What is Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go?

Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go is a new payment model that is revolutionizing the way Enterprise companies can approach Power Apps and other low code solutions within Power Platform.
Caroline Mayou

Caroline Mayou

Introduction

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.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the general availability of the Power Apps Pas-As-You-Go options, the scenarios in which it can be leveraged by companies, and the steps to get started.

What is Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go?

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.

Why is Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go Important?

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.

Understanding Application Usability & Adoption

Understanding application usability and adoption can help you troubleshoot problems more effectively. If you know how people are using (or not using) your product, you can more easily identify areas that need improvement. This knowledge can also help you develop better training and support materials.
Understanding application usability and adoption can also help you make better decisions about future development. By understanding which features are most popular and which ones are not being used, you can prioritize your development efforts to focus on the most important areas. This can save you time and money in the long run.
Overall, understanding application usability and adoption is beneficial for both technology stakeholders and business stakeholders along with the end-users who use the Power Apps. By taking the time to understand these concepts, you can develop better products and provide better support.

Low-Risk Investments in Low Code Platforms

The pay-as-you-go model is less risky than a user based license model for a number of reasons. First, with a pay-as-you-go model, you only pay for what you use. There is no commitment to continue using the service, so if you find that it’s not meeting your needs, you can stop using it without penalty.
Furthermore, if an Enterprise company is looking to explore a low code platform like Power Apps for the first time, it can alleviate the historical need for license forecasting and procurement conversations. This essentially allows large businesses to test the waters before fully committing to the use of the platform.

The Impact of Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go on Businesses

Business decisions that are impacted by licensing costs can often slow down the adoption process, which in turn hinders developers and application end users. With the ability to add licenses by usage, businesses can make hastier decisions and empower their IT teams.
In the modern business world, the use of low code applications is becoming more and more predominant- and for a reason- it allows citizen developers to create applications that solve common business problems. With a low code platform, development time is faster, and developers and end users can be more efficient. These benefits offer companies a cost-effective way to build their apps while optimizing their development costs.

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.

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Understanding New Pay-As-You-Go Meters

The first step to using Pay-As-You-Go for Power Apps, is to link the Power Platform containing your applications to an existing or new Azure subscription. From there, the usage of different Power Apps and Dataverse storage in that environment will be billed to your Azure subscription using the new set of Azure meters:
  • Dataverse Meters

    The Dataverse meter lets you pay for the Dataverse storage being consumed by your applications. There are independent meters for database storage, file storage, and log storage. This allows you to better understand which areas are contributing more to capacity and make adjustments as needed. When you deploy an environment and link it to an Azure subscription, you immediately receive 1GB of database storage and 1GB of file storage at no cost. Note that there is no log usage allotted out of box. This is because log usage is directly impacted by enabling auditing functions in the environment. This means that for database storage, any usage above 1GB per pay-as-you go environment will be counted. For file storage, any usage that goes over 1 GB per pay-as-you-go environment will be counted. The billed amounts differ by storage type. For example, usage above 1 GB of database is billed at $48 per GB per month. File usage above 1 GB is billed at $2.40 per GB per month. Finally, log usage is billed at $12 per GB per month.

Dataverse-Meter
  • Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go Meter

    The Pay-As-You-Go meter offers Power Platform customers the flexibility to pay only when users run an application. In the past, Power Apps leveraged a per app subscription plan that required customers to purchase licenses and allocate them to an environment before share applications. This would mean that if an app was shared with a user, and the user never used the app, the license would still be allocated to that user. Now, users will only be allocated a license upon the use/consumption of the application. In layman’s terms, this meter will count the total number of unique monthly active users of each application and portal specifically in a pay-as-you-go environment. The meter will consider anyone who opens an app or portal at least once in a given month an active user. Keep in mind that any users with Power Apps per user licenses or users with a Dynamics 365 license will not be counted. Once the active pay-as-you-go users are calculated, there will be a billed amount of $10 per active user per app per month.

  • Power Platform Requests Meter

    This represents the API calls needed by customers that have high-scale scenarios. API Calls are now called Power Platform request limits and have been increased for customers who need more than the historic limits. Currently, Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go Plan get 6,000 requests per paid license per 24 hours. Additional requests are billed at $0.000004 per request per day. Request Limits are in place to help ensure the availability, service levels, and quality of the platform. They create limits to the number of requests users can make each day across all Power Platform products, including Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate, and even Dynamics 365 applications. These requests include API requests from Power Apps to connectors and to the Dataverse database, API requests to connectors within Power Automate, and more. One of the most significant type of requests is the create, read, delete, assign, and update operations around tables, along with requests required to complete CRUD transactions. The Power Platform Request Meter will be available for overages that go above the default Power Platform request limits.

Power-Platform-Requests-Meter

Setting Up Pay-As-You-Go for Power Apps

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:

  1. You must have an existing Azure subscription and the proper permissions in place to create new resources within that subscription. You must also have the permissions to register resource providers. If you do not have the proper Azure Roles, please notify your Azure Administrator that the roles ‘Owner’ or ‘Contributor’ within the subscription will satisfy this requirement.
  2. System Admin access to the Power Platform environment.

Link Power Platform Environment to Azure Subscription

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.

Set up Power Apps Pay As You Go
Setting up Power Apps Pay As You Go

Creating and Editing Billing Policies in Power Platform Admin

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.

Billing Policies in Power Platform Admin
Adding and modifying billing policies in the Power Platform Admin Center

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Monitoring Cost for Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go

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.

Understanding Azure Cost Management

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.

Power Apps Pay As You Go Cost Analysis
Reviewing Power Apps costs within Azure Cost Management module

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.

Azure Cost Management Edit Budget
Editing budget in Azure Cost Management

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.

Power Apps Azure Tags

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.

Understanding the Power Platform Cost Roadmap

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).

Conclusion

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.

Get Help With Power Apps Licensing

Contact Avantiico for a complimentary Power Platform licensing consultation.

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