The decision for going with single or multiple organisation should be made as early as possible because if the implementation grows, it will increase the complexity. For e.g., if we have Marketing already implemented for the marketing lob and now, we are planning to add Sales and Service, which would be difficult as it could require updating the existing implementation (plugins, workflows, BPF, Security Model, Business Unit structure, etc.) to cater for addition of new LOBs. If the implementation of the system is designed from the very beginning keeping different LOBs in mind, the complexities can be managed. Also, there is a possibility that a single instance which is serving different LOBs, needs to be separated to multiple instances later, this again will require additional efforts.
Below are some of the factors and pros and cons that we would need to consider before deciding on Single Organization vs Multiple Organization (Single Instance vs Multiple Instance).
Companies with Business units \ LOBs having a different set of customers and different
functional area with no need for
- cross-business collaboration
- sharing of data
- unified or roll-up reporting
- the same set of standardization
will benefit from Multiple Organization or Multiple Instance approaches.
The benefits of Multiple Organization or Multi-Instance are
Reduced complexity when it comes to the designing and implementation of the data model and security model.
Having less volume of data stored in the system could contribute to improved performance of the application.
Having a lesser number of customization (plugins/workflows/business rules etc.) without segregation logic for different LOBs could also contribute to improved performance.
Provides autonomy, so easy to implement new features/functionalities/3rd party applications without having to consider the impact of it for other business units.
Easy and efficient release management e.g. fast deployment, lesser downtime and do not have to be agreed upon for all the LOBs, less need of regression testing, etc. with fewer teams/functionality being impacted.
Fewer chances of exceeding organization limits for e.g. we have following limits in Dynamics 365 CE /CRM – 100 rollup attributes and each entity having 10 rollup attributes, 10 activated business process flow per entity, maximum number of entities that can have active SLAs is 7, maximum number of SLA KPIs allowed per entity is 5 etc.
System-level settings through Administration à System Settings could be easily governed, managed and defined for the single organization without affecting other LOBs for e.g. some of the settings like – Decimal Precision Point, Relevance Search or Categorized Search, Using legacy form rendering, Session Timeout, Audit settings, etc.
For Customer – flexibility to have different implementation team (partners/vendors) working on separate organizations (administration, implementation, support, etc.)
Also, if there are any regulatory or compliance that has to be in place for one LOB it would adversely affect other LOBs in case of the single instance as essentially, they’d be sharing the same resources.
On the other hand, companies having Business Units with the need for coordination and sharing information/data having process standards, rollup reporting needs will benefit from a single organization or single instance approach.
Rollup and Unified reporting and cross-business unit collaboration can be achieved easily in case of a single organization as all their information would be residing in the same instance’s database without any need of User Interface Integration/ SQL Server Replication / Web Service Integration / Publish/subscribe pattern by plugin-ns.
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Most of the 3rd party applications in App Source like ClickDimensions supports only single instance, so different LOBs part of that same instance can share it, which will not be the case of multi-instance, as it would require separate licenses to be procured.
Required common functionalities would still need to build/deployed into multiple organization i.e. less reuse of configuration and code, which can be easily shared and standardized in case of singe organization.
No need for data replication or information (customer, contact, etc.) to be duplicated in all the instances in case of multi-instance.
For multi-instances in case of Online, there would be an additional cost associated with adding instance (sandbox and production).
Also, additional cost in case of multi-instance, for procuring any 3rd party application for each of the instance that needs it, increased integration/ replication cost.
For multi-organization in case of CRM On-Premise, there could be added infrastructure cost to support that many organizations.
Multi instance/organization can also plan to use the Hub and Spoke strategy. This would be recommended approach in case of independent but similar LOBs (e.g. located at different region/geography) i.e. replication.
Few important factors to be considered are as below
Ownership Cost – Who within the organization/enterprise is paying and owning the CRM System.
Does the organization have a Global Center of Excellence (CoE)?
There is no denying that having a single instance service multiple LOB(s) will have added complexity which will only grow with time as the implementation progresses (enhancements/ phases), does the organization has the plan or a roadmap clearly defined to handle it with all the stakeholders involved aligned with Enterprise strategy and architecture.
Please feel free to add your thoughts, suggestions and insights in comments.
Hope it helps ..