Tip #917: Too many business units

Someone recently asked me what I thought of someone adding 1,000 + business units to Dynamics 365. I told them it was a bad idea. Here’s why:

Business units are like large granite rocks–they are designed to be permanent and infrequently moved. While users can be moved between business units, it is not a trivial matter, especially if they own many records.

When you move a user from BU 1 to BU 2, the business unit association of every record that user owns changes. This can cause some surprises to other users who are members of the user’s original business unit if they have BU level read permission. The records owned by the moved user are now not available to them, but if they own child records of those records, like activities, it can cause some strange scenarios. Also, if the user owns many records, moving users between business units can be time-consuming.

Org charts - Comic by Manu Cornet - Look for the updated Apple chart :DAnother potential impact from large quantities of business units is security role updates. Each role is not just one record–a copy of each role is added to each business unit. So if you create thousands of business units, making a small change to a security role can take hours.

My recommendation is to keep your business units to a minimum–only the minimal number to facilitate true BU security requirements. For more granular user segmentation, consider the use of teams. Teams are much more flexible, they can be used to control security access to records, and users can be members of multiple teams.

9 thoughts on “Tip #917: Too many business units

  1. MrE says:


    That’s an interesting point but again this means that CRM is not made for huge companies such as Walmart with over 2’000’000 emplyoees or Volkswagen with over 600’000.

    I wonder how perfomant Cloud or On-Premise solutions would be and how a suitable architecture would look like … :-).



    • Gayan Perera says:

      The question would be, do all 2m users that work at Walmart need CRM access via a user record?

      CRM does have quirky auto-generated queries that are not the best, but overall it does pretty well…unless you go and do something silly 🙂

    • Joel Lindstrom says:

      Even a WalMart size company could function without thousands of business units, especially since we have access teams and owner teams.

  2. Tatiane Alves says:


    I would like to know if it is possible to configure a subject tree by business unit.
    If not, how can I resolve it?


  3. Graham Smith says:

    Does this tip still apply today with modernized business units? Now if you move a user to another business unit, the data can stay with the owning business unit, and you can apply a security role from BU1 to a user in BU2.

    I ask because teams level security isn’t cutting it for us. Team 1 only wants to see Cases that relate to their work (for practical and compliance reasons), so we give them user/team level access to the Case table. Trouble is, when a case is assigned to a user in that team, then the rest of the team cannot see it.

    If we give them business unit level access to the case table then they get to see cases from across most of the organisation (because we only have one or two business units)… unless we make their team a business unit, but then we will end up with 100’s of business units across our organisation.

    How do we get round this? Am I missing something? Is there a way to assign a case to a user, but leave the team as the record owner?

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