Whether you’re facing an acquisition, business expansion, or looking to expand overseas, adopting a multi org or staying with a single org is a crucial decision that needs to be made regarding your Salesforce architecture.

Ideally, choosing a single or multi org is a decision that should to be made early on, as the longer you wait, the larger the chance your implementation will grow into an unmanageable cluster of unnecessary orgs.

Both single and multi org scenarios have certain advantages and disadvantages. However, it often comes to a trade-off between customization (multi) and standardization (single). This decision is never one that can be based on pure feeling or preference, rather, it is one that needs to be deeply rooted in your business strategy.

So, how do you begin the process of choosing a specific org strategy to move forward with? Well, that largely depends on how many instances of Salesforce you want and need in your company. Determining this can be complex and only gets more complex the bigger your company grows. Establishing a strategy early on will certainly save your team from a tough fight against orgs that are not optimized to run your business.

Here are several elements you should consider during your decision process:

  1. Your business structure.

What does your operating model look like? As you can see from the graph above, Ross et al. outline various structures.

For companies that have a unification operating model, a single org is logical because it allows for centrally controlled IT processes. It also provides a single landscape for everyone within the company. Meanwhile, companies that fall in the diversification or replication quadrants should consider multi orgs, as they are independent units and would require independent environments to work efficiently. Lastly, the coordination model businesses should consider a single org, as it will ease the process of collaborating between business units.

  1. Need for customization or standardization.

As previously touched upon, there is a trade-off between flexibility and structure when it comes to your org strategy. A single org offers centralization and standardization, creating a “one stop shop” for all your organization’s information. Information regarding customer databases and cross sell/referral opportunities are conveniently located in one system. And, if desired, this central system can be controlled by one administrator. A single org also creates a platform for sharing solutions to challenges that are relevant to your business.

Conversely, for companies with multiple business lines, geographical locations, and an immense volume of data, there is likely a desire for more flexibility in their infrastructure. A multi org will allow you to create separate orgs or each business line, ensuring that each line has a single view of your customer, without causing changes to existing orgs. Additionally, it will allow you to make changes quickly, without having to wait on your overloaded administrators.

  1. Complexity of integration.

As your org grows and more lines of businesses are added to your infrastructure, the level of complexity grows correspondingly. This impacts your data model, security design, and apex design. By keeping a single org, you will need to ensure that your team is able to manage the growing infrastructure and maintain your data model.

  1. Cross-business collaboration

Collaboration between business units is obviously facilitated better by a single org integration, as shared solutions can be easily within the company. Furthermore, company information about customers, projects, and insights are readily available. Although this should not be a driver of your strategy, Salesforce features like Chatter are only available (at this point) for single orgs. On the contrary, if your main collaboration falls between your direct business or geographic unit, then the noise from the other business units could be distracting. In which case, a multi org may be more beneficial.

  1. Costs

The last element to consider is that as the number of orgs goes up, so do the costs. There are various additional costs that need to be considered if you are to adopt a multi org structure. For example, increased licensing, environment management, integration, and SSO costs can be expected.

As you can see, there are many things that should be considered before making setting up your org strategy. However, in the end, it can all be related to what your overarching business strategy is and the level of autonomy you would like to achieve with your business lines.

So, what are the options for your org implementation?

Single Org

This approach involves integrating all Salesforce data into one consolidated org. As previously mentioned, this org structure will allow for one single view of your company’s data and standardized business processes. While having a single org can become complex over time if you company grows, it reduces costs in the long-term. However, a major drawback to a single org is that the likelihood that you will incur storage limits is increased.

Global Reporting Org

This is the least invasive approach as it provides a single view of your data with minimal changes to other Salesforce orgs. This requires that a separate org is purchased, which is then synchronized with the existing orgs, and then the data is consolidated into the global hub. In this org, all company reports and dashboards are run, allowing for exclusive reporting and clean data transfers to source orgs.

Master Org Synchronization

By adopting a master org structure, which is most common in a hierarchical company, a parent-child org is created, however, this does not require purchasing an independent org. This approach is used for companies that prefer to have their businesses run on separate orgs, while still maintaining common data. The master org is synchronized with the other orgs, creating a less invasive approach to having a single view of your customer.

Not sure where to begin? We are always ready and willing to help. Beethree understands the bottle necks and can cater to the process based on your unique business strategy and structure. Contact Lars Klumpes for more information to get our org strategy on track!