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New PowerApps and Flow Licensing coming October 1, 2019

If you haven't seen the announcement yet about the Licensing changes that are coming to PowerApps and Flow starting on October 1, 2019 you really need to read the following Blog. This announcement was originally made at Inspire this year, but has undergone a number of significant changes.  Make sure you read this and understand what it means to you and your organization.

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/new-licensing-options-for-powerapps-and-flow/

Comments
What will happen with shared apps in Office 365 environment? For example, let’s say I have an app that uses Azure SQL connector (which will become Premium) that I shared with 10 other Office 365 users. Will all 10 app users have to purchase a PowerApps plan or is 1 plan enough for the app owner starting from the 1st of October 2019?
All users will need to have a license.

Keep in mind of the grandfathered period until 2024 if you already have your app in production using the Azure SQL connector.

@Eickhel  could you please comment on "app in production"? for example: if i create and publish an app till 1st of october, will it count as app on production?

 

And if i am going to make some changes, updates to this app after 1st of october?

According to the docs ( you can also check your Office 365 message center ), if the app was deployed before Oct. 1st it will be granted the grandfathered period. During this period you will be able to use the Azure SQL connector as if it was a standard one.

App in production just means an app that has been shared and Published.  It should also include any apps that you wrote for yourself.

@Pstork1 

So, if I create and deploy 50 dummy apps (basically just a start screen and the connector) to production those apps will be free to use the next 5 years? I can then change/update the apps as needs within the organization arises; i.e. App39 can be the new ticketing system 2 years from now?

Theoretically, yes.  But its a clear attempt to do an end run around the new licensing.  So will it hold up if MS takes notice?  Not sure.

 

The problem is that to establish the connector you need a database and I don't think you can really edit the connector and change the database later.  So you would also need to spin up 50 databases on 50 different server aliases (so that you could move them later if needed).

@Pstork1 

How about using an SQL elastic pool? I think you can have any number of db's within a fixed cost base. The more active databases you get you can just scale up the resources of the pool. I'm not really sure if this would work.

I don't know if that would work either.  I've never tried connecting to an elastic pool.  Either way its still violates the spirit of the exception even if it doesn't violate the letter of the law.

The law changes without notice. MS recommended in june to split our main app into smaller focused apps for performance reasons. We were also recommended to move to either CDS or SQL for the same reasons. We did both and invested resources into this. One month later they dump this news on us. Our smallest customer - 100 users - will need to cough up a minimum of 12.000 USD per year IF we manage to squeeze everything into one app - 48.000 USD if not. Outrageous.

 

If creating 50 dummy apps and using an SQL elastic pool (with 50 idle databases) can get us around this I have no qualms about it.

I have another scenario that I would like to discuss.

Let say I have a canvas app that are primarly used on PC's (tablet mode, horizontal) and there is also a demand for a less feature packed mobile app (mobile mode, vertical). That means two PowerApps connecting to the same data source (Azure SQL).

Will that mean that I need two $10/app/user/month licenses?

My understanding is that the license is actually per 'business process' which may be served by up to two Apps, so I guess if you need a full fledged desktop and cut-down mobile app, that would be permissable under a single 'App'/User/Month subscription. Though how that will be policed and who defines what counts as a 'business process' will be interesting to see.

Thanks!

I have so many discussions around this with my customers rigth now and there are so many things that are unclear. 😕

I hope you are correct 🙂


@MagnusGöransson wrote:

Thanks!

I have so many discussions around this with my customers rigth now and there are so many things that are unclear. 😕

I hope you are correct 🙂


If you are at the planning stage it may pay to accelerate your development to get 'minimum viable product' apps in place (using the Azure SQL Connector) before October 1st so they are grandfathered in for 5 years. You then have breathing space to evaluate other products/technologies (we're investigating Progressive Web Apps for cross-platform, cross form-factor apps that are easy to deploy and can access on-device features like camera and gps) that may offer a value-proposition closer to the old licensing for PowerApps.

The per App license can cover an app that contains two applications, so for that scenario I think you should be fine with one $10 license per user using either app.  But remember if you have 4 Apps like that you are already at the same cost as the standalone license at $40 per user/month and that covers unlimited numbers of Apps.

Hi All 

 

This is such a disaster we are now starting to deploy PowerApps and these changes have now put the brakes on our initiative

 

I do have a question if anyone could clarify. 

 

We have about 15 existing apps that use Azure SQL connectors, etc. I understand this will hold for 5 years before turning into premium. All my Office 365 user have access to these apps. So I have 5 years to use these apps before making any decision. Do I still need to pay on top of my Office 365 licenses for all my user to have access to these apps i.e. 40USD per user during the 5 years? Or does the Office 365 license cover user access for the next 5 years while the connector changes from standard to premium?

If the Apps fall under the exemption that grandfathers them in then you do not need premium licenses for any of your users to access and use those existing apps.

For 5 year grandfathering question, you can find the information here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/powerapps-flow-licensing-faq#how-does-the-chan...

 

Also most of these questions are covered in FAQ here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/powerapps-flow-licensing-faq

@dileeps 

That FAQ leaves a lot of questions to be answered as you can see in this thread. It seems MS screwed a lot of ISV's and Business App creators with this change. Lesson learned.

FAQ covers all the common questions and principles, however not every possible permutation/combination. If there are specific questions you have, do let us knw, we can answer it and also add it to FAQ 

@dileeps 

Read this thread! Lot's of specific questions and concerns - you will see migration from PowerApps! The "grandfather period" is pointless for potential devs/users; if MS sticks to this model PowerApps is dead as a platform for developing Business Apps from an ISV point of view (and for developing internal Business Apps based on anything else than SharePoint lists).

We were told in june to split up our app into more focused apps (from 1 to 7-8) and to move from SharePoint lists to CDS or SQL so we are basically screwed right now. Monthly costs for us and our customers will quadruple unless we can find creative ways to circumvent the new licensing.

This requirement for 30 user minimum is removed and is not longer enforced

For Question 1, it is max of 2 app per user per business process. 

 

The way number of passes (thats what we call them :)) would be determined would be based on how many (and what type) of apps your users who do not have a licensed access. So if your users use only specific apps and not everything, then the number of passes are based on what they will use. 

 

Later this month, we will also try to do a deepdive webinar on how this will technically look in the product

Sure i will try to go through and anwer any unanswered question. 

 

For your specific question around 7-8 apps, i will suggest to check if most of the apps are accessed by all users or only certain population (thats typically reason for breakup). If yes, then per app model is really for 2 apps/user/business process and if distinct users are using different apps, then you might still be able to use per app license model.

I think it would be easier if MS would re-think their "standard to premium" connector changes.

 

That would solve almost 70% of complaints.

@dileeps 

The "per app" plan where you can have 2 apps whithin a "business process" is really vague. What does it mean and how is it enforced/policed?

If we have 7-8 apps it's really difficult to know which user needs which app. So either they get a "per app" license which is 10 USD per app or they pay 40 USD to use all apps. On average I think they will need the "per user" license which will increase the cost of our smallest customer from 0 USD to 48.000 USD per year (100 users). Right now they have a E3/E5 license which have zero cost.

As clear evidence of this, I already brought this up with my leadership and the decision came down to a) stop PowerApps development, b) investigate other options, c) determine which apps to refactor and which to just retire.  Now, to be fair, we are a company of only 300 employees but laying a $40/app/user/month for just PowerApps.  Then we also pay for the other Microsoft services such as Azure etc.  Had we known these prices to begin with we would have simply done our apps in Node.js / Angular or React.

 

Microsoft is truly hurting themselves with this approach for several reasons.  First, much of PowerApps is still being refined and essential features are still not complete.  Case in point, examine the connectors and see which support delegation (a key enterprise feature).  Only SQL Server is a credibly complete connector -- though does not support triggers -- and certainly shouldn't be considered premium.  All otherconnectors are missing key operands.  Consider also the PDF viewer which is a no-brainer requirement of most business applications.  Even something this critical is still listed as an experimental feature and requires access in a completely unsecure approach (although I and others have finally figured out how to do it securely).  Point is, Microsoft really should understand PowerApps / Flow position and realize these products are still fighting for segment and not dominating.  Ther are alternatives and they are more robust than PowerApps.  Not sure Microsoft is reading the market correctly and my bet is that you are not.  As a Microsoft fan, I hope I am wrong.


@wjhepworth wrote:

< the decision came down to a) stop PowerApps development, b) investigate other options >


Solid decision making based on the evidence.  Good leadership.  You guys are not alone.  


@wjhepworth wrote:

Microsoft is truly hurting themselves with this approach for several reasons.  First, much of PowerApps is still being refined and essential features are still not complete.

Agreed. PowerApps has such potential. I think MS realized it and got greedy.

Maybe this should be another thread but....like most (all?) of you, I am forced to leave Powerapps (can't go from $0 to $300,000/year).  So what are the alternatives you are all looking at?    

@pulsebeat 

We're still in denial. Flabbergasted. But clearly we have to look at alternatives down the road during the "grandfather period" which MS "graciously" offers us (terms still to be negotiated, thank you).

 

https://www.mendix.com/resources/gartner-2019-magic-quadrant-for-enterprise-low-code-application-pla...

Something that gets to me with this whole thing is that MS (or that part of MS at least) seems to be confusing PaaS and SaaS.

Sometimes, our business is willing to pay 10$/month/user for a fully-featured, top quality, key-in-hand piece of software that solves a non-mission-critical problem. We came accross Sql Database Modeler two weeks ago and it was just the case: It was a bit of unexpected spending, but we felt it was worth our money.

But PowerApps is a platform. You still have to build (and support/maintain) the **bleep** things. ^^ And no matter how talended I am, it's not going to be to the level of a real SaaS offering since, for one, I am not a team of full-time developper dedicated to a subject.

THAT, more than anything, is where I feel PowerApps (Dynamics flavoured) is going wrong : it's a middleware platform asking for a final product pricing scheme. No power user can convince their boss to grant them license money AND spend days building something. "Can't you find something on the market that does more or less what you want" I hear them say (real SaaS approach). "Can't you just do an Excel spreadsheet like we do for everything else?" (real platform approach).

We as professionals have often been the silent, under-the-radar evangilazors of MS solutions, but now we are cut out from our typical usecase and can't help propagate the solution.

The only opportunties left is when corporate buyers and sellers agree on a massive deployment and someone at IT realises "well, now that we're paying for this thing I've never heard about, i guess I need to find some use for it".

Because lets face it : despite its potential, PowerApps is still largely unheard of. For most folks, there are still quite a few steps in that AIDA model before a purchase. Now the whole buttom-up approach is dead, and the top-down one will fail to takeoff without strong community support from power users and consultants.

This is truly a sad and terrible mistake. 😞


@FredericForest wrote:

Something that gets to me with this whole thing is that MS (or that part of MS at least) seems to be confusing PaaS and SaaS.

Sometimes, our business is willing to pay 10$/month/user for a fully-featured, top quality, key-in-hand piece of software that solves a non-mission-critical problem. We came accross Sql Database Modeler two weeks ago and it was just the case: It was a bit of unexpected spending, but we felt it was worth our money.

But PowerApps is a platform. You still have to build (and support/maintain) the **bleep** things. ^^ And no matter how talended I am, it's not going to be to the level of a real SaaS offering since, for one, I am not a team of full-time developper dedicated to a subject.

THAT, more than anything, is where I feel PowerApps (Dynamics flavoured) is going wrong : it's a middleware platform asking for a final product pricing scheme. No power user can convince their boss to grant them license money AND spend days building something. "Can't you find something on the market that does more or less what you want" I hear them say (real SaaS approach). "Can't you just do an Excel spreadsheet like we do for everything else?" (real platform approach).

We as professionals have often been the silent, under-the-radar evangilazors of MS solutions, but now we are cut out from our typical usecase and can't help propagate the solution.

The only opportunties left is when corporate buyers and sellers agree on a massive deployment and someone at IT realises "well, now that we're paying for this thing I've never heard about, i guess I need to find some use for it".

Because lets face it : despite its potential, PowerApps is still largely unheard of. For most folks, there are still quite a few steps in that AIDA model before a purchase. Now the whole buttom-up approach is dead, and the top-down one will fail to takeoff without strong community support from power users and consultants.

This is truly a sad and terrible mistake. 😞


I agree wholeheartedly. We use power apps for simple things such as Training booking calendars, HR Campaign Trackers and Photo ID badge creation. For the new licensing costs we can buy a dedicated, more feature rich Service to replace all of our in house built systems and still have enough money left over to have a company day out.

 

Can you imagine if Microsoft decided to licence VB, C or other Visual studio language components the same way? I know you've bought visual studio for all your developers and the hardware to run the apps and created the SQL databases, but now you will need to pay a monthly subscription to use the connection between these servers as well...

I'm more disappointed than anything else tbh, I've campaigned for powerapps use with great initial resistance, and now the company is bought in and starting to see some of the benefits, its being taken away due to crazy licencing costs.

5 yr grace period???  but who is going to use something they already know is outdated knowing they need something else 5 years from now.  I have already dumped my powerapps.

Well, in terms of being outdated, not sure the the PowerApps platform can be classified that way.  While none of us are happy about the pricing, it is still a great platform.  If it weren't, nobody here would care.

 

Hey @PaulD1 ,

Did you hear that there are grandfathering arrangemends for 5 years for existing apps and flows?

Good comments Fred - I think that the licensing offered really is unfit for large organisations - they are going to have to do a lot better to deal with this audience.


@rorybi wrote:

Good comments Fred - I think that the licensing offered really is unfit for large organisations - they are going to have to do a lot better to deal with this audience.


Funny thing is : small organisations feel exactly the same Smiley LOL. I deal with both SMB and multinational enterprises, and I've yet to hear someone say it's a great value proposition...

KC

It's still too early to tell and I'm still trying to wrap my head around all this like many others.

I have no idea what my employer will or won't do in regards to the new licensing just yet.

I have no involvment in the decision making in regards to licensing.

 

I have been a PowerApps Champion in my organization for almost two years now and based on my reccomendations, posts, and tutorials, other departments have or are starting to develop with the PowerApp platform as well.

 

I will still reccomend PowerApps for SharePoint list forms but with this new licensing it will be a hard sell on other types of app development.

 

Based on my past experience I suspect within our organization that PowerApps will now be restricted to SharePoint list forms only as replacement for InfoPath.

 

The majority of the mobile versions of PowerApps will most likely be eliminated.

I will need to refactor, I mean port over to another platform, all PowerApps that rely on connectors.

 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not abandoning the platform, but I forsee that more than likely I will be developing with PowerApps much less due to these license changes.

Going forward, since I've also been developing internal department apps with REACT, Angular and .NET for several years now,

If there is any fallout, and there will be, from the new PowerApps licensing, I'll just start developing more web and SharePoint apps with Angular, REACT and .NET 

 

Not yet sure about Flow, but given that the majority of apps I develop have to be made available to all employees worldwide. The number of employees could be over a 100,000 contractors, fulltime and temporary workers at any given time, Flow will be restricted as well. 

 

As for developing mobile apps, I can always get back up to speed on SWIFT if need be. We are an iOS only house.

 

PowerApps is a wonderful platform to develop with, it has been a pleasure working in this environment.

I truly believe there is no easier nor faster way to develop and that you Microsoft should be able to make money from it.

But I also agree with everyone else on this forum that this is too drastic a change.

 

My department and I suspect our other deparments will follow, All PowerApps projects that require connectors, that require data sources other than SharePoint will be terminated and evaluated to see if we wish to port to another platform or just shelved, which is a shame.

 

 

Powerapps, for us - and probably for many - is (was) a great tool for developing spot solutions that significantly improve manual, admin, paper-based processes.  For example, in the past our employees would request reimbursement for attending a conference by completing a form and emailing it to Finance.  Using Powerapps, this can now do this online.  Flow sends out alerts, tracks approval status, etc.  The data is saved in SQL rather than in a binder and can therefore be used for many other purposes. 

 

Very nice and clearly an improvement.  But how much of an improvement?  What is the dollar value of that improvement?  We have perhaps 20 of these solutions now, with more in the works.  Everything from identifying employee skills, to assigning desks.  But what is key here is that none of these are business related or critical in any way.  None add to our revenue or materially help our revenue generators do their jobs better or more efficiently.  And to be frank, our leadership is not all that concerned about the few minutes of admin time these apps save.   When we do need a business critical solution, we do what everyone else does.  We buy it or in rare cases, we unleash our crack team of programmers to build it.  Using Powerapps to build core business apps would be a very bad idea – it’s buggy, slow, limited functionality, on and on. 

 

So imagine what it was like when I went to leadership and said, “hey, you know those cool little apps that allow people to register for conferences, include CPR as a skill, and update their address….well they will now cost you a quarter million annually to run. “    I literally had to pull up the Microsoft licensing page to convince them I wasn’t kidding or insane. 

Not that I think anything will come from it, but I thought I would add to the discontent.  I have been casting vision over the last year for how PowerApps could work into a microservices architecture that is being developed.  We were talking about employee portals that would have an app catalog with access to all of the relevant services.  I have been loving PowerApps and Flow and the idea of citizen development.  I've been actively promoting these in our company.  If I am understanding this correctly, this change is going to cost near a million dollars a year for our company.  As much as I love PowerApps, the only obvious choiced is to completely scrap everything aside from the most basic SharePoint list replacements and move into another tool.  I'm really disappointed by this. 

I understand the sentiment, but for the record there is more included in the seeded license than just the list replacement forms in SharePoint.  Any standalone App or Flow that uses SharePoint or OneDrive as a data source is also included. I suspect your ananlysis is still true since the kind of services architecture you are describing probably includes custom connectors and those just went from $7 per user to $40.

You have a hard job @Pstork1 (especially since it's not an "official" one !). But kudos on keeping the postive side on ! 🙂

Cheers !

I FEEL your pain. Thiscould be a killer for our plans as well. There's just no way to justify this cost. I was in LOVE with this solution and platform and we were 100% on board and cheerleading this solution. Also using Azure SQL, 12 apps so far, with many, many more in the pipeline. 

Well I've sent my weekend working (Thanks for that too btw Microsoft!) on moving our existing app over to Sharepoint Lists, since I hadn't seen the 5 year grandfather clause. I've managed to get it working for the most part but one thing I have learned is that SP will not be suitable for the further apps we have planned. The non delegable tables are almost impossible to work with.

That kills Powerapps completely for us. There can be no further development on the platform. Such a pain since I sold the whole concept to the company myself and it had been a really big hit up until now.

 

I will now be recomending the next app, and the current app, are outsourced to a third party. At this point I don't even want Microsoft handling my emails. 

I do see that the seeded license is still going to have a fair amount of functionality, but only for small scale apps.  There are two things that are really hurting me here.  One is that they are moving SQL into a paid connector.  This kills my ability to interact with any other enterprise level applications without going into custom connectors and hitting the same wall.  The other thing that is hurting me is that they are pulling PowerApps licenses out of the D365 licenses.  (This is my understanding from the cryptic information I have read)  We have thousands of those licenses and use them when needed to get the P2 plan.  So we'll keep building apps, but they'll target small groups and not be able to connect to enterprise data.  I had really hoped that we would be able to make PowerApps a true part of our application infrastructure, but not for a million dollars a year.  We are feeling the same thing from the flow side of the house.  We were about to start creating some pretty cool workflows, but it just isn't feasible now.  

 

To add an attempt at being constructive, I resonate with the folks that would prefer a pay per use type approach.  We deploy apps to over 3000 users.  Because we create micro-apps some of these apps may be used 2-20 times per day, but they have to be deployed to the whole company.  I wish there was a way to let everyone have access but not be carrying a $40/user/month price tag if they don't engage with the tool.

Does anyone know how long Microsoft will let us use BCS to connect to Azure SQL?  This connection works in PowerApps but I am afraid to re-create my apps using connections to external lists until I know how long its going to be around.  I know they have said no further development is being done but they have articles written this year showing how to use it in current SharePoint online version.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/manage-business-connectivity-service-applications

Does anyone know if there is a time bomb on this as well?  I cannot use Azure Sql if its only going to work until 2024...

Still looking for a workaround for this that doesnt cost $40 per user per month...

@Audrie-MSFT 

Wat I don't get is why only allow 2 apps on the first-tier model ($10/user). What is that about? You cannot build too complex apps in PowerApps like you can with Visual Studio. We have built many small apps to tackle the business needs for the company accessing their SQL database. With the P1 license, even though you paid $7.00 / user, you had access to all the apps. So now my users can only access two of them? Why?

 

And that reaises a question: Can I then pay $5.00 / user under the Office365 Business license so my users can have access to all apps and the $10.00 /user on the powerApps side will take care of the SQL connector? If that is so, why would anyone buy the $40.00? and if that is not so, why would anyone go from $10.00 to $40.00 just to access different apps within the organization?

Most of the D365 plans still include a seeded license that covers the premium features, that hasn't changed.  

Just to add my two cents; 

 

It makes it really tricky for us to move forward, we have only created canvas apps using SharePoint (thank god), but we were right in the middle of planning a rollout to 800 users with a series of apps using SQL (following the advice to chunk down the apps).

 

I get that the PowerApps team need to pull in some money and that the O365 licence fee may not cut it if they want to ramp it up to the next level - but to make this feasible for our company it would cost like £5K a month for two apps and £20K a month for unlimited apps - so yeh for that kind of money we could start an in house development team - then we can make our own rules, apps and do whatever we want, so it wouldn't make sense to do this. 

 

Another thing that strikes me as interesting is that coding and developing in general will get easier and easier as we go forward - with prices like these, it has made me wonder after all the pain and bugs and issues to get PowerApps working the way that I wanted it to (and still be a the mercy of licencing changes), why don't I just pick up coding for real - I am half way there! - sure its way more complicated - I know, but that won't stop people, have you seen VS2019? : ).

 

In my mind the whole workforce is moving slowly in a direction where coding will be way more common place than it is now, and (in my view) there may be a world where developing the canvas app from scratch is just quicker, cheaper and better. And moves like this where everything just gets expensive - simply nudges people in DIY direction. 

 

The potential and price-point of powerapps inspired thousands to learn a new skill and spend hours and hours working on issues, creating communities, working together, and helping each other - the pricepoint has now changed, but to me that is a critical part of what allowed all this great stuff to happen, and if that's gone. then it won't be long before something else comes along to take its place. 

 

@Pstork1  - many Kudos for your solid answers on this post, much respect. 

 

And Microsoft - you have created awesome products and your approach has been spot on up to this point, I hope that this continues either way this goes down. 

 

 

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