Power Platform unlocks the potential of Dynamics 365 and Office 365. It opens the door for non-software developer users within organisations to manage data and electronic forms, automate business processes and enable mobility. An organisation needs licensing to use Power Platform.
In this blog, I want to present a high-level picture of the licensing options and highlight a few points that may not be intuitive. For more details, consult the appropriate licensing Guides:
Currently, there is no power platform license which includes Power BI, PowerApps and Flow. Instead there are separate licenses and different PowerApps and Flow functionality is included within some Office 365 plans and Dynamics 365 Plans.
Power BI Desktop is free. It allows for the creation of Power BI reports from data on the desktop, but not sharing the reports securely.
Power BI Professional is needed for sharing through the organisation and for consuming shared Power BI content.
There are other Power BI options. Power BI Embedded is for Power BI content embedded in a custom application. Power BI Premium is best if you have a large user base (> 10,000 users). There’s Power BI Report Server Only licensing. I found the Power BI Licensing Walk-Through Guide helpful.
It’s important to note that PowerApps is for use by licensed users and NOT external users. All users need to be licensed within the organisation.
PowerApps with Office 365 is included with many O365 subscriptions including Enterprise E1, E2 and E3. It allows the extension and customisation of the Office experience using Canvas Apps with standard connectors (to data sources within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem – like Excel, Outlook and SharePoint) but with no access to the Common Data Service (CDS).
A Canvas App allows development of a tailored mobile user experience via phone, tablet or notebook with full control over the layout – like starting with a blank canvas. A Canvas App can replace paper forms and excel spreadsheets and can include data from multiple sources.
PowerApps Plan 1 allows users to run Canvas Apps which may utilise the Common Data Service (CDS) and connect simply to a much broader range of data sources via premium connectors.
CDS is the data structure that underlies Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and includes the entities (data-tables) utilised by D365 for Sales, Service, Marketing and other business applications.
A Canvas App is ideal for simpler scenarios where user experience is important. It might be used, for example, to gather information from visitors at a trade display and automatically create records in the D365 CRM system.
PowerApps Plan 2 allows Model-Driven Apps in addition to Canvas Apps. Model-Driven Apps are typically driven by data and are most suitable for visualising complex business processes and providing interactive charts and dashboards. They utilise the CDS upon which D365 depends and they look and feel like Apps within D365. (They are actually D365 Unified Interface Apps). There is minimal control over layout. In the past, custom applications were built on the D365 platform. Now, applications can be built with Model-Driven Apps. All the workflow, security and interface functionality available with D365 is available via Model-Driven Apps.
PowerApps licenses always include Flow capabilities. PowerApps Plan 1 includes Flow Plan 1 and PowerApps Plan 2 includes Flow Plan 2.
Flow Plan 1 provides background workflows but not real-time nor business workflows (involving multiple steps and/or braching/stage-gating) or business process flows; all of which which require Flow Plan 2.
Flow can be licensed separately for scenarios which only require workflow.
Power Apps Plan 2 is included in D365 plans and some D365 Apps:
• Dynamics 365 Plan
• Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Plan
• Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan
• Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise
• Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Enterprise
• Dynamics 365 for Field Service
• Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation
• Dynamics 365 Business Central
• Dynamics 365 for Retail
• Dynamics 365 for Talent