Moving from the growing relevance of the enterprise risk management (ERM) concept, this paper provides empirical evidence of ERM in practice. The paper presents ERM actual uses in a panel of nine Italian companies from different industrial fields and legislative settings and analyses the relationship between these and the characteristics of the ERM tool implemented in each case. The data analysis highlights the existence of different activities that are supported by the ERM tool and also different types of use (i.e. responsive, discursive and prospective) corresponding to a different contribution of ERM to managerial action. These uses related to the specific characteristics of the tools generally indicated with the label ‘ERM’.