Comparing Power Apps Plans with Dynamics 365 Licensing

PowerApps Plans

Power Apps Plans have emerged as an alternative licensing option compared to regular Dynamics 365 SKUs for some use requirements. These offer the choice of licensing for an individual app, or enabling users to run unlimited apps.

PowerApps Plans enable users to access the Microsoft Business Applications platform (Power Platform) and the Common Data Service using the same responsive unified interface as Dynamics 365 and/or creating pixel-perfect mobile apps. A PowerApps plan also includes access to many of the standard Dynamics entities including accounts, contacts and activities. 

In this post we'll explore potential use cases and provide a comparison of the capabilities and entitlements between Power Apps Plans and Dynamics 365 role-based apps.

Please get in touch if you want to know more and receive advice about the best licences to fit your user requirements.

A Better Fit?

For bespoke or fairly narrow usage needs, the Dynamics 365 licensing menu doesn't always provide a clear choice. 

Let's say, a user role is focused on course administration or processes to handle applications. In these scenarios, a Dynamics 365 Customer Service licence might be considered to be the nearest fit. But that might only be because this provides entitlement to create and update accounts, and work across 15+ custom entities. That's because neither of these capabilities are covered by the Team Member licence.

But if these users don't require capabilities for case management, knowledge posts or any of the other service features loaded into the Customer Service app, it create an imbalance between price and value.

When the D365 role-based apps aren't an obvious fit for specific user needs, often what's needed is:

  • Access to the platform
  • Unified interface across desktop and mobile
  • Guided process flows
  • Set of standard entities e.g. contacts, accounts and activities
  • Capacity to add unlimited custom entities 
  • Ability to easily connect the app with other data points

A better outcome would be a licence that provides access to the platform with the core capabilities listed above but without the additional complexity, and cost, of unnecessary features. That's where Power Apps Plans come in!

Power Apps Plans & Pricing

These include the ability to deploy the full unified interface, dashboards, list views, record forms and these can also write to many standard Dynamics entities, as well as unlimited custom entities.

From October 2019, Power Apps plans are available for:

  • Single App Plan - despite its title, this provides entitlement to run up to two custom apps for web and/or mobile for a specific business scenario using the full capabilities of Power Apps. This also grants users access rights for a single web portal (subject to portal service limits, see below). 
  • Unlimited App Plan - enabling users to run unlimited apps using full Power Apps capabilities.

These are priced at:

  • Single App Plan @ £7.50 (USD $10) per user / app / month
  • Unlimited App Plan @ £30.20 (USD $40) per user / month

Neither Plan is subject to a minimum or maximum number of licences. The single app plan is stackable whereby multiple passes can be purchased for users who need access to multiple apps but not at the level that where the unlimited app plan would be justified.

As a comparison, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Enterprise is currently priced at £71.60 per user / month. That's great value if you need a pre-built case management solution with integrated knowledge capabilities that receive and continual flow of Microsoft updates for new features and improvements. But it's less compelling if users just want to build on the platform without touching these entities and functions.

Returning to the above course management scenario, either of the Power Apps Plans could be sufficient. For users who only need to manage these defined processes and nothing else, the per single app pass @ £7.50 may be the most cost effective option. 

Each per app pass is applied to an environment and then apps and portals are switched on to consume usage per user from these passes and track remaining capacity.

For narrowly defined usage which doesn't clearly fit one of the standard Dynamics role-based apps, a Power Apps Plan offers the prospect of better alignment between capabilities and pricing.

However, it is important to understand what this covers, and what isn't included.

Platform

With an app deployed using a Power Apps Plan, data is stored in the Microsoft Common Data Service to connect with Office 365 and other Microsoft Business Applications. 

This includes native integration with any instances of Dynamics 365 that have been deployed within the organisation to fit other requirements which are better met by a combination of D365 apps and Team Member licences. As a result, data is easily shared to provide connected processes and insights. Pre-built and custom PowerApps connectors can also be used. 

App Build

A Dynamics 365 role-based app is a pre-packaged solution that is configured to fit unique business process rules and user requirements. In contrast, a Power App must be built from scratch, or customised from a pre-built template.

Where teams need sales or case management functionality, D365 Sales or Customer Service licences provide access to a ready-made solution. But in other instances, organisations can look to the potential of lower monthly subscription by building and licensing through a PowerApps Plan.

Building in PowerApps

Interface

A model-driven app created using Power Apps has the same unified interface used in Dynamics 365 apps. This includes the same record form structure, business process flows, dashboards, search capabilities and list views.  

For mobile apps, an app can be built for a tablet or a phone. This is designed by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, just as you would design a slide in PowerPoint. Excel-like expressions can be applied to specify logic and work with data. Each canvas app can be connected with a wide variety of Microsoft and third-party sources. This can be shared so users can run the app in a browser or on a mobile device. 

Canvas apps can also be embedded. Users are able to run them in SharePoint, Power BI, or Teams (subject to sufficient licence rights). In addition, they can be embedded in the unified interface. Microsoft says these embedded components within a model-driven app do not count towards the two apps limit in the PowerApps single app plan.

Entities

When Dynamics 365 is deployed and its standard entities are stored in the Common Data Service, many of these are available to create apps and flows. These include: activities, contacts and accounts which are accessible using a PowerApps Plan.

A PowerApps licence is able to read data from any entity in the CDS but there are some restricted entities that require a full Dynamics 365 app for create/read/update/delete rights. Restricted entities include: entitlements, project tasks, SLAs, knowledge articles, routing rules, goal, schedule board setting and work order business process.

Previously, cases was a restricted entity but this no longer applies from the October 2019 licensing update.

Microsoft is expected to add a selection of sales entities to its restricted list during the October release wave but at the time of writing this hadn't been confirmed.

PowerApps can be built to include restricted entities but app users must be correctly licensed with the appropriate Dynamics licence.  

Users who are only licensed with a Power Apps plan are able to access a Dynamics 365 instance but they cannot use any of these restricted entities or any of the application IP. These remain exclusively available to Dynamics 365 licensed users. 

Self-Service Web Portals

In the October 2019 release wave Microsoft introduced Power Apps portals enabling a responsive site to be shared with external users. All portal data is stored in the Common Data Service.

As referenced above, each PowerApps plan includes portal usage rights. Portal licensing is costed based on external usage to cover scenarios for authenticated users logging in and/or anonymous users. These are billed per unique login and page view respectively. Read more about PowerApps Portals and how these are licensed.

Security

Consistent with Dynamics 365, PowerApps users are authenticated by Azure Active Directory and the sharing of model-driven apps is managed via Common Data Service security roles that covers record-based, role-based and field-based security to protect data integrity and privacy. Each app is managed in the PowerApps Admin Center.

Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook extends Common Data Services experiences to Outlook and this is now available to PowerApps Plan users. This includes Outlook email tracking to associated records in the CDS, quickly creating new records from Outlook emails, browsing information side by side within Outlook and synchronising contacts and related information between Exchange and CDS.

Flows

Microsoft's updated Power Apps licensing enables Plan users to run any flow that is triggered directly within the context of their PowerApp. The full standalone capabilities of Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) are reserved for the standalone Automate plans. Dynamics 365 app licensing is also changed from October 2019 whereby entitlement to deploy Power Automate is restricted to flows that are mapped to a Dynamics app. 

Cloud Storage

By default, each PowerApps tenant includes the same platform capacity entitlement compared to Dynamics 365 Enterprise apps licenses:

  • CDS for Apps Database Capacity: 10 GB
  • CDS for Apps File Capacity: 20 GB
  • CDS for Apps Log Capacity: 2 GB

Additional capacity entitlements also accrue and are pooled across the tenant. For the £7.50 PowerApps single app plan this accrues at:

  • CDS for Apps Database Capacity: 50 MB per user
  • CDS for Apps File Capacity: 400 MB per user

For the £30.20 unlimited PowerApps unlimited app plan, as well as Dynamics 365 Enterprise licences these entitlements accrue at:

  • CDS for Apps Database Capacity: 250 MB per user
  • CDS for Apps File Capacity: 2 GB per user

Dynamics 365 Professional licenses and Team Member licences do not accrue additional storage capacity.

API Request Limits

All the users of Microsoft Power Platform can use a certain number of requests a user can make based on the license they are assigned. This is designed to accommodate the majority of usage requirements without any additional cost.

Within a 24-hour period the Power Apps unlimited app plan provides default capacity for 5,000 API calls per user.  This API request limit affects all types of user accounts and is not aggregated to the instance level.

Users running the @ £7.50 Power Apps single app plan have capacity for up to 1,000 API requests per user per 24-hours.

This compares to a 20,000 request capacity available with Dynamics 365 Enterprise apps or 10,000 for Professional apps and a 5,000 default API call capacity for Dynamics 365 Team Member licences.

Additional capacity can be purchased as an add-on and assigned to any user that will increase the number of API requests they can make per 24-hour period.

Licensing Comparison

Comparing Power Apps Per App plan with the Dynamics 365 Team Member licence.

Licensing Questions?

Find out more about Power Apps Plans and Dynamics 365 licensing. Contact Preact to receive answers to your questions and recommendations for the most cost effective licences to fit your requirements.

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