The customer management of relationships is a combination of processes, people, and technology. Notice that technology is the last of these. Despite the fact that 74 percent of U.S. businesses spent more on CRM technology in 2001 than they did in 2000 (as much as 50 percent more), fewer than half of IT managers surveyed by Unisys Corporation report a positive return on their IT spending. The survey of IT executives at 200 businesses reports 44 percent show a positive return on IT investments, 42 percent report a level return, and 14 percent a negative return.
Don Neal, senior vice president of marketing at Rapp Collins Worldwide, may say it best: “Whereas companies have much to gain from CRM, the pitfalls of spending before planning are real and perilous. Those that apply a great deal of rigor in analyzing their CRM goals and objectives will be the most successful.”
Certainly identifying, extracting, and transforming customer data into usable information to achieve critical business objectives requires technology. But the business objectives must be defined before the search for the technological solution starts.
 “IT Success Depends on Quality of Spending, Not Quantity,” informationweek.com, December 24–31, 2001, p. 62.
Philip B. Clark, “Rapp Collins Exec Defends CRM Spending,” BtoB, September 17, 2001, p. 14.