Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM)

What is Enterprise Relationship Management?

Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) is a business methodology that focuses on improving the relationships between a company and its various stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, resellers, and partners. It is an extension of customer relationship management (CRM) that encompasses data from all departments, such as manufacturing and finance, in order to better monitor and analyze customer relationships. ERM is built on the belief that personal interactions are what create the most value in business relationships, and that this value accumulates over time.

ERM is a business strategy or solution that involves analyzing data to better understand internal enterprise relationships, customers, and customer use of produced products or services.

With enterprise relationship management, businesses can access, analyze, and share information about all of their employees, suppliers, and strategic business partners as well as customers. It has all the tools needed to identify and assess the factors that impact these relationships and put the necessary best practices in place to maximize their contribution to the bottom line. ERM is built on the belief that personal interactions - not automated transactions - are what create successful business relationships which add value over time as they grow stronger.

The goal of ERM is long-term customer satisfaction and increased profitability through a better understanding of the relationships between entities in an enterprise. This can be achieved through data mining techniques such as pattern recognition, trend analysis, segmentation, and clustering. ERM solutions often involve software that helps identify potential issues or opportunities within an organization's network of partners and customers. By having this information at hand, companies can make more informed decisions about how best to engage with their partners or target new customers in order to maximize profits while maintaining customer loyalty.

Many businesses also use enterprise relationship management solutions to closely monitor competitive activity. Customers, partners, and even employees can provide a wealth of valuable information about other vendors.

Enterprise relationship management applications make it easier to capture, store and analyze that vital data, and use it to create more successful business plans and strategies.

ERM can take many forms as it addressed the complexities of both internal and external enterprise relationships, which include: customers, business and channel partners, specialized service providers, suppliers, employees, management, and executives. Adopting ERM is described as more of a cultural change than a technological change as more focus is given to the human side of business processes and how they are affected by enterprise relationships.

The central focus and ultimate purpose is customer and customer satisfaction and how these relate to increased revenue and revenue streams. Related software, strategies, and business solutions include CRM (customer relationship management); PRM (partner relationship management (PRM); ERP (enterprise resource planning); HRM (human resource management); and SCM (supply chain management).[1]

Enterprise relationship management software organizes information in a centrally-accessible system and makes it available for a wide range of uses—including service desk, contact management, strategic forecasting, and event planning.

What Does an Enterprise Relationship Management Solution Do?[2]

With an ERM strategy and related technologies in place, a business can:

  • Identify and leverage its greatest relationship assets, such as its reputation, or those employees who have strong individual connections with key clients or external business partners.
  • Gain a greater understanding of its customers, far beyond the typical sales, marketing, and support information contained in a CRM system. With enterprise relationship management, a company can uncover how clients actually use a particular product or service, what their preferred payment and delivery methods are, and more.
  • Uncover vital trends in employee behaviors, and learn more about the factors that positively and negatively influence productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty.
  • Improve the flow of critical information between suppliers, resellers, and other business partners, and enable them to more actively participate in the business process by giving them a complete and timely view of all their interactions with the company.

How do ERM Software Solutions Improve Workflow?

ERM software solutions help businesses improve workflow by enabling them to capture, store, and analyze vital data about their relationships with customers, partners, and even employees.

This allows companies to create more successful business plans and strategies by understanding how their relationships impact their bottom line. ERM solutions also make it easier for businesses to adhere to industry-standard best practices while maximizing operational efficiency and avoiding falling behind competitors.

ERM software solutions can greatly improve workflow by helping companies capture, store, and analyze data about their customers, suppliers, and strategic business partners, as well as other vendors. This data enables companies to identify and leverage their greatest relationship assets, such as an established reputation or employees with strong connections with key clients. ERM also provides a more comprehensive view of customers, including how they actually use a product or service, their preferred payment and delivery methods, and more. Additionally, ERM can uncover trends in employee behaviors and factors that influence productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty. By adhering to industry-standard best practices, companies can improve and modernize their processes, maximizing operational efficiency and avoiding falling behind competitors.

What Data is Necessary for ERM?

Data necessary for ERM includes but is not limited to: customer, product, and service data; financial data; supplier, partner, and channel partner information; competitor intelligence; market research findings; risk assessment data; contact information.

Data necessary for ERM also includes data about internal enterprise relationships, customer and customer use of produced products or services, governance, risk severity and metrics, and operational and capital expenditures. Data analysis is required to identify insights that can be used to improve customer satisfaction and profitability.

Enterprise Relationship Management Vs. Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) are both terms that have been used to describe the practice of managing relationships with customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. While CRM focuses primarily on existing and potential customers, ERM encompasses all important business relationships.

CRM provides information only from the company’s perspective, while ERM considers all stakeholders involved in the relationship. ERM provides a holistic, global view of the relationships and allows companies to access, analyze, and share information about employees, suppliers, strategic partners, and customers. It also allows companies to assess the factors that impact the relationships and optimize their contribution to the bottom line.

CRM focuses on the customer side of the relationship, while ERM also considers supplier, business partner, and employee perspectives. This multi-faceted approach enables companies to identify and leverage their greatest relationship assets, such as reputation and individual relationships with key clients. It also helps them to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, uncover trends in employee behaviors, improve the flow of critical information between stakeholders, and closely monitor competitive activity.

In conclusion, the main difference between ERM and CRM is that ERM provides a more holistic, multi-faceted approach to relationship management, enabling companies to gain a greater understanding of their customers, partners, and employees, and optimize their relationships for maximum success.

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Powers Enterprise Relationship Management[3]

Today’s buyers expect more from their customer experience. Indeed, they care about how you treat them almost as much as product quality and price. But the challenge here is that while your organization might excel at one-on-one service, making every customer feel like the most valuable customer can be tough. It’s a level of service scaling that requires a depth of knowledge not easily parsed from the dark recesses of your customer relationship management (CRM) system or an individual’s memory.

Today’s modern enterprise relationship management (ERM) software solutions provide organizations of all types and size the ability to track, access, evaluate, and share information about not just customers, but also employees, suppliers, and business partners, too.

Technological advances have made ERM software easier to use—and more valuable—than ever before. And newer ERM platforms work as either a standalone tool or add-on software to your CRM or another system.

Leading ERM applications, like Introhive, are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. So, firms that use them not only benefit from deep relationship insights but also get a boost in productivity.

ERM software pools internal and external data to create an accurate picture of the strength and lifetime value of client relationships at an organizational level, answering questions such as:

  • Which employees have the strongest connections with clients and business partners?
  • How do clients use a product or service?
  • What are clients’ preferred payment and delivery methods?
  • Which trends in employee behavior impact productivity, satisfaction, and retention?
  • Which client relationships are the strongest, and which are at risk?

In essence, AI can improve the quality of customer relationship data and provide the intelligence that firms need to develop more successful business plans and strategies.

Business professionals lose as much to 5.5 hours per week on data entry, time that could be spent on higher-value activities. When data automation is baked into modern ERM solutions, this responsibility shifts away from employees. So, not only are you saving time, you’re boosting productivity and morale.

And ERM does a lot more than just automate the data collection process. Indeed, firms can also automate the visualization of key relationship data and the distribution of actionable insights. For instance, tools like Introhive automatically deliver relationship analytics directly to the inboxes of business development and account representatives before client meetings.

This effortless access to key relationship intel makes it much easier for harried, on-the-go sales and business development professionals to provide personalized experiences to prospects and customers.

And, if you’re concerned about sacrificing quality for convenience, you don’t need to be. Data automation actually improves the quality of insights about employees, clients, business partners, and even competitors.

In fact, pulling data from sources you use daily, such as email signatures, meeting invites, and social media profiles is proven to reveal richer, more accurate relationship information.

Enterprise Relationship Management Compliance

The compliance requirements for ERM include

  • Having a well-defined governance model that involves senior management and different organizational elements such as security, risk assessment and management, compliance, IT operations, legal, and any other important business stakeholder areas.
  • Additionally, organizations must have a strategy that incorporates internal policies and standards for all security and risk concerns as well as operational focal areas like system configuration, and a procedure that includes internal and external risk threat and vulnerability management. To ensure that the ERM program is effective and up-to-date, it is important to regularly revisit, revise, and update all elements of the program.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Enterprise Relationship Management


  • Improved business intelligence: Improved business intelligence allows for better insights into the performance and operations of a company. This allows for more effective management of relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. With access to timely and accurate data about their relationships, organizations can make better decisions about how to build stronger relationships with their various stakeholders. This includes understanding customer needs better as well as taking advantage of opportunities that may arise from changes in market conditions or competitor strategy. Improved business intelligence helps with enterprise relationship management by providing faster and more accurate insights into customer data. This allows companies to quickly identify patterns and trends in their customer data and better understand customer needs. This improved visibility and understanding can help businesses better engage with customers and ultimately build stronger relationships. Additionally, cloud-based ERP systems with next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence, improve their capabilities without requiring manual updates, reducing the time and effort needed to manage customer relationships.
  • Improved efficiency and productivity: Enterprise relationship management (ERM) offers a range of benefits that improve efficiency and productivity. It offers faster deployment, automatic software updates, cost-effectiveness and scalability, the ability to work from anywhere on any device, increased collaboration, and access to next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). These benefits result in reduced time spent on managing systems and tasks as well as decreased costs associated with updating legacy systems. Additionally, ERM provides businesses with the opportunity to gain insights from data that was previously inaccessible due to its location or format. This helps organizations make more informed decisions which improve their productivity levels overall. Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) improves efficiency and productivity through its cost-effectiveness, scalability, and utilization of next-generation technology. Through cloud-based systems with faster deployment, automatic software updates, and the ability to work from anywhere on any device, businesses can collaborate more easily and access next-generation technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). This enables ERM to provide higher quality results, faster response times, and improved accuracy, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.
  • Increased visibility of information: Enterprise relationship management (ERM) increases the visibility of information by helping organizations understand their customers better. This includes cross-selling and upselling opportunities as well as understanding customer needs and preferences so that businesses can provide better service. With better visibility, businesses can gain insights into their customers' behaviors, preferences, and spending patterns which helps them develop more profitable relationships with their customers. Additionally, ERM can help improve customer satisfaction by providing an enhanced experience through personalized services or offerings tailored to individual needs or preferences. Enterprise relationship management increases the visibility of information by capturing data useful to management to better understand a company's risk profile and management of risk. By analyzing and communicating this data to employees, they are more likely to be more engaged and committed to protecting company assets. Enterprise relationship management also enables better customer service, as it makes it easier to identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities and keep customers satisfied, which leads to more repeat customers and more profitable relationships.
  • Improved supplier relationship management: Enterprise relationship management (ERM) helps to facilitate the creation of risk policy standards, determination of an organization's risk appetite, and evaluation of all elements of risk. It also requires a coordinated effort from business units and the board. By implementing an ERM program, organizations can better manage their interactions with third-party vendors by understanding their risks and mitigating them accordingly. This leads to improved supplier relationship management as organizations are able to strategically plan for every interaction with suppliers while also monitoring their performance against agreed-upon terms and conditions in their contracts.
  • Improved agility and adaptability: Enterprise relationship management (ERM) provides businesses with the agility and adaptability needed to quickly respond to changing market conditions. ERM solutions offer a range of benefits, such as faster deployment, automatic software updates, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, the ability to work from anywhere on any device, and increased collaboration and access to next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). These features allow businesses to improve their efficiency while maximizing their resources.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction: Enterprise relationship management (ERM) provides businesses with better visibility into their customers, allowing them to better understand their needs and provide personalized service. This helps to create lasting relationships with customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction. With an ERM system in place, businesses can quickly identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, as well as provide fast and personalized support to their customers. This leads to happier customers who are more likely to become repeat buyers and spend more money overall.


  • High initial capital and operational expenditures, as ERM programs may require specialized and expensive software and services.
  • Difficulty in reaching a consensus agreement on risk severity and metrics across all units of an enterprise.
  • Inability to accurately predict and prepare for future risks that may have more detrimental impacts.
  • Relying heavily on management estimates and inputs, which may be impossible to accurately predict.
  • Difficulty in accurately assessing mitigation costs.
  • Time-intensive, requiring resources of the company to be successful.
  • Inability to quantify the success of ERM as financial risks that do not occur must be projected.

See Also


Further Reading