Understanding the 1:N Cascading Relationship Behavior of Dynamics CRM 4.0 Entities

The way the 1:N parental relationships work inside of Dynamics CRM is based upon what’s called “Cascading” Relationship Behavior. For example, when an Account is assigned to a new Owner, by default all child records (including Contacts, Activities, and Opportunities) assign over to the new Owner.

Sometimes this works fine – but there’s definitely a caveat. Let’s say there’s a collection of historical data that has been deactivated inside of the CRM system, or even more importantly, CLOSED. This applies to Opportunity records. Because the Assign and Reparent settings are set to “Cascade All,” any child records of their respective parent in the system, regardless of status, will be reassigned if the parent is reassigned.

In my mind, this creates issues – especially if you have assignment notification worlflows running in the background. Let’s continue with the Account reassignment example, in the case where the Opportunities would be reassigned as well. There are two options here:

OPTION 1 – CASCADE ACTIVE: The cascade setting that most companies would want would be “Cascade Active.” This would only reassign Active (Open) Opportunities to the new Owner, and leave the closed ones alone. This is very helpful for companies where Accounts get reassigned often AND for companies that use Opportunities.

To change to “Cascade Active”:

  1. Change Type of Behavior to “Configurable Cascading.”
  2. Change Assign to “Cascade Active.”
  3. Change Reparent to “Cascade Active.”
  4. Publish your changes.

OPTION 1 – CASCADE NONE: If you do not want any Opportunities to be reassigned based upon Ownership change at the Account level, you would need to change it to “Cascade None.” This is more helpful for companies where the Ownership of the Account is not significant, and sales reps would not transfer Opportunities in the case of an Ownership reassignment at the Account level. NOTE in this case, you would need to reassign Opportunity records manually if someone leaves the company, for example. This can be done in bulk through Advanced Find.

To change to “Cascade None”:

  1. Change Type of Behavior to “Configurable Cascading.”
  2. Change Assign to “Cascade None.”
  3. Change Reparent to “Cascade None.”
  4. Publish your changes.

NOTE: If you create Opportunities off of the Contact record, you will need to make any modifications from the CONTACT to Opportunity Parental Relationship page, not the Account to Opportunity relationship.

Additionally, you have these cascading options with Share and Unshare (you cannot make these changes for Delete and Merge). I would analyze the common actions made within your company to see if these relationship behaviors need to be altered as well.

I think analyzing these relationship behaviors will be beneficial to almost any company. It will save you from the inevitable “I’m getting a new Opportunity for WHAT now?” conversations with sales reps across the entire company.

Angela Goldberg

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