Licensing for Microsoft products and services is often confusing, befuddling, or downright incomprehensible. The licensing for PowerApps and Flow is no exception, mostly due to one set of changes that went into effect in February 2019 and a second set of changes that went into effect on October 1, 2019. The goal of this article is to clear up as much of the confusion as possible by documenting PowerApps and Flow licensing as of October 1, 2019.
This blog post was last updated on October 30, 2019.
The following resources were used to compile this blog post.
"New licensing options for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow standalone paid plans", published on July 25, 2019. Make sure to read the body of the post and the comments.
"PowerApps and Microsoft Flow licensing FAQs for October 2019", published on August 28, 2019 and last updated on October 21, 2019.
It is assumed that readers of this article are familiar with PowerApps and Flow. For more information on Microsoft Flow, please visit: https://flow.microsoft.com. For more information on Microsoft PowerApps, please visit: https://powerapps.microsoft.com.
It should also be noted that this article focuses on licensing of PowerApps and Flow for Office 365 users. It does not discuss the differences in licensing between those with an Office 365 tenant and a Dynamics 365 tenant, nor does it cover licensing requirements for Power BI.
PowerApps for Office 365
Your Office 365 subscription includes a license for the users in your tenant to use PowerApps to create canvas applications that connect to data from Office 365 or from external cloud systems via the use of standard connectors. After October 1, there will be a limit on the number of API calls you can make to both PowerApps and Flow per day.
Flow for Office 365
Your Office 365 subscription includes a license for the users in your tenant to Flow to build workflows that connect to data from Office 365 or from external cloud systems via the use of standard connectors. After October 1, 2019 there will no longer be limits on the number of Flow runs a tenant can use in a month but there will be a limit on the number of API calls you can make to both PowerApps and Flow per day.
PowerApps and Flow Premium Features
There are many premium features of PowerApps and Flow. This section calls out the major premium features and gives a brief description of each of them.
PowerApps and Flow have native access to two types of connectors: standard and premium. Apps or flows that only use standard connectors may be authored or executed by any user, apps or flows that use premium connectors may only be authored or executed by those with a premium license.
The HTTP connector, which is a very commonly used connector, changed from being a standard connector to a premium connector on February 1, 2019. Organizations that were using the HTTP connector prior to February 1, 2019 have been granted an extension so that they can continue to use it as if it were a standard connector until January 31, 2020.
The screen capture below shows a subset of the available connectors. To see the full list of available connectors, please visit: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/connectors.
The licensing changes FAQ published on August 28, 2019 included an announcement that the SQL, Azure, and Dynamics 365 connectors listed below will be reclassified from Standard to Premium. Non-Microsoft connectors that had previously been classified as standard connectors will still be available to Office 365 users.
Azure Application Insights
Azure Blob Storage
Azure Data Factory
Azure Data Lake
Azure Event Grid
Azure Event Grid Publish
Azure File Storage
Azure IoT Central
Azure Log Analytics
Azure Log Analytics Data Collector
Azure Resource Manager
Azure SQL Data Warehouse
Azure Table Storage
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights
Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Dynamics 365 Business Central (on-premises)
Custom connectors enable you to communicate with services that do not have an “out-of-the-box” connector. Custom connectors changed from being a standard feature to a premium feature on February 1, 2019. Organizations that were using custom connectors prior to February 1, 2019 have been granted an extension so that they can continue to use them as if they were a standard feature until January 31, 2020. For more information on custom connectors, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/connectors/custom-connectors.
On-premises Data Gateway
The on-premises data gateway provides secure access to on-premises data from PowerApps and Flow. The use of the on-premises data gateway changed from being a standard feature to a premium feature on February 1, 2019. Organizations that were using the on-premises data gateway prior to February 1, 2019 have been granted an extension so that they can continue to use the gateway as if they were a standard feature until January 31, 2020. For more information on the on-premises data gateway, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/analysis-services/analysis-services-gateway.
Administration and Management
Users have traditionally needed a premium license to administer and manage PowerApps and Flow but this appears to be changing. This change was not part of the February 2019 changes, nor is it part of the October 2019 changes. It instead seems to be a separate change that was announced on the PowerApps blog in May 2019 and in the July 25, 2019 blog post linked above. Because this licensing change was announced separately it is unclear if the implementation of the change will sync with the other changes being made in October 2019. For full details, please visit https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/provisioning-and-administration-is-getting-easier.
There are administration portals for both PowerApps and Flow. There is also a combined Power Platform administration portal which, at the time of writing of this article, was still in preview. Any user who can create an app or a flow can access the administration portals however only those users who are tenant administrators or environment administrators (see below) can do much with them.
- Flow administration portal: https://admin.flow.microsoft.com
- PowerApps administration portal: https://admin.powerapps.com
- Power Platform administration portal: https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com
Create and manage environments
An environment is a container you can use to separate apps and flows that have different roles, security requirements, and/or target audiences. For example:
- You might create separate environments that group the test and production versions of your apps.
- You might create separate environments that correspond to specific teams or departments in your company, each containing the relevant data and apps for each audience.
- You might also create separate environments for different global branches of your company.
Each tenant has a default environment where tenant administrators have Environment Administrator privilege and all users have Environment Maker privilege (i.e. all users can create apps and flows). However, the permissions are completely configurable in all additional environments. The permission options and the user interface used to assign permissions will be different depending on whether the environment has a Common Data Service database provisioned inside it or not.
There is more on the Common Data Service later in this article. For more information on environments, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/environments-overview.
Set data loss prevention policies
Administrators can group connectors into those that work with business data and those that work with non-business data. When DLP is in effect, users are prevented from using connectors in both groups in any single app or flow. For example, you could prevent the use of the Twitter connector in the same app or flow that uses the SalesForce connector. For more information on data loss prevention policies, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/wp-data-loss-prevention.
The Power Platform admin center provides access to several analytics reports for both PowerApps and Flow. These reports enable you to monitor the health and performance of existing apps and flows as well as get statistics on the apps and flows users are creating. For more information on Flow analytics, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/analytics-flow. For more information on PowerApps analytics, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/analytics-powerapps.
Common Data Service
Common Data Service lets you securely store and manage business application data that is made up of common entities with well know schemas. Common Data Service includes a base set of standard entities (e.g. Account, Contact, and Task), but you can also create custom entities specific to your organization. For more information on the Common Data Service, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/common-data-service/data-platform-intro.
PowerApps Premium Licenses
In addition to the PowerApps for Office 365 license, there are two premium license plans for PowerApps: the per app plan and the per user plan.
PowerApps premium plans no longer include an equivalent Flow premium plan. From Microsoft's July 25, 2019 blog post: "PowerApps users will continue to be able to run any flow that is triggered directly from an app, or from the data that app updates. However the full standalone capabilities of Microsoft Flow will be reserved for the standalone Flow plans outlined below."
Per app license plan
After October 1, 2019, apps that use premium features will be able to be assigned a premium license. An app that has been assigned a premium license may be used by a set of named users regardless of whether the users consuming the app have a premium license or not. The cost of this type of licenses is $10 USD per user per app per month.
As you can see in the screen capture below, an app is defined something that includes “1 PowerApps Portal and up to 2 custom apps”. From Microsoft's July 25, 2019 blog post: "As an example of a standalone application, customers will be able to deliver a solution for event management that includes: a portal for external users to register, a web app to manage registrations and logistics, and a mobile app for staff to use on site. These assets will be able to be grouped into one scenario and licensed as a single application."
Per user license plan
Users who have been assigned a premium license may build and consume apps that make use of premium features. After October 1, 2019 there will only be a single premium per user license and it will cost $40 USD per month per user.
PowerApps Portals licenses
PowerApps Portals is a new feature that will enable you to build low-code, responsive websites which allow external users to interact with the data stored in the Common Data Service. Internal users of the portal are licensed as described above (i.e. per app or per user licensing). Authenticated external users can access the portal at a cost of $200 USD per 100 log ins. Anonymous external users can access the portal at a cost of $100 USD per 100,000 page views. For more information on PowerApps Portals, please visit https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/portals/overview.
Flow Premium Licenses
In addition to the Flow for Office 365 license, there are two premium license plans for Flow: the per user plan and the per business process plan.
Per user license plan
Users who have been assigned a premium license may build and consume flows that make use of premium features. After October 1, 2019 there will only be a single premium per user license and it will cost $15 USD per month per user.
Per business process license plan
After October 1, 2019, flows that use premium features will be able to be assigned a premium license. A Flow that has been assigned a premium license may be used by any user regardless of whether that user has a premium license or not. The cost of this type of licenses is $500 USD per month for 5 enabled flows. Additional flows can be added at a cost of $100 USD per flow per month.
API Request Limits
Licensed users in an Office 365 tenant may make up to 2,000 API requests in a 24 hour period. You may purchase a PowerApps and Flow capacity add-on for users who may regularly exceed this limit. For more information on the API request limits, please visit: Requests limits and allocations.
The grandfathering for the February 1, 2019 changes have already been mentioned in the body of the article. Organizations that were using the HTTP connector, custom connectors, and/or the on-premises data gateway prior to February 1, 2019 have been granted an extension so that they can continue to use these features as if they were standard features until December 31, 2019.
From the PowerApps and Microsoft Flow licensing FAQs: "The existing P1 and P2 plans for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will be transitioning to the new PowerApps per app and per user plans, as well as the Microsoft Flow per user and per Microsoft Flow plans. Existing customers will be able to maintain the P1 and P2 plans for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow for the duration of their current subscription period, and they may be eligible to also renew under current terms depending upon when their subscription period expires. Similarly, new customers may be able to purchase the existing P1 and P2 plans prior to April 1, 2020. Please contact your Microsoft account rep for more information."