PowerApps Portals (Part 1)
The PowerApps Portals provide one of the last missing pieces to the Power Platform story.
PowerApps Portals was announced in June as the successor to Dynamics 365 Portal. It will be fully decoupled from Customer Experience apps and will live alongside the two other types of PowerApps – Canvas and Model-driven. It has been promoted as a way to expose processes and data to external users with new mechanisms tied to Azure, PowerApps, and the Common Data Service [including Dynamics].
For Microsoft and other enterprise software vendors, exposing business systems data to non-licensed users has been a long-running point of contention. Customers have long been warned not to look for workarounds to purchasing licenses such as exposing data through reports or other customer application interfaces that avoid licensed interfaces. With the below changes, Microsoft expects to plug this gap and compliance issue –
- Putting together a new licensing model for Portals
- Implementing consumption measuring devices
- Simplifying for the Org to quickly onboard and
- Extending the platform with enhancements and integrations
Details below are based on information as is currently being shared by Microsoft – however, MS is still taking feedback from partners and trying to make some amendments to the licensing structure.
What is a PowerApps Portals?
A PowerApps Portal is a Low Code, responsive Website with the familiar WYSIWYG designer for easy branding, linkable to a CDS system. Users can interact with the data via authentication provided by enterprise authentication providers or anonymously. Information can be filtered, and security applied so that the external user can only see or interact with data that is specific to him or his role.
What is the CDS system?
CDS for simple understanding is an easy to manage, secure database with a prebuilt set of entities provided as a paid Azure Service.
While Dynamics 365 already uses CDS as the backend, data from multiple other data stores can be easily integrated into CDS and a unified experience across databases can be provided
Features of the PowerApps Portals
To understand its features simplistically – As an off-shoot of the Dynamics 365 portals, all of what can be done on the existing Dynamics Portals can be done on the PowerApps Portals too- and more. The biggest feature on the portal is the ease of building the PowerApps Portal. The Basic version of the portal can be set up easily by the business users, with drag and drop functionality. Advanced versions need Liquid consultants and developers
Features Compare and Contrast – Dynamics 365 Portals and PowerApps Portals
|Dynamics 365 Portals||PowerApps Portals|
|2 default URL options|
|1 default URL option|
|Developer Intensive||Quick and easy setup experience|
|Built on Dynamics or CDS data||Built on Dynamics or CDS data|
– customer sales and service,
– employee sales and service,
– employee management, and
– community management.
|Build from scratch using a Blank template [ same templates as on dynamics to come]|
|Authentication: Predefined set of providers, but cumbersome to set up||Available authentication configuration: Azure AD B2C, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Okta, and others|
|Can be linked to Dynamics 1st Party apps only, as a source||Can work with any a CDS based data source|
Skillsets needed to work on the PowerApps Portals
- Experience around working with entities and processes
- Understanding of security roles and permissions
- WYSIWYG designing
- Understanding/ implementation of Authentication Providers [recommended is AzureB2C]
Microsoft revealed new pricing and licensing for PowerApps Portals during Inspire but since then has been evolving and building on it.
Notable changes have been announced.
Pricing – Compare and Contrast – Dynamics 365 Portals and PowerApps Portals
|Parameter||Dynamics 365 Portals||New PowerApps Portals|
|Provisioning a portal instance||Purchase Dynamics 365 Additional Portal SKU at $500 per month||Provision a portal—no need to purchase portal addons to provision a portal|
|Qualifying base offers||Dynamics 365 licenses only||Customers can add on portal external login or page view capacity to Dynamics 365, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow licenses|
|Internal use rights||Dynamics 365 enterprise licenses, Dynamics 365 team member license.||Internal users can now access portals with a PowerApps per-app/per-user license. For a Dynamics license, it is the same as custom PowerApps use rights.|
|Monetization||Per portal instance Per page view||Per log in Per page view|
|Entitlement for Dynamics 365 customers||1 portal instance for the first 10 full Dynamics 365 USLs||Not applicable―PowerApps Portals instances can be provisioned|
PowerApps Portals – Licensing details
[as currently available for – Dt.9 Sept. 2019]
PowerApps Portals can be provisioned without requiring a specific license. They are charged only on Usage. Breaking down the Portal Users into Licensed and Non Licensed users, irrespective of whether they are internal or external –
1) Licensed users [Internal]
- A user having any PowerApp Plan license
- Dynamics 365 [various]
Users who have valid licenses will not be levied an additional usage charge
2) Non-Licensed users [Internal or External]
Microsoft differentiates between Anonymous [ not signed in] and Authenticated [signed in] users.
- Authenticated users
- Access by authenticated users will be charged on a “per log-in”. A log-in is defined as a twenty-four-hour period of access by a single authenticated user/ app, chargeable monthly.
- Anonymous users
- Anonymous portal users will be priced on a simple “per-page-view” model, chargeable monthly
3) Minimum licensing quantities
- Login quantity
The minimum login quantity to be assigned to a portal is 100 logins/month.
Once you have assigned 100 logins, you can assign them in units of 1.
- Pageviews quantity:
Minimum 50,000 per portal, after that you can assign 1 at a minimum.
4) Additional portal instances
- Additional portal instances can be spun up without any additional charge.
- Monthly charge based on usage will be billable based on above permutations
5) Existing Dynamics 365 access to PowerApps Portals
Dynamics 365 Enterprise users will continue to be able to run apps and portals that extend and customize the licensed Dynamics 365 application, as long as those apps and portals [even if they are custom] are located in the same environment as their licensed Dynamics 365 application.
Custom apps or portals outside of the Dynamics 365 environment and access to his app license on Dynamics 365 will require a standalone PowerApps license.
The Team Member license does not get access to the custom portal as Team Member licenses do not allow access to a custom app.
Also read, PowerApps Portals (Part 2)