There are many ways to get started with PowerApps on the cheap. What I mean by cheap here is the types of licenses that have certain limitations on what you’re allowed to do with the PowerApps platform and apps, in exchange for their lower cost. In other words, “less than PowerApps P2 capabilities.” In this article I’ll try to illustrate what these limitations are, especially when working with data in the Common Data Service (CDS).
As was announced already one year ago, PowerApps Plan 2 at $40/user/month is the official platform SKU that allows you to build and run highly complex custom applications, on top of the same platform that also powers Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) applications. If you have a license for any CE Enterprise App or Plan, you’ve also got the full power of PowerApps P2 at your disposal. As long as you can afford to fork out at least $95/user/month, then you’ll get both the first party Dynamics 365 App plus the unlimited platform usage, which of course is the best scenario in terms of how to digitally transform your business processes with the help of MS Cloud.
When building custom PowerApps, often times the audience that would need to have access to these apps is much larger than your team of sales people who would use the CRM application manage customer interactions and sales pipeline, for example. The apps may be replacements of legacy Excel sheets or even paper forms, which are not all that complex when compared to full Enterprise Sales applications, and they might not even be used that often per single user. However, you may still need to enable each and every employee in the organization to use the application to complete the task it’s designed to manage.
For these kind of scenarios the licenses should preferably fall more into the Office 365 (or Microsoft 365) territory, so that they can be standardized as the tools that all information workers in the company have at their disposal. Luckily there is a plan called “PowerApps for Office 365” that already provides the basic capabilities for app building and usage bundled into the license that almost everyone has these days. The limitations are that it’s really meant only for working within the Office 365 stack of services. The next level up from there, PowerApps Plan 1, is also priced at $7/user/month which is only a fraction of the price of Enterprise Sales App, for example. Here you get access to CDS and various types of connectors to other systems where your business data may reside.
Up until this point, the PowerApps plans and capabilities line up nicely into a stacked Venn diagram with these layers:
Where it starts to get more complex is the Dynamics 365 CE licenses that are below the Enterprise Apps and Plans. These do NOT include the PowerApps P2 capabilities but a different plan called “PowerApps for Dynamics 365 Applications”. In the CE product portfolio, this plan is included with the following licenses:
- Dynamics 365 for Team Members ($8)
- Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Professional ($50)
- Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional ($65)
You should look into the PowerApps & Flow Licensing Guide to get the full details about what the limitations for different plans are. Now, since these type of long documents aren’t great at highlighting what the “gotchas” in the licensing model are, here’s my attempt at drawing a picture around these lower end PowerApps plans and key capabilities. Please note that I’m only covering the Team Member license here when referencing the “PowerApps for Dynamics 365 Applications” plan, as it’s more in line with the price range of the aforementioned “starter” plans.
Let’s start from the left, meaning the one capability that is included even in the “PowerApps for Office 365” plan: run standalone Canvas apps. For some peculiar reason, this is not allowed for users with the “PowerApps for Dynamics 365 Applications” plan. The only thing that they can do is “run extended first-party Dynamics 365 (Model-driven) apps within the context of the application use rights”. So, an embedded Canvas app on the account entity form is allowed, but launching any app directly from either web.powerapps.com or the PowerApps mobile app is forbidden.
This leads to an interesting scenario, because essentially the “PowerApps for Dynamics 365 Applications” plan doesn’t give the users the right to run any type of app that says “PowerApps” in the header bar. Only the applications with “Dynamics 365” branding are within the boundaries of this plan, which makes you wonder why it even need to be a plan in the PowerApps licensing model when the Dynamics 365 licensing should in theory cover it.[Read more…]