Today's New York Times carries a story about CRM saving the day for companies in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Most of the vignettes illustrate businesses using technology to do what businesses does (searching inventory, communicating with employees, etc.) - which, unfortunately appears to be the way most people are defining CRM. One example:

On the other hand, insurance companies like State Farm and New York Life Insurance, whose customer relationship systems are still being installed, had no easy way to find policy-holders in the area. "We had to wait for them to come to us," a State Farm spokeswoman said.

Um, State Farm and New York Life don't have database of policy holders that can be sorted by zip code and employees that are able to easily to extract this information? This can only be done with CRM software?

Good customer relationships rely more upon business planning and employee training than they do on computer applications.