How Divisions can break down Silos

That’s right…the powerful but not widely known Salesforce Divisions feature can actually help break down silos within your Organization!  This is one of my favorite features and it has been a while since we’ve discussed; please do not hesitate to add comments with additional feedback or resources for this feature!

Use Case

Most often when I recommend Divisions to Customers it stems from the following key requirements:

  • Organization includes 3 or more Business Units that generally function independent of one and other but occasionally cross-collaborate on National or Global Accounts
  • Organization has Executive Sponsorship that includes standardized processes; for example, a unified Sales Process that has a single meaning for each Stage (cannot have “Negotiation” at 30% for one Business Unit and at 70% for another)
  • Organization has a desire for both Business-Unit-specific and Org-Wide analytics
  • Organization has a public data model (Internal Org Wide Sharing for most, if not all, objects is public)
  • Organization is on Professional Edition or above

In the majority of instances where I have recommended Divisions in the past, it has been on an existing Org that had implemented a private data model with several very complex sharing rules and Teams to open data back up to the majority of users.  The initial reason for the private model and complexity, as I understood it from the customers, was typically due to complaints from users in a public data model about “too much noise” when having to sift through other Business Units’ records in Searches, List Views and Reports.

The Solution

  • In order to get started with Divisions, your System Administrator must log a case with Salesforce.com Support to activate the feature
    • Generally, the Support Team needs to know your Org Id and your Use Case; I recommend providing them a high-level explanation of your Org’s structure as well as your reporting and collaboration needs
  • Once the Divisions feature has been activated, you will need to assign a “Default Division” to each User (Note: this is a new field, it is not the standard text field labeled “Division”) and each Lead and Account as well as any Custom Object that is a “parent” in a Master-Detail relationship will need to be assigned to a Division
    • The Divisions can be set with native transfer utilities and/or a Dataloader
  • Divisions propagate down from the parent to all child objects such as from Account to all Contacts, Cases and Opportunities on the Account
  • From there, you can update your List Views and Reports to filter by the Running User’s Division but the cool thing is that the User can change the filter of any Report or change his/her default Search Division to be any specific Division or the “All Divisions” option

A Few Notes

  • In the Divisions documentation in Help & Training, there is a note indicating that you may benefit from Divisions if your Org has more than one million records…do not panic, that is not a hard/fast requirement for turning on Divisions; simply make a sound business case to your Support Rep and, in my experience, the feature will be turned on
  • Child records cannot cross Divisions so, as an example, you cannot have an Account in the “Global” Division with Opportunities, some of which are in the “U.S.” Division and others in the “U.K.” Division…Division is always inherited down from the parent record
  • Divisions is not a Security feature…there is absolutely nothing that Divisions will impact in tightening nor relaxing your existing security model…it is merely about minimizing the day-to-day “noise” across Divisions while still allowing for Org-wide visibility, reportability and collaboration when needed
    • This is directly opposite functionality from Territories which is deeply entrenched in Security and far more appropriate for a private data model
  • Once Divisions is enabled, it cannot be disabled, so it is highly recommended that you activate in your Sandbox (or, if you are on PE, in a Dev Org) and testing rigorously before pushing into Production

Additional Resources

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

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