Business and Organization Structures

Microsoft CRM uses a very simple, but powerful, organizational structure for the construction of arbitrarily complex business hierarchies. Each installation can have multiple organizations. However, every action performed by a user is confined to the user's own organization. Organizations are lightweight entities which provide a common location from which to locate other business units. Business units are not strictly hierarchical in nature; however, they may be parented only by a single business unit.

Note   The Microsoft CRM application does not support multiple organizations.

There are three primary entities within the organizational structure, not including the organization itself. These are users, teams, and business units. Users represent real people who are members of an Active Directory domain; these are the people who use the Microsoft CRM application. Teams are arbitrary groups of users created and defined by a user in an organization. Business units are the structural units of an organization, as defined by a user in the organization; they are the primary container entity within the organizational hierarchy. It's the business unit structure that determines and defines the concepts of Basic, Local, Deep, and Global access, which will be covered in the sections Microsoft CRM Security and Access Levels. The following diagram is an example of a Microsoft CRM business unit structure for an organization.

Organization Model

The organization contains six business units in a simple hierarchy. The business units directly below the organization are unrelated in any apparent structural way except for the fact that they all belong to the same organizational structure.

The two business units labeled Department A1 and Department A2 are child business units of Business A. These two business units have a special relationship with regard to users parented to Business A – they serve up business objects to users within Business A who have "Deep" access. Note that it's not possible to construct matrix organizations within the Microsoft CRM organizational structure.

Within this structure, users can be created from the users who are members of the Active Directory domains. Users within Microsoft CRM must be 'parented' to a business unit and cannot be parented to the organization object itself. In the previous diagram, this means that users can be located at any node except the top-level node labeled Organization.

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