Dynamics 365 vs. Power Apps licensing – What you need to know

John PhillipsIndustry Updates, Product Updates

LAST UPDATED: 5th April 2024
The details outlined in this article appear to have been removed by Microsoft in the latest April 2024 Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide. Therefore, we can only assume that the changes announced in March are no longer applicable. We will update this article once we are able to seek further clarification.

Microsoft’s licensing model is complex, particularly with the functionality crossovers between Dynamics 365 and Power Apps which both use Dataverse as the underlying common data model. Recently, they have sought to clarify the fundamental distinctions.

Dynamics 365 & Power Apps – the overlap

Dynamics 365 licences are designed for specific business applications within the Dynamics 365 suite, such as Sales or Customer Service, with a licence granting access to pre-built business processes. Power Apps licences, on the other hand, are more versatile and cover a broader spectrum, allowing users to create, customise, and run custom applications using the Power Apps platform without being tied to a specific Dynamics 365 application. However, when these licences are combined, it leads to somewhat of a grey area.

When an environment is created with Dynamics 365 apps enabled, additional tables are created, such as the Lead and Case tables, which are utilised by Dynamics 365, but can also be accessed by someone with a Power Apps licence. Microsoft had indicated that certain functionality within these tables would require an appropriate Dynamics 365 licence, but their guidance had never been specific, leading to an element of confusion as to whether the cheaper Power Apps licences could be used to access this ‘restricted’ functionality.

Up until now, Microsoft’s own guidance as to what these restrictions were has been limited to this page of restricted tables, with no mention of functionality beyond basic create, read, update and delete actions.

Microsoft Licensing Guide update – March 2024

In Microsoft’s latest edition of their Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide (PDF download) they have added clarification of where a Dynamics 365 Licence would be required:

“Dynamics 365 applications use Dataverse capacity and features to store and secure data. Power Apps users who have a Power Apps license may use custom applications to access (that is, create, read, update or delete) any Dynamics 365 non-restricted table in the Dataverse. However, Power Apps users and devices that need to create, update, or delete data in Dynamics 365 restricted tables must be properly licensed for Dynamics 365.”

Currently, the guide then links to a page which lists these restricted tables, but since its publication, additional restrictions have been detailed on a new page within the Dynamics 365 Sales documentation that adds these further tables:

  • Opportunity Product
  • Quote Product
  • Forecast
  • Forecast Configuration
  • Sequence

A user with just a Power Apps licence should not be creating or editing rows in these tables as they would not be compliant. Currently, this is not enforced at a system level, but we would not be surprised if this is something that will come later, so administrators and business owners should ensure compliance sooner rather than later.

Restricted Actions and Controls

In addition to previous list of restricted tables as well as the additions detailed above, Microsoft have also listed the Sales-specific actions and controls that would also require a Sales licence:

Restricted Actions

  • Lead – Qualify Lead
  • Opportunity – Win, Lose and Recalculate
  • Quote – Generate Quote from Opportunity, Revise, Win, Create Order
  • Invoice – Create Invoice from Opportunity, Cancel, Fulfil, Convert Order to Invoice

Restricted Controls

  • Sales Accelerator
  • Pipeline View
  • Forecasting Grid
  • Forecast Configuration
  • Who Knows Whom widget
  • Up Next widget
  • Relationship Analytics widget
  • Predictive Lead and Opportunity Scoring widgets

Although the new guidance focuses specifically on Dynamics 365 Sales, we would expect to see additional documentation updates in due course for other Dynamics applications.

How can I check my organisation is compliant with Microsoft Dynamics licensing?

Microsoft’s Solution Checker, which analyses and identifies potential issues or improvements in custom Power Apps solutions, has recently been updated with new rules that can assist administrators with the task of ensuring compliance. The checker itself has no access to your current licences, so it lists the tables that require Dynamics 365 licences. There is a separate guide available on the Solution Checker here.

Summary

It is good to see Microsoft providing specific detail on what tables, actions and controls are not covered by Power Apps licences and we expect there will be further clarity to come. It does however mean that some organisations who believed they were complying with Microsoft’s licensing terms may now face the need to at least review their usage and potentially upgrade to Dynamics 365-specific licences.

Existing clients of Strategy 365 can get in touch with us to initiate a review of their licences or, if you are not already a client, why not contact one of our licensing experts to discuss your concerns and potential options.

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