CRM may not be such a sexy topic of conversation today but once upon a time it was hailed as a form of modern magic and everyone wanted the powers it promised. Like all forms of magic there was plenty of smoke and mirrors.
But the most star struck of all were those from the cigar-chomping big end of town who were falling over themselves to be a member of that exclusive blue chip clique of customer mastery.
You know, the one-size-fits-nobody era in the late 1990s when the National Australia Bank coughed up squillions to be the poster child of that fated customer-centric age of IT wizardry.
Sure we can snigger about it now, but it isn't so amusing if you are a customer still struggling with a partially deployed rollout and spiralling costs.
Our favourite IT manager from Royal Industries says he is paying top dollar for software used by a small portion of the organization.
"We bought the Rolls Royce of CRM, but we only drive it to church on Sundays," he declares.
His company was clobbered with the 'big bang' stick of CRM and it has proven to be a huge, continuous investment when "really we could have got by on a bunch of smart tools for automation". Oh dear.
But never fear, a new spell is brewing called 'hosted CRM'.
This new magic formula isn't so exclusive and is more suited to the masses also known as the SME market.
As the new dawn of 2004 breaks, we find there are still plenty of sorcerers, old and new, preparing to take centre stage.
There are the 'hags' of old such as SAP and PeopleSoft, the upstarts such as Salesforce.com and the new entrants or maiden of the CRM scene, Microsoft.
Let the show begin...