Navigating Microsoft Power Automate Licensing: Challenges, Considerations, and Compliance

Microsoft licensing can be a complex and challenging area to navigate, and Power Automate is no exception. Most, if not all, of the organisations I work with that use Power Automate, use one or more service accounts to ensure that Cloud Flows do not fail due to the creator’s departure from the organisation. However, this practice may potentially put these organisations at risk of breaching licensing rules, such as exceeding request limits and allocations or using premium connectors with free or unsupported Microsoft 365 licence plans.

According to Microsoft, there is currently a transition period during which enforcement is not strict and limits are higher, but this will end after the Power Platform Admin Centre reports become generally available. Organisations will then have six months to analyse their usage and purchase appropriate licences before strict enforcement on licence limits begins1. It is important for us to be mindful that our Cloud Flows may start to get throttled during this transition period, and we can explore opportunities to offer services to review reports and provide advice.

In case we are approaching or have exceeded the licence thresholds, here are some options to consider:

  • Using multiple Flow Admin accounts that are shared across flows.
  • Purchasing the Per-Flow plan (minimum requirement of five flows).
  • Opting for pay-as-you-go plans (Cloud Flow run).
  • Converting the Flows to Logic Apps and paying via an Azure Subscription.

For more information, you can refer to the following resources:

  • Limits for automated, scheduled, and instant flows2.
  • Power Automate pricing3.

Another important consideration is the usage of premium connectors in Cloud Flows. According to Microsoft, if a flow uses premium connectors and end users directly or indirectly derive value from the flow, then every user needs a premium licence. However, if only the owner of the flow gets value from it due to automated triggers, then only the owner needs a premium licence. If the flow does not use premium connectors in the full production environment (not the Microsoft Teams environment), having a Microsoft 365 licence is sufficient4. It’s worth noting that while service accounts have premium licences, there may be scenarios where customers with Microsoft 365 plans are benefiting from these Cloud Flows.

To address this, we can take the following actions:

  • Start recording Cloud Flows that use premium connectors.
  • Encourage organisations to license their users with premium licences.
  • Explore the possibility of offering a service to survey and report on organisations’ environments.

For further reading, you can refer to the resource “Who needs to purchase a premium licence?“.

In conclusion, while I may not have all the answers at this time, it’s important to raise awareness about the upcoming changes in licensing rules and open the discussion on potential actions that can be taken to ensure compliance.