Customer relationship management (CRM) is now a top technology priority for CIOs, moving to No. 8, up from No. 18 in 2011, according to a global survey by Gartner Inc.'s Executive Programs. And in a separate Gartner survey, CEOs cited CRM as the most important investment area to improve business over the next five years.

“Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience regardless of the economic environment, and they see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and operational efficiency in 2012,” said Jim Davies, research director at Gartner, in a press release. “They also understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends.”

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