A usage-based licensing model for Power Apps has been in demand by the Microsoft Customer Community for quite some time. In the past, because of the limitations in Power Apps licensing, clients had to figure out their licensing needs in advance. Often, this would involve Microsoft partners who could help them forecast the growth of their IT team, predict future database capacity needs, and help in road mapping the future of their application development. This process is time-consuming and represents a certain overhead in cost. Furthermore, siloed applications like PowerApps often fluctuate in usage. This is because of the modern shift towards optimizing process areas and encouraging cross-functionality in organizations. It also addresses the common need for clients to test the waters with new low-code platforms like Power Platform.
Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go is a new payment model option for the popular Power Platform product. The now generally available Pay-As-You-Go model allows customers to configure their Azure subscription to automatically add Power Apps Per App Licenses for active users of their apps. This allows Azure to read into usage and add or remove licenses as needed. In layman’s terms, customers can now turn over their forecasting tasks to Azure. The ability for Azure to measure app usage helps can help Power Platform customers understand the user adoption of applications, understand the scalability of an application, and protect themselves from high-risk investments.
A Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go model allows Azure to read into usage and add or remove Power Apps Per App licenses as needed. In layman’s terms, customers can now turn over their forecasting tasks to Azure. The ability for Azure to measure app usage helps can help Power Platform customers understand the user adoption of applications, understand the scalability of an application, and protect themselves from high-risk investments.
Power Apps can also help businesses extend existing Dynamics 365 Business Applications. This could range from filling feature gaps, replacing paper or Excel-based processes, to modernizing and streamlining legacy apps and processes.
The process of taking advantage of Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go involves a few quick steps that I have outlined below. In order to get started, the following pre-requisites are required:
Once you have the prerequisites in place and the proper permissions, you’ll need to set the Power Platform environment up as Pay-As-You-Go Billing.
To do this, navigate to Power Apps (make.powerapps.com) and navigate to the ellipse next to the relevant application to select Settings. On the right-hand side in the App Settings menu, select Set up pay-as-you-go. You will then select the Azure subscription and resource group you would like to link the application to. Once the Azure Subscription and relevant Resource Group have been selected, click Connect Subscription. This will create a link between the environment your application sits in and the Azure subscription. This is what Microsoft calls a billing policy.
Within the Power Platform Admin Center, Admins can create and modify billing policies. Admins can also link several environments to a single Azure subscription. This would allow companies to aggregate Power Platform costs for Power Platform environments that an an IT team owns to that same IT team’s Azure subscription.
From the Admin Center, select the icon titled Policies in the left-hand side navigation to open the policies section. Select Billing Policies and New Billing Policy.
As you move from a pre-paid Power Apps license model to a pay-as-you-go model, you may have questions about how to properly manage and oversee costs and prevent changes that may not have been forecasted. One of the many benefits of Power Apps pay-as-you-go is the wide range of tools available to companies to help them stay aware of their IT costs.
Within the Azure Portal, Subscription Owners and Contributors have access to Azure Cost Management. Azure Cost Management gives Power Platform customers a breakdown of charges directly associated with the Power Platform meters covered earlier on in this blog post. This dashboard also allows you to see how these meters are shifting over time and even hone in on specific time periods so you can easily measure month over month, quarter over quarter, or year over year growth.
Another feature of Azure Cost Management is the ability to set your own budgets for each meter. Once a budget is established, a user can set up trigger alerts that alert IT members when spend thresholds are approached and attained. You can also trigger automated administrative actions to manage Azure spending. This streamlines the management of your billing charges while maintaining a strong overview of aggregated costs.
Another important feature to point out is the use of customizable tags within Power Platform account resources in the Azure subscription. Azure tags allow you to organize interrelated Azures resources by solution area, cost center, department, etc. This aids companies in streamlining internal chargebacks and other administrative functions. The Azure tag functions also help companies consolidate billing by viewing charges in a group relative to the solution area. For example, a company could have several apps that tackle processes that relate back to a single department of a business. That company could create a “Asset Management’ tag to understand the cost associated with all running apps that relate to Asset Management.
Through the use of the features covered above, Azure users are able to gather detailed usage reports. Within the Power Platform Admin Center, users can download reports with thorough breakdowns of white apps, users, and environments generate charges for the Power Platform Pay-As-You-Go Azure Meters.
Microsoft is making more and more advances in the world of Power Platform and its relevant low code solutions. In upcoming times, Power Platform customers can look forward to APIs that link environments to Azure subscriptions, along with direct integrations with the new Power Platform Center of Excellence (CoE).
Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go represents the future of Power Platform payment models for SMBs and Enterprise. With the new model offering greater flexibility, stronger reporting capabilities, and lower risk investments, customers can feel confident dipping their toes in Power Platform products.
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