Dynamics 365 License: How to choose the right one

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Choosing the right Dynamics 365 license is more complicated than you’d think. You’ve sold the team on the value of the Dynamics 365 license, but which one? The amount of technical jargon you need to understand to interpret the selections is mind boggling. Therefore, many companies end up overpaying. Clearly, there must be a rhyme and reason to these offerings, right?

Let's break down the basic questions you need to answer to select the right Dynamics 365 license for your business.


1. What is available for Dynamics 365 licenses?

First, what all is available? Dynamics 365 at its core is a combination of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Formerly, these products were Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX.

Dynamics 365 License Diagram
Dynamics 365 is a combination of the Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM functionality.

Dynamics 365 is further subdivided into two sections: Customer Engagement (Dynamics CRM) and Unified Operations (Dynamics AX). Customer Engagement includes the applications for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation. Unified Operations contains the ERP functions, Retail, Talent, and Finance & Operations.

Dynamics 365 License - Application List
Dynamics 365 has two sub-sections, Unified Operations and Customer Engagement.


2. What are the Dynamics 365 license plans?

Second, we are going to take a look at the plans. All of the different applications within Dynamics 365 are available as a la carte options. That being said, it is often more cost effective to purchase a bundled plan.


Dynamics 365 Plan

The Dynamics 365 plan has everything on the menu. Therefore, it is the most cost effective plan. Basically, it includes the individual applications from the customer engagement offering bundled with the unified operations plan. Additionally, the plan comes with the easy to use and very helpful Power Apps.

Dynamics 365 License
Offerings under the Dynamics 365 Plan.

Customer Engagement Plan

The Customer Engagement Plan is a bundle of all applications on the sales and service side of the house. The purpose of this bundle is to connect apps that work together seamlessly to fulfill your marketing needs. In addition to the applications listed above, it also includes Power Apps and Marketing App. The Marketing App is only available to organizations that have over ten users. Devices can be added for an additional fee as well. Within the Customer Engagement applications, each module, such as Sales, is available independently as well.

Customer Engagement Plan
Offerings under the Customer Engagement Plan.

Unified Operations Plan

If you are in needs of an enterprise level ERP without customer engagement, look no further than the Unified Operations Plan. Essentially, this plan bundles Finance & Operations with Retail, Talent, and Power Apps. However, additional options are available for device and activity.

Unified Operations
Offerings under the Unified Operations Plan.

Business Central

Is your business on the smaller side? In that case, Business Central is the ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses that are primarily looking for an ERP. This is a complete ERP solution built on the Dynamics 365 NAV platform. Essentially, this is a scaled back solution that includes financial management, project management, sales and service, supply chain management, and reporting and analytics. Therefore, Business Central offers a considerable cost savings over the other plans.

Business Central Plan
Offerings under the Business Central Plan.


3. How do users and devices work?

Now that you have decided what functionality you need, it is time to take a look at who needs it. Dynamics 365 has four types of users.

First, there are full users. Full users are licensed for plans that bundle multiple apps. Typically, full users hold roles that will require them to work in Dynamics 365 the majority of their time. For instance, this could include sales people, customer service reps, or supply chain managers. Additionally, they could also be individuals who set policies and guidelines for a company.

Second, there are team members. Team members are added to plans at a significantly cheaper rate, but have minimal access. Team members hold roles that do not require access to the full breadth of Dynamics 365. They may just view or analyze data, or perform minor tasks.

Third, there are devices. Device licenses offer an alternative to purchasing multiple license tied to individual users. In contrast, device licenses are great for shared tablets, computers, or phones. In contrast, individuals that have full or activity licenses can use them across multiple devices.

Finally, if an individual needs access only to a specific function, they need an activity license. For example, a inventory manager does not need a full Finance & Operations application. However, they could save by just purchasing the Warehouse Management module. This is only available for certain functions.


In conclusion, taking some time to evaluate your needs can assist with making an informed decision about your Dynamics 365 licenses. Be sure to ask your provider up front if you are purchasing the correct licenses for your needs. In fact, a one size fits all solution may cause your business to spend considerably more than necessary.


If you are interested in discussing what combination of Dynamics 365 licenses may be right for your business, reach out to Barash Consulting for a free consultation or a second opinion. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our customers receive transparent and comprehensive information about their options.


Amanda Barash, M.S.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, Microsoft Certified Trainer

Managing Director, Barash Consulting

Phone: (800)801-2859

Email: amanda.barash@barashconsulting.com


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