Microsoft Flow comes with 4 different flavours of Flow.
- Flow for Office 365 and Dynamics 365
I’m quite sure that you like the first flavour! Maybe like me, you have been asking why bother with P1 or P2? Are the paid for options worth it? In this post I will go through the differences.
First I’ll have a look at the Microsoft Flow pricing page:
This already shows some of the benefits of the paid for plans. The number of runs that is included in your licence if the first obvious difference between the different plans. The big differences are:
- The frequency that Flow does its checks
- Availability of premium connectors
- Policy settings
- The availability of Business process flows.
When you look at the features listed on the same pricing page you will find some more differences and even a 4th plan.
The frequency that Flow does its checks
Are you using flows that start with a recurrence trigger?
When you try to adjust the schedule while using the free version of flow you will run into some Start your free trial dialogue.
This is where you will need to make a choice. Do you want to be able to run recurring jobs every 15 minutes, every 5 minutes or every minute?
Availability of premium connectors
There are many Premium connectors that you might be interested in. If you need any of these connectors then you would need to consider using a P1 licence to run your flows.
|Adobe Creative Cloud||Connect to Adobe Creative Cloud to manage your assets. You can perform various actions such as create, get, and delete assets on Creative Cloud. You can also choose to be notified when an asset is added or updated on Creative Cloud.|
|Amazon Redshift||Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service from Amazon. Connect to Amazon Redshift database to read data from tables.|
|Apache Impala||Apache Impala (incubating) is the open source, native analytic database for Apache Hadoop. Connect to your Impala database to read data from tables.|
|AppsForOps Timeline||AppsForOps Timeline is a game changing Customer Success software platform and the connector allows you to create new timeline entries on AppsForOps Timelines.|
|AWeber||AWeber is an email marketing platform that allows small businesses and entrepreneurs to create and send emails.|
|Benchmark Email||Online email marketing solution to engage subscribers, target an audience, send beautiful, responsive emails and track results.|
|Bitbucket||Bitbucket is a web based hosting service for projects that use GIT revision control.|
|Calendly||Calendly helps you easily schedule meetings based on participants availability.|
|Capsule CRM||Online CRM for individuals, small businesses and sales teams wanting a simple, effective and affordable solution.|
|Chatter||Chatter is an enterprise social network for your company that allows employees to connect and collaborate in real time.|
|Cloud Connect Studio||This connector will be used to integrate with Fuji Xerox Cloud Connect Studio solution. This connector will be used as Trigger only and will be triggered once user perform a Scan from Cloud Connect Studio solution|
|Common Data Service||Provides access to the org-based database on the Microsoft Common Data Service.|
|DB2||Microsoft Connector for DB2 integrates Azure applications with resources stored in an IBM DB2 database. Connector supports SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE operations.|
|DocFusion365 – SP||DocFusion® 365 is a dynamic, cloud-based document composition and automation engine designed to help you manage all of your document content and processes within the Office 365 environment.|
|Docparser||Extract data from PDF files & automate your workflow with our reliable document parsing software.|
|DocuSign||DocuSign is the easiest and most secure way to sign and get documents signed. With over 50 million users worldwide, DocuSign is the most widely used eSignature and Digital Transaction Management platform in the world.|
|Dynamic Signal||Dynamic Signal is an Employee Communication and Engagement Platform, trusted by organizations to connect, align and engage employees. Connect to Dynamic Signal to create and manage your posts and users.|
|Easy Redmine||Easy Redmine is a web based tool for software project management.|
|Eventbrite||Eventbrite is a self-service ticketing platform used to create and discover local events.|
|FlowForma||FlowForma Business Process Management (BPM) tools for Office 365, enable users to build forms & workflow, automating processes without code.|
|Freshservice||Freshservice is a cloud-based IT service desk and service management solution that’s easy to set up and use, to transform employee experience across the organization.|
|GoToMeeting||GoToMeeting is an online meeting tool. You can schedule your own meetings or watch for the ones you are invited to.|
|GoToTraining||Citrix GoToTraining enables you to manage a stable and high-performance online training environment.|
|GoToWebinar||Citrix GoToWebinar enables you to manage a stable and high-performance online webinar environment.|
|HelloSign||HelloSign enables secure electronic signatures that are business-caliber, easy-to-use and legally binding.|
|HTTP with Azure AD||Use the HTTP connector to fetch resources from various Web services, authenticated by Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), or from an on-premise web service.|
|iAuditor||Fast and easy mobile inspection reporting. Get real-time visibility to uncover insights and raise standards.|
|Imprezian360-CRM||Imprezian360 CRM All-In-One|
|Infobip||Enable enterprise grade communication over Infobip.|
|Informix||Microsoft Connector for Informix integrates Azure applications with resources stored in an IBM Informix database. Connector supports SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE operations.|
|Infusionsoft||Infusionsoft is sales and marketing automation software built exclusively for small business success.|
|JIRA||JIRA is a software development tool for agile teams to plan, track, and release world-class software. Connecting JIRA issues to the rest of your tools helps break down barriers and unleash the potential of your team.|
|LeanKit||Helping teams work together to deliver customer value, faster.|
|LiveChat||LiveChat is an online customer service software with live support, help desk software and web analytics capabilities.|
|MailChimp||MailChimp is a SaaS service that allows businesses to manage and automate email marketing activities, including sending marketing emails, automated messages and targeted campaigns.|
|MailParser||Extract data from emails & automate your workflow with our powerful email parser software. Convert emails to Excel, parse leads from emails, and more.|
|Mandrill||Mandrill is a transactional email API for MailChimp users. It’s reliable, powerful, and ideal for sending data driven emails, including targeted e-commerce and personalized one-to-one messages.|
|Marketing Content Hub||Marketing Content Hub by Stylelabs integrates and blends boundaries between traditional marketing silos. It provides an integrated solution for Digital asset management (DAM), Product information management (PIM), Marketing resource management (MRM), Web to Print, Marketing portal and Digital rights management (DRM).|
|Marketo||Marketo© is a marketing automation platform that enables marketers to manage personalized multi-channel programs and campaigns to prospects and customers.|
|Metatask||Metatask is a simple tool to organize and control internal processes that lets normal users quickly build and execute business workflows.|
|MySQL||MySQL is an open-source relational database management system. Connect to on-premise MySQL database to read and write data.|
|Nexmo||Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform, enables you to add communications within the context of your applications, including SMS, Voice and Chat. Sign up for a Nexmo account here – https://www.nexmo.com/|
|Oracle Database||Oracle Database is a relational database management system developed by Oracle. Connect to on-premise Oracle Database to perform various actions such as create, update, get, and delete on rows in a table.|
|Parseur||Extract structured data trapped in your emails. Then send it to your favorite application.|
|Pipedrive||Pipedrive is a CRM & pipeline management tool that helps you focus on actions that matter.|
|Pitney Bowes Data Validation||Pitney Bowes Data Validation Services helps eliminate errors in data and improve customer experience. It makes communication easier, faster and effortless by enriching customer details, keeping it up-to-date and maintaining its accuracy and consistency. To learn more, visit the documentation page: https://aka.ms/kvz9oh|
|Plivo||Plivo enables sending and receiving SMS & voice calls globally for businesses of all sizes.|
|PoliteMail||Measure results with powerful email metrics, including opens, read-time and click through rates plus valuable analytics to help you gain the insights you need to improve your communications.|
|PostgreSQL||PostgreSQL is a relational database management system developed by PostgreSQL Global Development Group. Connect to on-premise PostgreSQL database to read data from tables.|
|PowerApps Notification||Send push notifications to apps created with PowerApps. Trigger them from Flows or other apps.|
|Salesforce||The Salesforce Connector provides an API to work with Salesforce objects.|
|ServiceNow||ServiceNow improves service levels, energizes employees, and enables your enterprise to work at lightspeed. Create, read and update records stored within ServiceNow including Incidents, Questions, Users and more.|
|Soft1||The Soft1 Connector provides an API to work with Soft1 ERP objects|
|Stormboard||Stormboard Flow Connector|
|Stripe||Stripe allows private individuals and businesses to accept payments over the internet. You can track customers, orders, invoices and more.|
|SurveyMonkey||SurveyMonkey is the world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions. These solutions are used by companies, organizations, and individuals to gather the insights they need to make more informed decisions.|
|Tago||Tago provides easy connection of electronic devices with external data to drive smarter decisions using contextual analysis.|
|Teamwork Projects||Keep all your team’s tasks in one place. Collaborate and work in real time for real results. Teamwork Projects is a powerful and simple way to collaborate with your team.|
|TeleSign SMS||TeleSign SMS enables apps to send global text messages. Add as another communications channel to send alerts, reminders, notifications, invites, marketing messages and more.|
|Teradata||Teradata Database is a relational database management system from Teradata Corporation, typically used to support large data warehousing operations. Connect to on-premise Teradata database to read data from tables.|
|Workday HCM||Workday HCM contains operations that expose Workday Human Capital Management Business Services data, including Employee, Contingent Worker and Organization information.|
|Zahara||Zahara is a complete purchase management platform enabling paperless approvals for supplier invoices and purchase requisition.|
If you use a free flow licence and you include any action from the above connectors you will get a Start your free trial dialogue appear.
Now you have some choices.
- Buy the licence.
- Start developing your own custom connector
- Start developing solutions outside Flow to compensate for the features unavailable in Free Flow.
The Policy settings should actually be called admin settings. The P2 licence fives you access to Flow admin. Initially, I thought that admin users should all have P2 licences, but after some more thought this is not the case.
The Flow Admin centre can be found at the following URL.
If you try to access the above url without a P2 licence in place you will get redirected to one of the upgrade pages in Flow.
If you do have a P2 licence you will get to the admin center. This is where you can create new environments, Configure data policies and data integration.
This is where we really get to the point where everybody should want a P2 licence! It is all about governance.
I will quickly take you through the steps of configuring a policy.
When you create a new policy with a P2 licence then Flow will asked which environments you want the policy to apply to?
- All environments
- Only selected environments
- All environments except …
Then you will be asked which connectors you are happy for users to take data from and share this data outside your organisation.
Categorize these connectors into one of two data groups, “Business data only” and “No business data allowed”. Users will be prevented from creating flows and apps that combine connectors from the “Business data only” and “No business data allowed” data groups. Learn more
Did you ever wonder how to control the many connectors inside Flow? Do you want people to share information from your SharePoint intranet on twitter? Well this is your answer. You will have to get a P2 licence for this.
If a user however tries to create a flow and share Business data then they will see the following warning:
Your flow was updated, but it is currently suspended since it uses a combination of connectors that conflict with the company data loss prevention policies or billing restrictions.
More information on Data Loss Prevention in Flow you can find in the documentation provided by Microsoft.
Important Note:When you create a policy any flows that break that policy are disabled. Deleting the policy does not re-enable the flows. You will have to manually re-enable your flows.
The availability of Business process flows.
One of the documented differences between the paid for plans and the free plan is the availability of Business Process Flows. These are Dynamics 365 flows that guide users through completing the right data at the right time. For more details on this please read my previous post on Business Process Flows.
One of the ‘hidden’ differences is the use of the data gateway. It is included int he feature list that I mentioned above, however not in the cost overview. So it is an easy one to miss. The data gateway is only available when you use a paid for plan.
I like the analytics features in Flow. If you have ever tried to make your flows 100% robust you will know that the analytics are very helpful. Even though you might have implemented error handling in you flow, your failing actions and triggers are still reported here. Very often it is possible to handle the unexpected errors in a better way than just an email that is sent out to your support team when something goes wrong. Analytics gives you that detail.
Are you updating your flows directly in your production environment? With a P2 licence your users can have multiple environments within Flow. This can help you reduce the risk of Flows breaking when you implement that quick fix.
With the free versions of Flow you can create 1 custom connector. With P1 and P2 plans you can create unlimited number of custom connectors. Personally I think that custom connetors go against the principle of low/no code, however you could of course use connectors that you find on github such as the Teams connector developed by Christian Glessner. This si still considered a custom connector, however you do not have to touch any code yourself.
For all Dynamics 365 or Dynamics CRM people solutions is somehting that they are familiar with. For SharePoint peopel, compare this a bit with save as site template but then with version control and better life cycle management.
The solutions option is described in the Improved ALM for Flows with solutions article. Note that adding flows to solutions works for free, P1 and P2 licensed users.
When to choose which licence?
Now that we have seen the differences, it is time to consider what is best for you? Of course we all want free, but do we also want to miss all the advantages that the paid for versions of flow give you?
Do you consider developing advanced coded solutions to avoid the P1/P2 licences? Remember the reason why you decided to go for low/no code solutions? This is a strategic decision to make.
Do you want to be able to protect your business data? The Data Loss Prevention options in the Flow Admin Center might convince you there.
Do you want to take flow development seriously and use multiple environments or are you happy to accept down time?
Do you need to connect into application that don’t have any existing connectors in Microsoft Flow?
Many questions that need answering, hopefully when you answer the above questions you will be able to make your choice.