CRM 2015 – The benefits of Access Teams

Access teams are an underused feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM because the benefits of access teams are not clearly understood by many CRM professionals.  

When I have asked fellow CRM professionals about Access teams most had only heard of Access team and none had ever used them.

This post will explain
  • What are Access Teams
  • The benefits of Access Teams
  • When to use Access Teams
This week a new plugin was added to the XrmToolbox to XrmToolBox plugin for moving access team templates, which prompted me to investigate Access teams.

What are Access Teams?

I learnt about Access teams because it’s on the CRM 2013 customization exam.  Study for certifications are a good method to learn new functionality added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Here is some information to help study for Microsoft Dynamics CRM customization certification and this post explains the benefits of acquiring Microsoft Dynamics CRM certifications 

To get an introduction to Access teams read

CRM 2013 – MB2-703 – Access Teams and Access Team Templates how to use them and key facts

There is a great white paper on access teams 

The purpose of access teams is a dynamic way to share records with users without using the default sharing functionality in CRM or security roles.

Access teams are enabled on an entity basis.  When Access teams are enabled for an entity, a grid will appear on the record.  Any user record you add to the grid will have permissions (controlled by a template) to the record.

Access teams are a quick way to share records to an ad hoc team, an example is people working on an opportunity record.  Instead of using security roles/teams/business units to give access or sharing the record you can add the users to the access team.

A key fact to remember is Access teams don’t have security roles.  Because Access teams don’t have security roles this prohibits them from owning records because they cannot be granted the privilege to own a record.

Team confusion

Confusion understanding the purpose of Access teams is because team functionality exists in CRM, users aren’t clear how Access teams are different.

The table compares Access Teams and Owner Teams.

  Access Team Owner Team
Can own records No Yes
Team can be assigned security records No Yes
Manually created and managed No Yes
Displayed in Team views No Yes
Cached by CRM Server when user logs on No Yes
Use Team template to define security priviledges Yes No

Access teams remind me of field level security (how to setup field level security) because the template specifies a simple security permissions

Access teams share record permissions without the overhead of using the full CRM security model, avoiding the sharing overhead which can occur with a complex security model.

The benefits of access teams

A benefit of studying for the CRM customization certification is learning how Access teams work, it doesn’t teach you how and why you when you should use them

reminds me of this quote

Some men learn all they know from books; others from life.  both kinds are narrow.  The first are all theory; the second are all practice.

It’s the fellow who knows enough about practice to test his theories for blow-holes that gives the world a shove a head, and finds a fair margin of profit in shoving it.

George Lorimer, Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

Two great resources for learning the benefits of Access Teams

Reduced sharing overhead

Sharing records in CRM can cause the POA table to grow in size.  A large POA table can affect the performance of your CRM system.  Access teams offer a way to share permissions to records to individuals but using CRM managed access teams

The performance benefit of Access teams is it shares using teams is more efficient than sharing to individuals.

Adam Vero corrected when I mistakenly put Access Teams don’t use the POA table, this is false, Access teams write records to the POA, it uses a team rather than an individual users.

Quick and ad hoc

If your need is to share records to groups or individuals, not in teams, Access teams is great for sharing permissions to unrelated individuals quickly and easily.

Manage sharing

Managing shared records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be difficult (can you remember how to see what records are shared with whom?).  Using Access teams it’s easy to see who the record is shared with and add/remove users.

Improved performance

Read Adam Vero‘s section on Performance Improvements because he explains it better than me.

Access team facts

  • When records are deactivated, access team permissions are not effected
  • Access teams don’t have security roles
  • Access teams can’t own records
  • Access teams are created and managed by CRM
  • An access team is created when you have added the first user
  • Access teams are not visible in default team views
  • Sharing records via access teams isn’t displaying in the sharing screen
  • Access teams can’t be used in resource scheduling
  • Multiple access teams can be linked to a single record

Understanding Access Teams

We understand Access teams,  how they work and the benefits but when should you use Access teams?

If you are sharing lots of records, investigate an alternative method of sharing records which does not grow the POA table.  Sharing records are difficult to manage to individuals, you should use teams.

When to use Access teams

When you need to grant permissions on individual records.  Access teams are great if you need to grant permissions to different individuals and not teams.  A good example is granting permission on an opportunity to users from different areas, sales, marketing, support who are creating a proposal/demo.

If the group of people who need to access a record will change often, Access teams offer a way to add/remove users who can access the record.

Access teams are great for quick/ad hoc sharing

When not to use Access Teams

If security is important it’s better to use the default CRM security model.  Access team members can add/remove other users which might compromise the security of the record. Default security is more powerful and nuanced, Access teams have 5 levels of permission.
When teams are static it’s better to use Owner teams to manage access to records.
If the volume of records being shared/view is high, managing permissions through Access teams will take too long.

The problem with access teams

Microsoft added Access teams into CRM 2013 but then forgot to add any functionality to export/import Access team templates between CRM instances.

This topic is explained CRM 2013 – Why are access teams marooned?

With Access teams not included in the CRM solution it means Access team templates need to be manually recreated in all your CRM environments, this massive overhead, almost makes Access teams unusable.

Access teams have a connect request Access Team Template in CRM Solution

This request is active, created on 11/27/2014, it has 68 votes but as yet Microsoft have not responded.  Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?

I understand Microsoft are working on updating the connect platform, this will be a welcome change but I would like to see more responses from Microsoft.  The most disappointing part of the Microsoft Connect experience isn’t the poor user interface its the fact Microsoft doesn’t seem to be listening to the suggestions of the CRM community.

Access Team templates tool

The CRM community is awesome and Lucas Alexander has created a plugin for the XrmToolbox to move Access team templates.

XrmToolBox plugin for moving access team templates

The tool allows you to easily export and import Access team templates between CRM organisations

Try Access Teams

If you haven’t used Access teams, open a CRM trial and try them out.  Access teams are  a great way to share individual records to individuals without impacting the POA table.

Now you understand how Access teams work, the benefits and when to use them.   You can see where it might be appropriate to use them or advise your customers the functionality Access teams provide.


12 thoughts on “CRM 2015 – The benefits of Access Teams

  1. ukcrmguru October 28, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    “Access teams offer a method of sharing records which doesn’t impact the POA table”
    No, they don’t.
    Access Teams are just teams. Records get shared with them, and users are added to them so they get access to those records via their team membership. Exactly as if you had shared the record manually with a team. Exactly the same POA impact.
    I will be demonstrating this at the next CRM User Group meeting in London on November 10th to try and debunk this and other myths about security that I hear a lot.


    • Hosk November 2, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      Thanks for clearing up the Access Teams and my incorrect thoughts on the POA table.

      Access teams are a quick way to share records on a record basis. People get added to the team. CRM manages the team and the user manages the templates to control access and the team members.

      Hopefully one day I will join a company who is a member of the CRMUG and then I can attend these meetings.


      • ukcrmguru November 3, 2015 / 7:58 am

        Have you thought about just asking your boss if you can take a day to visit one of the most information-packed days of CRM content available in the UK, make loads of new connections, and learn loads of new stuff?

        You don’t need to be a paid-up member, we will always let partner folks come along if they are 1) actually technical people, not sales, and 2) willing to contribute, share and help others or 3) ideally bring one of your customers along, so they get to benefit too.

        If you really want to get involved in the community you could even take a day off work and make your own way there, I think you would find it is worth it.


  2. Sameera March 28, 2016 / 8:27 am

    Hello Hosk,is the sharing cascaded to the child entities. For eg: I added a member to the my Opportunity’s Access team, will that person automatically have access to the Opportunty’s quotes and orders ?


  3. hari March 29, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    i have one doubt . that is , can we create multiple access teams for an single entity.


    • Hosk March 29, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      Yes I think you can


  4. Maria Monserrate October 11, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    Hello, I have a question. I have a group of accounts that can only be viewed or edited by a group of people that belong to different Business Units. The rest of the organization should NOT have access to these accounts (its a PHI issue). Can I use access teams for this? How do I prevent the rest of the users from accessing these accounts? Please help, our CRM developer told us this is not possible within CRM security functionality


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