Your Essential Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement & Power Apps Licensing: Our Expert’s Breakdown
Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and the wider Power Platform, organisations can implement intelligent and connected business applications. However, as the platform continues to expand in its capabilities and offerings, with two large release cycles each year, the licensing for these products and features can become somewhat confusing.
Microsoft’s own licensing guides are packed with information, but they are very complex and often don’t tell you why you should choose one licensing type over another, and that’s what I’ll cover in this guide. I’ll give examples of use cases and provide my experience to answer the most common questions I hear from our customers.
I want to give you a bitesize understanding so you can get to grips with the different licences for each app and why you’d choose one over the other and what the costs are likely to be, and potentially what tools are going to be best for your business’s needs.
Within this article, I will explore the different licensing options provided by Microsoft regarding their Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) applications and Power Apps.
I haven’t covered licensing for Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, AI Builder and Power BI in this article, but you can get in touch if you’d like to discuss how to get started with these products and licences.
It’s also important to note too that depending on your industry, you may be able to qualify for cheaper licensing than quoted in this article, again just get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more and we’ll be happy to help.
NB: This article is correct as of July 2020, but we will continue to update as and when Microsoft releases new information.
Introduction to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) First-Party Applications
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement is a suite of pre-built (AKA first-party) applications which are as follows:
- Dynamics 365 Marketing
- Dynamics 365 Sales
- Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Dynamics 365 Field Service
- Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation
Each of these applications is built on top of Dataflex Pro (previously named Common Data Service) which provides a centralised repository for all your data, allowing you to have a single, holistic view of your customer and company data.
To note, Dataflex Pro isn’t to be mistaken with Dataflex, a different offering, which allows you to build apps within the context of Microsoft Teams. Confusing, I know.
An Introduction to Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps allows users to build their own applications from scratch. There are three flavours of these.
To build internal apps:
- Model-Driven Power Apps
- Canvas Power Apps
To build external-facing sites:
- Power Apps Portals
What are Model-Driven Power Apps?
What it is: Dynamics 365 first-party apps (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, etc.) are examples of Model-Driven Apps, but pre-packaged. You can configure these apps, build on top of them, or extend them if you like. In theory, you could build your own version of the first-party apps if you like, but there are pros and cons to this approach too.
Model-Driven Apps provide you with the ability to create your own applications completely from scratch. These applications, like the Dynamics 365 first-party apps run on top of Dataflex Pro – if you have data from other sources you want to use, you’d have to create an integration to pull the data into Dataflex Pro.
When building a Model-Driven App, Microsoft provides the framework to build upon, and you can reuse specific entities or create new ones.
You could build a simple app using out of the box capabilities, but you may need to write code to create plugins, extensions and integrations if the pre-canned functionality you need doesn’t come out of the box with the tools at your disposal. If you don’t have those coding or design skills in house, that’s where a consulting partner like Perfect Image would come in to train your staff, build apps, or write the code needed.
Who this is for: This completely depends on the business process that is being implemented. It could be for a HR Manager to manage the re-opening of their workplace facilities. An insurance advisor managing insurance claims. To manage beds in use within a hospital, etc…
Benefits of using this type of app creation:
- Cheaper licensing costs than the first-party apps.
- Integrations with Outlook and SharePoint.
- The ability to build only the functionality that you need.
What Are Canvas Power Apps?
What it is: Canvas Apps allow you to build applications with full control over the design. Each detail of the app can be optimised for specific tasks and roles, and a wide variety of controls can be used, like integrating cameras and user location. Canvas Apps are primarily intended for mobile use, potentially for on-the-go or customer-facing staff.
Unlike Model-Driven Power Apps where your data needs to be pulled from within Dataflex Pro, you can utilise other data sources to store your application data, such as SQL Server, SharePoint, and Excel to name a few. You can even integrate pre-built AI functionality.
Who this is for: Generally suited to mobile users.
Potential use cases:
- Staff to check into the workplace.
- Field staff to record inspections on a building site.
- Staff to record expenses.
Benefits of using this type of app creation:
- Not welded to DataFlex Pro, can use other data sources.
- Complete control over the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
- Built in controls for camera, GPS, signature capture, etc…
What is the Difference Between Model-Driven Apps and Canvas Apps?
A simple way of thinking about the difference between the apps are that Model-Driven Apps are more suited for users performing complex tasks and Canvas Apps are for users performing very simple processes from their mobile devices, for example, field staff or travelling salespeople.
With Model-Driven Apps, you’re more restricted with a Dynamics 365 look and feel, but you can change the general theme and add your logo. Canvas Apps are much more customisable, so you have complete control over the UI, UX, pop-ups, the navigational structure and the design of the screens.
An Introduction to Microsoft Power App Portals
What it is: Power App Portals allow makers to develop a Web Portal that allows external users (customers, partners, etc…) with access to data within Dataflex Pro. This is great because you don’t have an external portal with its own data source. No integrations are needed and everything is kept within the confines of Dataflex Pro so data is more accurate, reliable and up to date.
Portals are hosted by Microsoft so you don’t need to spin up a server, you don’t need to manage infrastructure or deal with the costs associated with that. You can create Portals without code (depending on what you want to build) as Microsoft provides you with an easy configuration experience, but you can only get so far before you need to start using code. If you don’t have those coding or design skills in house, that’s where a consulting partner like Perfect Image would come in to train your staff, build apps, or write the code needed.
As an example, you can create a customer service portal, so customers could login and create support tickets that needed to be raised with a customer service team.
Who this is for: To create a public-facing (or login access only) site for external users to access, e.g. customers, contract workers, partners, vendors.
Potential use cases:
- Partner portal to allow partners to manage their own opportunities.
- Portal for contracted workers to manage work cases.
- Customer Service Portal for customers to raise cases and view knowledge base article.
Benefits of using portals:
- Provide users with access to the data that is stored within DataFlex Pro without the need for integration.
- The application is hosted for you as part of the service, so you do not need to manage infrastructure.
- A portal can be created without the need to code (however this is subject to the requirements of the business).
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Licensing & Pricing Overview
All Microsoft Dynamics 365 first-party applications (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, etc.) are predominantly licensed on a per user, per month model – except for Dynamics 365 Marketing which we’ll go into later.
If a user only requires access to a single application, they will require a base licence for the appropriate app. All base licences are the same price. If a user requires access to multiple applications, they will require one base licence, followed by an ‘attach licence’ for subsequent applications that they need access to. Attach licences are cheaper than base licences so you can cost-effectively provide staff access to all the tools they require.
Certain applications such as Project Service Automation must be purchased at the base licence price, as there is not an attach licensing cost.
The following graphic illustrates this.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing Licensing & Pricing
The Dynamics 365 Marketing app is the only app to not use a per user, per month pricing model. Instead, the licensing is priced per tenant, per month.
Tenant-based licences provide access to the app to everyone within your ‘tenant’ – for example, Perfect Image is our tenant so all named (individual) users/staff within our tenant would receive access to the Marketing app. However, you can still configure access control to users.
The following licenses are available:
- Marketing Base SKU – £1,131.20 per tenant per month.
- Marketing Attach SKU – £565.60 per tenant per month. (This price is only applicable to organisations that have purchased a minimum of 10 base licences across Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Finance, Supply Chain Management and Commerce.)
Details and pricing of add-ons for Dynamics 365 Marketing can be found here.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Licensing & Pricing
The Dynamics 365 Sales app comes in two flavours, Sales Enterprise and Sales Professional.
If you want to take advantage of forecasting, goal management and playbook functionality, you will need the Enterprise SKU. It offers deeper functionality. However, if you want a lighter touch Sales solution to manage leads and opportunities, Sales Professional may be more appropriate.
- Sales Enterprise Base SKU – £71.60 per named user per month.
- Sales Enterprise Attach SKU – £15.10 per named user per month.
- Sales Professional Base SKU – £49 per named user per month.
- Sales Professional Attach SKU – £15.10 per named user per month.
Microsoft does not allow businesses to mix and match Sales Enterprise SKUs and Sales Professional SKUs, I suspect because of technical limitations of deploying two versions of an app within the same environment.
A comparison of functionality available within both of these apps can be found here, along with add-ons that can be purchased.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Licensing & Pricing
The Dynamics 365 Customer Service app comes in two flavours (Customer Service Enterprise and Customer Service Professional).
If you require Unified Service Desk and embedded intelligence, a Customer Service Enterprise licence might be better for you. However, if you require a lighter touch case management solution, Customer Service Professional may be more appropriate.
- Customer Service Enterprise Base SKU – £71.60 per named user per month.
- Customer Service Enterprise Attach SKU – £15.10 per named user per month.
- Customer Service Professional Base SKU – £37.70 per named user per month.
- Customer Service Professional Attach SKU – £15.10 per named user per month.
Again, Microsoft does not allow you to mix and match Professional and Enterprise licences, however, you can mix Enterprise and Professional SKUs across the different apps (i.e. have Customer Service Enterprise and Sales Professional licences).
A comparison of functionality available within both of these apps can be found here, along with add-ons that can be purchased.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service Licensing & Pricing
Dynamics 365 Field Service has two SKUs available as follows:
- Field Service Base SKU – £71.60 per named user per month.
- Field Service Attach SKU – £15.10 per named user per month.
Details and pricing of add-ons for Field Service such as Remote Assist and Guides can be found here.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation Licensing & Pricing
Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation has a single SKU as follows:
- Project Service Automation Base SKU – £71.60 per named user per month.
There is no attach SKU for Project Service Automation.
TEAM MEMBER LICENSING & PRICING
Team Member licensing is available for users who require predominantly read-only access to data stored within Dataflex Pro. This is typically a good use case for managers who want to access views and dashboards created within the application.
For example, this is ideal for a sales manager who doesn’t own any opportunities themselves but who wants to see how many sales opportunities there are, what stage they are at, and how sales are performing that month.
There are some create, update and delete (CUD) rights on entities such as Contacts and Activities, so a Team Member can still update specific customer records.
While Microsoft doesn’t publicly advertise licence prices, I know that licences are around £6 per user, per month.
Device Licensing & Pricing
While named user licences allow a user to use Microsoft products on any device, Device licensing allows any user to use Microsoft products on a particular device. This is great for organisations where staff share devices, for example with hotdesking, shift workers and retail staff.
The following apps can be licensed on a per device per month model:
- Sales Enterprise.
- Customer Service Enterprise.
- Field Service.
Again, While Microsoft doesn’t publicly advertise licence prices, I know that licences are around £109.30 per device, per app, per month.
What this means is if you want users to be able to access just Sales Enterprise on a device, you’d pay £109.30 per month. If they need both Sales Enterprise and Customer Service Enterprise, you’d stack the licences for that device and pay £218.60.
It can be difficult working out the best licences for every person and device in your organisation, which is why businesses work with consulting partners like Perfect Image. We can help you to achieve the most cost-efficient licensing mix.
POWER APP LICENSING & PRICING (CANVAS AND MODEL-DRIVEN)
For both Canvas and Model-Driven Power Apps, there are three pricing options available.
- Microsoft 365 licensed users (formerly Office 365) – No additional cost; you get this as part of what you’re already paying.
- Per app plan – £7.50 per user, per app, per environment, per month.
- Per user plan – £30.20 per user, per month.
Microsoft 365 Licenced Users
If you are a user who has a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can build and access Canvas Power Apps, as long as you do not connect to data sources which are regarded as ‘premium connectors’ such as Dataflex Pro and SQL Server. Examples of standard connectors include SharePoint and Excel. To access premium connectors, you must have a Per App or Per User licence.
For those users who have access to Microsoft Teams as part of their subscription, they will be able to start building both Canvas and Model-Driven Power Apps for sole use within Microsoft Teams on top of Dataflex (not Dataflex Pro). This is going to be generally available from September 2020, and more details about this can be found here.
Per App Plans
The per app plan provides a single named user with access to a maximum of 2 applications (Canvas and/or Model-Driven), as well as access to 1 Power App Portal. The caveat is that these applications need to be deployed to the same environment/instance where the licence is applied.
As an example, if a user needs access to an application in both the Sandbox environment and the production environment, they will need to stack 2 licences.
Per User Plans
The per user plan provides the named user with access to an unlimited number of applications across all environments/instances within the Microsoft 365 tenant where the licence is applied. Sometimes this plan can be more cost-effective if you have many apps or many environments.
Within an environment, you can mix and match these different Power App Plans together.
Users with specific Dynamics 365 licenses such as Sales Enterprise, by default will be able to access custom Power Apps that are created.
Also, whether you purchase a per user or per app plan varies the default storage and accrued storage you are allocated. This is something we can discuss with you to choose the most cost-effective licensing mix for the storage you need.
Power App Portals Licensing & Pricing (External Users)
For an external user to access data from Dataflex Pro, a Power App Portal will need to be created.
Portals have a consumption-based licensing cost that is applied for external access to your portal. That means you aren’t charged per portal, but rather how much your Portal is consumed. These consumption-based costs are:
- Page View Capacity – 100,000 unauthenticated page views at £75.40 per month
- Login Capacity – 100 daily login sessions per month at £150.80 per month
Unauthenticated Page View Capacity
Page View Capacity allows up to 100,000 unauthenticated page views to your Portal within a month. Page Views are the viewing of pages which are public on the website, e.g. the home page, the contact us page. Essentially a page which you do not have to login to view.
Generally, Portals will always need a Page View Capacity, because even a login page is an unauthenticated page view.
For Login Capacity, think of a daily login session as a ‘day pass.’ Within a month, you can provide 100 ‘day passes’ for external users to login to your portal. For each day pass that is allocated to a user (by them logging in for the first time within a 24 hour period), that user can login and out of the portal as many times as they want within that 24-hour time period, across several devices, without requiring an additional day pass.
Once someone has logged in, when they use your Portal these are classed as authenticated page views so they don’t count towards your Unauthenticated Page View Capacity.
Login Capacity is shared amongst all your Portals, so if one Portal has 5 logins and another has 85 logins with a month, you stay within your capacity. You can also purchase a few bundles of 100 logins for one month if you need more than 100.
More bundles can be purchased partway through a month, for example if you login to the admin portal for your Portals and see that you’re nearing capacity. It is also important to note that unused login capacity does not roll over to the following month.
More information regarding this can be found in the Power Platform licensing guide here.
I hope the previous sections have given you a good high-level overview of the Dynamics 365 and Power App licensing options that are available. This article has not covered all the possible different caveats and restrictions, however the following are some key considerations to be aware of with licences:
- The licences you purchase at the outset will determine the storage allocations you receive for data, files, and logs within Dataflex Pro. Additional storage can be purchased as add-ons if required.
- Certain licences provide users with the capabilities to create and run (somewhat restricted) Power Automate routines to automate logic. However, these workflows must only work with the data source that your application uses. That means your Power Automate workflow needs to be triggered and performed within the app and within the same data source.
For more detailed information relating to Power Platform and Dynamics 365 licensing, please consult the following guides:
Or as always you can get in touch and one of our friendly experts will be happy to answer your questions.
How Perfect Image Can Help You
For organisations looking to start with the platform, being able to estimate and forecast ongoing licensing costs is crucial, to form part of your business case. Working with a consulting partner like Perfect Image means we can help you to build the building blocks of Microsoft’s tools to create a solution that will help you to achieve your goals. We can begin with your budget and time frame to architect a solution that will work for you.
If you’re already using Dynamics 365, we will work with you to understand if you’re using the right licences for what you need/use.
Beyond consulting, we offer training and workshops to upskill your team and help you build Apps, Portals and workflows. We offer licensing optimisation services so you don’t pay for more than what you need. And we can help you to connect and integrate your data and systems.
Simply request a free consultation today and we’ll call you back as soon as possible to get you started.
Or you can speak to our Account Director, Edgar Fernandes, directly by email at [email protected] or mobile on 07905485657.