While it may be touted as the hottest market in town, the customer relationship management (CRM) arena continues to send customers and channel partners into uncharted waters.
Make no mistake, organisations, with the help of channel partners, which can get their collective head around the myriad of methodologies that encapsulate CRM, have been able to win more customers in new markets than they could ever have hoped for.
However, according to a number of speakers at this week's Informat conference held by ARN's sister publication CIO, channel customers and their clients are still very much in the dark when it comes to solidifying their partner relationships.
According to Kurt Johnson, PeopleSoft's product strategy manager, the majority of customers are "less loyal than ever before". He claimed that while some customers have become profitable by developing a CRM ethos, the vast majority are struggling to devise methods to increase the profitability of their trading partners.
Johnson's view, that customers are still largely ignorant of the re-engineering toll that CRM takes, was echoed by Dean Kelly, NCR's marketing manager, customer relationship management.
Kelly declared that while everyone is talking about implementing a CRM solution, very few organisations have done it right.
"Many customers don't know what their business will look like if they go down the CRM path," he claimed.
"Any solution that is put forward must solve a business problem otherwise it will not get management buy-in and will ultimately fail.
"But importantly, don't think technology can solve all your customers' problems. There are no off-the-shelf CRM solutions so you have to get your customers to understand that technology should be used only to facilitate business issues."