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Customer relationship management (CRM) has a long and chequered history, and continues to create controversy today.

CRM technology was touted as an enabler for new paradigm for marketing in the mid-1990s, but the hype died down when first-generation solutions failed to match up to vendors' promises.

Several reasons have been proposed for this fall from grace. One of the most prominent is that 'one-size-fits-all' solutions could not possibly be utilised by every type of business, each with differing structures, vision and client-base. Those companies taking the plunge often found lack of employee commitment and buy-in an obstacle, and that outward-facing CRM solutions conflicted with inward-facing IT systems: their functionality didn't facilitate meeting the objectives required. Consequently, reports of failed implementations were numerous and widespread.