Out of 305 companies surveyed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, only two-thirds have a prepared strategy - in the US almost all companies surveyed had a plan.
In contrast, the report shows that the number of companies that believe IT is crucial to success has doubled over the last two years.
However, report author William Farrell claimed that the UK was better prepared for e-business than the rest of Europe, partly because most applications come from the US and are more suitable for English speaking populations.
He added that Europe was not under-spending on IT and that some European companies were spending more than those in the US.
He said the report also shows that industries which had said they were not interested in IT two years ago, were among those now showing the greatest increase in investment. "There's been a big change in competition and to keep up you've got to invest and IT is a critical thing. The industries that have spent most are finance, telecoms and insurance."
The research found that levels of preparation for e-business varied greatly depending on economic sector. All travel and logistics companies said they had an e-business strategy while only 47% of manufacturing, construction and engineering companies have such a plan.
The report shows the history of computer systems is having a barring on who controls e-business spending. Years ago it was the chief information officers and IT directors who controlled the budget. When distributed computing arrived this control was pushed out to business units. Now with e-business, the majority of IT spending decisions are either controlled or jointly controlled by business managers.