible outside the traditional company, it also depends on making the best, most up-to-date information available to users when they need it. For example, companies can streamline their operations and reduce overhead by allowing suppliers to have direct access to consolidated order information. This allows companies to reduce inventory by obtaining exactly what they need from suppliers when they need it. Companies can also take advantage of new pricing technology, such as online competitive bidding by means of exchanges, to obtain the best price from suppliers, or offer the best price to consumers.

Streamlining information flow through the business system allows users to obtain better information from the system. In the past, data from external partners, suppliers, or customers was often entered into the system through inefficient mechanisms that were prone to error and delay. For example, many companies accepted the bulk of their orders by phone, letter, or fax, and this information was typed in by clerks or sales people. Even when electronic data interchange mechanisms existed, they were typically proprietary and difficult to integrate with companies’ internal data infrastructure. Now, businesses that allow other businesses and consumers to submit and receive business information directly through the Internet can expect to get more timely, accurate, and valuable information, at less expense than if traditional data channels were used.

Formerly, when information was entered into a business system, it was often compartmentalized. Information maintained by each internal department, such as sales, manufacturing, distribution, and finance, was kept separate, and was often processed by physically separate and incompatible databases and applications–so-called “islands of information”. This prevented businesses from taking full advantage of the information they already had, since it was difficult for different departments to exchange information when it was needed, or for executives to determine the latest and most accurate status of the business. Companies have found that linking islands of information and consolidating them where possible, allows users to obtain better information, and to get more benefit from that information. This makes the information more valuable.

Improving the value of data available to legitimate users generally improves its value to intruders as well. This increases the potential rewards to be gained from unauthorized access to that data