The Power Platform from Microsoft is a suite of tools designed for businesses to analyse data, automate processes, create applications and build virtual agents. It comprises Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and newly added Power Pages. These no-code or low-code tools are designed to be “citizen-led”. This means that ordinary employees are able to use them to build powerful, new ways of working.
Licensing for Microsoft Power Platform operates on a per-user basis, offering various plans tailored to specific user needs. There are three types of licensing plans per-app, per-user or comprehensive standalone options, granting access to Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. Each plan has different features and pricing, allowing you to choose the most suitable option based on your requirements and scale of operations. For these reasons, Microsoft licensing for Power Platform users can be confusing, so we’ve summarised and simplified it for you, focusing on the questions we hear most often.
If you’re developing solutions in Power Apps using SharePoint as a data source, all you need is a trial license for Power Apps. SharePoint is classified as a “standard connector” which doesn’t require premium licensing. However, you will need to renew these trial licenses either monthly or at three-monthly intervals. If you don’t proactively renew, your access to the application will be continually interrupted by auto-generated prompts to renew.
When Power Apps are developed with Dataverse as the data source, you’ll need a premium licensing tier. This is because Dataverse is a “premium connector” in Microsoft’s licensing model. Both developers and users accessing these applications will need Power Apps Premium licenses. This is a critical consideration for applications intended for broad distribution or enterprise use.
If your solution incorporates Robotic Process Automation (RPA) features, particularly those that involve cloud flows or premium connectors, you’ll need Power Automate premium licenses. This applies to both creators and users of these automated processes.
The licensing requirements for end users of the apps or automations (not the developers) depend on the nature of the application. If the application uses only standard connectors (like SharePoint) without premium features, then standard Power Apps licenses should be fine. However, if the application uses premium features such as Dataverse or premium connectors, then the end users will also need premium licenses, regardless of their role in the application’s development or usage.
Understanding Power Automate Desktop Licensing
Power Automate Desktop allows users to automate web and desktop applications through a visual design interface. Licensing for Power Automate Desktop can vary; it may be included as part of certain Microsoft 365 plans or require a separate Power Automate per user plan for advanced capabilities.
Navigating Microsoft Power Automate Licensing
The Microsoft Power Automate Licensing Guide is available on Microsoft’s official documentation website. It provides detailed information on the different licensing options, including criteria, benefits and costs associated with each plan. This guide is essential for understanding the specifics of what each license offers and determining which plan best fits your automation needs.
Exploring Power Automate License Limits
Each Power Automate license comes with its set of limitations, such as the number of flow runs per month, the number of active flows a user can create, and access to premium connectors. It’s crucial to understand these limits for planning and scaling your automation strategies within the boundaries of your chosen license.
Differentiating Power Automate License Types
You can categorise Power Automate licenses into several types, including free, per user and per flow licenses. The free license offers basic features ideal for individual users or small-scale automation. In contrast, per user and per flow licenses have extensive capabilities, suitable for enterprise-level automation needs, including access to premium connectors and higher limits on automation runs.
Meeting Power Automate License Requirements
Each Power Automate license has specific requirements, for example, you will need to have an existing Microsoft 365 subscription or the capability for certain types of automation (e.g., cloud-based vs. on-premises). Users must ensure they meet these requirements to utilise Power Automate effectively, particularly when accessing premium features or deploying automation across large teams.
Understanding Power Automate Free License Limitations
The Power Automate Free License is designed for users to explore the capabilities of Power Automate at no cost. However, it includes limitations like a reduced number of runs per month, limited access to premium connectors and restricted flow creation capabilities. This license is best suited for personal use or for those beginning to explore automation.
Advanced Licensing Questions
Power Automate Desktop is a component of the broader Power Platform ecosystem, which includes Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents. You can achieve a unified approach to automation and analytics across these services by integrating them, but you might need additional licensing, especially when utilising data connectors that bridge these services together.
Licensing policies typically restrict the sharing or transferring of licenses directly between users to ensure compliance with Microsoft’s licensing terms. However, organisational administrators can reassign licenses as needed within their tenant. This allows for flexibility in managing resource allocation and access to Power Automate features.
Licensing Strategy and Optimisation
To optimise your Power Automate licensing strategy, you will need to assess the company’s specific automation needs, usage patterns and growth plans. By carefully selecting the right mix of per user and per flow licenses, you can ensure they have the flexibility and capacity to scale efficiently. Regularly reviewing and adjusting the licensing strategy in response to changing needs can also help in maximising the value derived from Power Automate.
If you’re still struggling to get your head around Microsoft licensing for Power Platform users, or if this article hasn’t answered your specific question, get in touch. We’re always happy to help with licensing advice. You might also find our book “Process Automation for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses” useful. Get your free copy here.
All information is correct at the time of writing. Microsoft often changes its licensing policy, so please check in with us for the latest information.