Customer relationship management (CRM) has definitely been at the forefront of information technology (IT) managers' minds in recent months. After the Y2K efforts of 1999 and the subsequent recovery period in 2000, IT managers are now finding they can concentrate more of their efforts on developing and maintaining customer relationships.

Given the nature of the business world today, and the recent shifts in customer expectations regarding customer service and satisfaction, many organizations have their work cut out for them. With strides being made in communications, analytic tools, integration services and e-commerce applications, the face of CRM is definitely changing. It is no longer simply a matter of finding out what your customers purchase and when. CRM has evolved into a complete and complex cycle of activities, from targeting, customer selection and acquisition to product development, sales, support and ongoing relationship support.

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