NOTE: Microsoft’s licensing methodology has been updated, please refer to this post for a more up to date overview: https://alexdmeyer.com/2021/01/25/current-state-of-d365fo-user-licensing/
Microsoft’s licensing in Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations is based on the access each user has to entry points (menu items etc) in the system. Each entry point has two separate user license properties, ViewUserLicense and MaintainUserLicense. The ViewUserLicense property is applied if the user has view rights to the entry point, the MaintainUserLicense property is applied if the user has above view rights to the entry point. Based on the access a user has to the entry point will determine which user license property is applied to the user, and therefore which license a user is required to have to have access to that entry point.
You can see what license type each access requires by going into Security Configuration selecting a role, duty, or privilege and clicking on ‘View Permissions’ in the menu bar.
You can also see what license type each entry point has in the AOT by looking at the properties.
In AX 2012:
There are four hierarchy-based license types in AX 2012:
- Enterprise User (highest)
- Functional User
- Task User
- Self Serve User (lowest)
In D365FO this hierarchy has been simplified to only include three levels:
- Operations (will be listed as Enterprise in AOT)
- Team Members (will be listed as Universal in AOT)
From a pricing perspective, the higher the license type is in the hierarchy the higher the cost associated for that license. With this is mind, it is very important to not over provision a user’s access and be charged for a higher license than is really needed. Along with this idea it is also important to note that the highest user license a user is assigned, based on their access, will be applied to that user. By that I mean that if a user has access to 100 entry points and only one of those entry points is at an Enterprise level that user is required to have an Enterprise/Operations license.
The simplification of user licenses from AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 Enterprise as well as the added reporting around user licenses makes it much easier for clients to determine how many licenses of each type are needed for their environment. But it is still important to keep licensing in mind while designing and applying user security.