Traditionally, the 'R' in CRM has meant managing the relationship between the company that owns the CRM software and their customer, not necessarily managing the relationships those customers (contacts/leads/accounts) may have with one another. This is the thought behind the idea of XRM or CRM 2.0 - whatever trendy name they're giving it these days - the idea that your customers (contacts/leads/accounts) should have some interplay between each other and also should have some control over how those relationships are described. This way, in addition to the relationships you assign to your customers, they can self-identify relationships as well.

When you get accustomed to Web 2.0 communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, you start to see these relationships, but there's no parallel in traditional CRM applications. Essentially, if CRM is to evolve as a platform that keeps pace with how people use the web, then it will need to become the back end for a community that is hosted by the company that owns the CRM software. This way you'd become aware of new relationships that exist that you previously weren't aware of. The meta-layers of relational information would give you real insight into your relationships.
 
Can somebody start building a LinkedIn integration for MS CRM? ;-)
 
I'm not totally sold on how this can play out in the business world, but the reality is that the nature of the 'R' in CRM is changing rapidly, and an enterprise that wants to have authentic relationships with its customers is going to need to engage them where they live, or risk being abandoned.
 
For more on this topic, check out: http://crm20.pbwiki.com/