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Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners

NOTE: Since this post was written, Microsoft has updated pricing.  For current pricing, see

Next month marks two years since Microsoft announced the preview of its Flow workflow automation product.  Since then, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow have been gaining in popularity.

We at InfoStrat are receiving more questions from customers on how PowerApps and Flow are licensed by Microsoft.  This is a brief overview with links to authoritative Microsoft resources with all the details.

What are PowerApps and Flow?

Microsoft PowerApps is a framework derived from Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) that allow you to build apps either with or without a form interface.  PowerApps works with Microsoft Flow.

Microsoft Flow is is a cloud software tool to build automated workflows that connect to many Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems and services.  For instance, you could write a workflow which would create a record in Dynamics 365 whenever a new file is dropped in a SharePoint folder, or create a contact in Salesforce based on an email sent to your sales alias.

Both PowerApps and Flow are designed with end users and well as professional developers in mind.  Simple business applications may be implemented in minutes. Microsoft calls PowerApps a "no cliffs application development platform." This means that as your needs become more demanding you can stick with the same tools rather than falling off the cliff of changing from one product to another.

PowerApps subscriptions include Flow, but Flow subscriptions do not include PowerApps.

How Do You Purchase PowerApps and Flow?

Flow and PowerApps are purchased as monthly user subscriptions.  Although Flow and PowerApps are cloud solutions, they may be used to connect with your on premises software.

You can purchase through any Microsoft sales channel such as volume licensing, Cloud Solution Providers like InfoStrat, and online direct sales (commercial and government).

One way to purchase PowerApps is through a subscription plan which includes Flow as mentioned above.

You can also buy Flow licenses on their own, without PowerApps.

As shown above, Flow is sold based on the number of transactions, or "runs" that occur each month for each user. A run is when a Flow is invoked either by a user action or another trigger.  You can reduce the number of runs by designing your apps to fire Flow only when really needed.  For instance, if you have a Flow which is only required for each customer located in California, add a check for the state field as a condition before the Flow rather than having the Flow process every customer record and only take action on those with the state of California.

Where It Gets Interesting - Bundling of Flow and PowerApps

I started with the simplest examples of purchasing PowerApps and Flow individually.  What makes it more interesting is that PowerApps and Flow are also bundled with other products.

Office 365 includes PowerApps for Office 365 and Dynamics 365 includes PowerApps for Dynamics 365, both of which contain Flow.  Some Dynamics products as listed about include PowerApps Plan 2 and Flow Plan 2 which provide a greater number of Flow runs as shown below:

One of the best things about the bundled Flow subscriptions is that Flow runs included in the Office 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Flow Plan 1 and Plan 2 are pooled across all users in your organization. For if you have 100 users of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement you now have 1,500,000 Flow runs per month for your organization.  And that doesn't count what you are likely to own with your Office 365 subscription.

You can also buy additional storage for PowerApps and common data in a similar fashion to buying Dynamics 365 storage.  Flow runs may be purchases for Flow Plan 1 and Plan 2 at $40 for 50K Runs.

Sources and Additional Information:
Billing and metering questions
Flow pricing page
PowerApps and Flow licensing guide

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