Microsoft Dynamics 365 Licensing Demystified

Licensing has historically caused some pain. Even though most users don’t exist in traditional departmental structures anymore, licensing by application has stayed in the same constrained parameters as it always has. Which is why the impending launch of Microsoft Dynamics 365, with an all new licensing model, is going to be revolutionary.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s new approach to end-to-end business intelligence. Designed to improve productivity and collaboration in your business, Dynamics 365 is a cloud platform that fully integrates all of your data from business apps with Office 365, Power BI, Azure, and Cortana Intelligence.

No matter what your role is, everyone needs some access to data that is held in business apps. Although credit controllers should only need access to Finance, they are able to provide additional value to those numbers when they can see what’s in the Sales pipeline. In the license by application model, only the lucky few that you’ve paid for have access to this data. When the time comes to find something that doesn’t fall under your department, the reality is that you have to ring up a person with access and waste their time trying to find that information.

Pay For What You Need With Dynamics 365

The new licensing model in Dynamics 365 is inclusive, where roles are built around business outcomes. Everybody gets access to the functionality they need across Apps, Plans, and Team Members – the building blocks to the licensing structure. These three building blocks essentially offer you a spectrum of licenses to pick and choose from for one or many products, for any type of user, and for businesses of any size.

Dynamics 365 Licensing


Here is an overview of what these new terms (Team Members, Apps, and Plans) mean:


Roles can be much more productive and effective when they have the opportunity to range across all the business apps deployed within the client. A Team Member license in Dynamics 365 gives read rights to all other apps. If you cover a person with this license, they can review data from all Dynamics 365 applications. Why is this such an exciting new offer? Because it means that there are no barriers for allowing your employees to consume information anymore.

One Team Member license instantly makes use rights and knowledge sharing accessible to all employees – which also puts an end to double licensing. You do not need to buy a separate license for someone that wants to read data in Dynamics AX and in Dynamics CRM. Team Member licenses are included in all Apps and Plans.

If you buy Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition for Team Members, you get this:

  • One SKU that covers all light use scenarios and knowledge sharing use rights
  • Limited rights to power apps and flow so you’re plugged into the platform
  • A rich feature set in addition to collaboration tools
  • Lower TCO! i.e buy more seats, pay less


Licensing by application is still relevant and available. With Dynamics 365, you have the option to buy applications individually or buy them through a Plan. The core applications available in Dynamics 365 are: Financials, Operations (Dynamics AX 2016), Sales, Field Service, Customer Service, Customer Insight, Project Service Automation, and Marketing. Power BI and Cortana Intelligence will be embedded in all apps. They will also come with two new extensibility apps, PowerApps and Flow, which allows you to pull data from any app and data source and build web apps and workflows based on all those data sources. You can buy Dynamics 365 apps on a standalone basis and add to them easily through Microsoft AppSource as you grow.


Licensing by Plan is a package of apps for companies with people who need to access multiple apps. This option is more affordable when you need a solution that caters to Joe who does Sales and a bit of Marketing and Mary who does Operations and Finance. Dynamics 365 takes these normal roles and adds value by giving these employees the flexibility they need to work in more than one app. By leveraging the integration across the Dynamics 365 platform, you are enabling your employees with more information to do their jobs better. You also have the ability to build whatever customized role within the span of the use rights in the plan. If you have a user who leaves, you can easily adjust what an employee uses or assign to other employees over time.

Here are the Plans available in the Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition:

Plan 1Dynamics 365 for Sales
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
Dynamics 365 for Field Service
Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation
+ Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow (only available through Plan)
Plan 2Includes all the Plan 1 apps + Dynamics 365 for Operations (Dynamics AX 2016/Version 7)
Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Retail and Commerce


Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Licensing Guide

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (formerly known as Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition) is an ERP and CRM solution optimized for 250+ employees and includes the capabilities of Dynamics 365 …

Get Guide

Note: Dynamics 365 Business Edition is currently only available for Financials. You can purchase per user for full users and for Team Members. Dynamics 365 Business Edition Plans will be available next year when Microsoft will also be releasing Sales and Marketing.

Choose Your License Based on User Type

In every business you have a mix of highly specialized employees and general employees. Because of this, Microsoft has segmented its licensing based on two broad categories of users: Light Users and Full Users.

  • Light Users are your everyday people who read and consume data. They don’t need full permissions to every single department, but in order to do light task like write reports, they still need to be able to see data across the company.
  • Full Users are professional users, people who specialize in one business application. These are the employees with licensed business apps and full permissions today.




The fully inclusive licensing model in Dynamics 365 designed to support every employee. Every company has a mix of generalists and specialists. The licensing solution for Team Members encourages operational transparency, granting every employee access to the read rights to the business applications deployed within the client. Licensing by application is still a requirement for full users so you can still simply buy the Sales app and get the Sales app. But, the key component here is the ability to mix and match with Licensing by Plans, and that’s where we think Dynamics 365 really stands out. You can now buy any combination of licenses that suit your specific needs which is something we have never seen before!

Contact Rand Group to Get Started

Whether you are in the market for an ERP software solution or you are a seasoned veteran who wants to take advantage of the hybrid cloud options in Dynamics 365, take the next step with Rand Group at your side. Not only are we experts in the business management industry, we are also in the top 1% of Microsoft partners in North America. We have the experience, training, and professional qualifications to help you build a solid foundation for all your technology needs, fully maximizing your investment in Dynamics 365 with minimal business disruption. Contact Rand Group today for a full assessment.

If you would like to see what Dynamics 365 looks like in action, check out our Dynamics 365 First Look Recap.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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