What is the Essential License for Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

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The least expensive license type for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the Essential license. But before you start calculating your cost savings you should know that Essential users can not actually log in to Dynamics CRM. Which means very few companies have a reason to use this license type.

So what is the Essential license?

The Essential license allows a user to access Dynamics CRM data through a custom interface, like a portal.

But the actual user interface of Dynamics CRM is not available to users with the Essential license.  Put simply, they can interact with Dynamics CRM data pulled into a different application, but they can’t actually log in to Dynamics CRM.

So “real” Dynamics CRM users would generally choose from the Basic or Professional license.

What about add on tools?

Most add on tools, such as our Project Management add on for Dynamics CRM, are installed right within the fabric of Dynamics CRM. A user that logs into Dynamics CRM would see the functions of the add on product within the system and likely would not even realize it was not part of the core system. So they could not use an Essential license.

Who would use an Essential License?

So why does this license type even exist? Here is an example of when it would make sense. Let's say you have our Project Management add on, but there are certain tasks that you want to assign to outside vendors. But you don’t want to buy full user licenses for them.

You could build a custom web interface, or a portal, that pulls data from your Dynamics CRM system. They can see the details, mark the task as complete, enter the number of hours and submit.  This information would be pulled back into the main Dynamics CRM system and calculated along with the data from all your other Dynamics CRM users.

These vendors are not actually logging in to your Dynamics CRM system, but with the Essential license they are logging in to this custom interface that is using Dynamics CRM data.

Depending on your goals, the cost of building the portal might provide a better long term ROI.

These details come from the current Microsoft licensing guides:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM On Premise

Essential License: The license is designed for organizational users who are not necessarily tied to sales, services, or marketing functions but still require light-weight access to custom applications.

essential image 1Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises pricing and licensing guide

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Essential License: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Essential is designed for organizational users who are not necessarily tied to sales, services, or marketing functions but require access to activities management, feeds, custom applications, accounts, contacts, and reading knowledge articles.

essential image 2Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online pricing and licensing guide

If you want help evaluating which Microsoft Dynamics CRM licenses are right for your organization and the total cost of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, AbleBridge can help.

Contact us at 877-600-2253 or info@AbleBridge.com

By AbleBridge, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, now a Crowe Horwath company. www.AbleBridge.com

Follow us on Twitter: @AbleBridge


2 thoughts on “What is the Essential License for Microsoft Dynamics CRM?”

  1. Thanks Adam. We appreciate the clarification and it’s great information to know. The ever-changing Microsoft licensing isn’t as clear as we’d like it to be.

  2. Sorry Ryan but I think you have some confusion here. Admittedly this is not helped by Microsoft changing their terminology around so often, We had an Employee Self-Service (ESS) licence in 2011 which was replaced by the Essential licence in 2013, then they both came back, and along the way the limitations shifted around.

    Currently, according to the Spring pricing and licensing guide (page 35), the Essential licence does grant rights to use the browser, Outlook and mobile clients. The ESS licence does not (page 34)

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