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Steve reads his Blog

Nov 25, 2019

Many of you have probably heard me talk about the new Power Apps Per App Plans. At $10ea, I know a lot of people are inquiring about it from my Save 90% post a while back. It's real, but it's different. Until Jukka writes the definitive post on this, I will give you my thoughts.


One thing that most everyone can agree on, is that licensing for the Power Platform is complicated. It was complicated enough when it was just user-based licensing to determine what license a user needed, for whatever it was they needed to do. Now we have "Capacity-based" licensing. The simpler examples are things like storage, where when you run out, you add some storage "capacity". But capacity-based licensing is spreading it's wings.

Would you like fries with that?

Addons are a model you will continue hearing more about from Microsoft Business Applications Group. In a way, it is moving from pure user-based licensing to more of a consumption model... sorta. We currently have five items so far that are offered as "Capacity Addons" for the Power Platform:

  1. AI Builder Credits
  2. Portal Logins
  3. Portal Page Views
  4. Flow per Business Processes
  5. App Passes

These $10 "licenses" I have been talking about, are the "App Passes".

Taking a Pass

App Passes are not the same as User Licenses. First, they are assigned to an App; or more specifically to an Azure AD Group, more on this later. This makes sense as they are designed for accessing a particular App as opposed to just anything. Using App Passes is a three-step process: 1) Purchase, 2) Allocate, and 3) Consume. This sounds easier than it is, depending on what you want to do.


To purchase App Passes Microsoft refers you to the licensing guide. According the guide, you can purchase these passes through all of the normal channels, so the same place you buy your licenses today should have them. While Microsoft refers to the Per App plan as a means for users to "Get Started" . I am sure many users will never go beyond them. I'll discuss what you can do with these passes in a moment.


This can get a little tricky. Once you have passes available and allocated to your environment, you can allocate them to users by simply sharing a "Canvas" App with other users. While Canvas apps certainly have their place, the real goal is to use these passes with a model-driven app, in my opinion. So how do you do that? First, you have to create an AAD group, then you would assign the "PowerApps Per App Baseline access" to the group, you can get that here. After that, add your users to the group. Are we done? Not yet. The next step is to generate a Canvas app from the CDS environment that you plan to use the passes with. You can use the automated app generator for this, as I don't think you will use this canvas app for anything later, here's how. Now assign the security role to the group who will use the Model-Driven app. Then share the Canvas app with the group, and finally share the Model-driven app with the same group and assign the security role for that. Wow! They are not making this $10 pass easy to use. Stay tuned for Jukka's much more detailed step-by-step that I will suggest that he write.


You will need to indicate for which apps you want to allow Per App Passes to be assignable. Here's how to do that.

Is it worth the effort?

This will depend on how you plan to use apps in general. Instead of "Per App", you could opt for "Per User" License. Per User Licenses are assigned in the traditional way, and have the advantage of being able to use any Power Apps that are created, instead of being tied to a single one. However, that will cost you $30 more per user ($40 total). An "App" in the Per App plan can include a Single Model-Driven application, plus a single Canvas App, plus a single Portal. (You can use as many embedded Canvas Apps as you want in your Model driven app.) Power Automate is also available within the context of the App. So you can build a pretty robust business application within this framework, particularly of you spend some time up front on architecture. Once you have done the work up front on the AAD group etc, adding passes and users should be a pretty simple process, so it's more of a one-time effort. Saving $30/user/month may not be that significant if you only have a small number of users, but it could quickly add up for larger teams.

BTW, Microsoft has told me that they plan on making this process easier for Model-Driven Apps. Details to come.

Architecting for Per App Passes

While Microsoft advocates the Per App plan as a way to "Get Started" with Power Apps, we have seen some customers solve some pretty advanced business problems with a single Model-Driven app. Add the ability use a Canvas app and a Portal to that, and you can build a complete business solution for a small to midsized business, or a department in a large enterprise. I wrote a post a while back on Architecting for Power Apps here.

Let me know how this "Per App" approach works out for you!