Consumer identity and access management (CIAM) is a sub-genre of traditional identity and access management (IAM). Traditional IAM systems are designed to provision, authenticate, authorize, and store information about employee users. User accounts are defined; users are assigned to groups; users receive role or attribute information from an authoritative source. They are generally deployed in an inward-facing way to serve a single enterprise.
However, many enterprises have found it necessary to also store information about business partners, suppliers, and customers in their own enterprise IAM systems.
CIAM goes beyond traditional IAM in commonly supporting some baseline features for analyzing customer behavior, as well as integration into CRM and marketing automation systems. Nevertheless, CIAM differs from CRM in that, with CRM systems, sales and marketing professionals counted upon to enter the data about the contacts, prospects, and track the sales cycle. The focus of CRM is managing all processes around the customer relationship, while CIAM focuses on the connectivity with the customer when accessing any type of systems, on premises and in the Cloud, from registration to tracking. With CIAM, to some extent similar kinds of information as in CRM systems can be collected, but the consumers themselves provide and maintain this information.