Understanding Dynamics CRM Licensing 2015

The Dynamics CRM family just gets better and better. You have so many options to increase your productivity, return on marketing investments, customer loyalty and more.

We provide you with a wealth of licensing options to help you put together just the right package to suit your needs.

In this blog post I'll cover some of the details behind our for CRM Online User Subscription Licenses (USLs) Enterprise, Professional, Basic, and Essential

  1. Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise. For your marketing and customer service departments, Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise provides licensed users with access to all of the capabilities of Dynamics CRM Online Professional plus Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Enterprise and Parature Enterprise functionality.
  2. Dynamics CRM Online Professional is the recommended choice your sales teams. It provides licensed users with access to sales, service, and marketing capabilities for a significantly lower price than comparable offerings from other vendors.
  3. Dynamics CRM Online Basic is designed for entry level CRM users who need access to basic CRM functionality such as account, contact, lead, and case management. This license is also designed for business analysts who require reporting capabilities of Dynamics CRM. 
  4. Dynamics CRM Online Essential is designed for organizational users who are not necessarily tied to sales, services, or marketing functions but still require specific access to activities management and feeds.

Included in some of the USLs you'll find the new members of the Dynamics CRM family Microsoft Social Listening, Dynamics Marketing, Parature from Microsoft - and two very useful solutions; Markering Sales Collaboration and Unified Service Desk:

  • Microsoft Social Listening Professional - provides volume and sentiment analysis of social networking data and is recommended for sales, marketing and customer service workers interested in social media discussion of their products, competitors, and industry.
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Enterprise provides a full suite of data segmentation, behavioral tracking, digital asset management, and brand management capabilities. It is recommended for users in marketing roles, and when delivered as part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise, allows users to combine Microsoft Dynamics Marketing's capabilities with the marketing and sales capabilities of Dynamics CRM Online. 
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Sales Collaboration provides sales teams with visibility into the marketing calendar. Sales now can offer more insights into campaigns and targeting. Both sales and marketing can share the same view of the customer journey. See this blog post for more.
  • Parature from Microsoft delivers multi-channel customer service capabilities.  Parature’s complete offering of cloud-based, multi-channel customer support solutions is enhanced by seamless integration, robust reporting, a wealth of on-demand support services and affordable pricing. 
  • Unified Service Desk (USD) consolidates numerous communication channels (such as phone, chat, email, and social media) and relevant services to enable greater efficiency and productivity. 

As mentioned above you can chose between four CRM Online User Subscription Licenses (USLs); Enterprise, Professional, Basic, and Essential. For local pricing please see: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/pricing-list.aspx

The below picture is an attempt to outline which features you can access per USL. In the subsequent pictures I'll cover selected details around features per USL.


  •  Orange  = Read Only
  •  Green   = Read/Write

(click picture to enlarge)

Eg: the Basic USL does not provide Write access to the Opportunity entity, only Read access. For Write access to the Opportunity entity you need the Professional USL.

However for the Case entity the Basic USL do provide Read/Write access 

More notes from the FAQ on the Basic USL in terms of the Servide module:

  • You can not schedule service activities
  • You can not allocate resources and equipment
  • You can not mark service activities as complete
  • You have read only access to the Service Calendar - you can not interact with it in any other way


For a given USL Create, Update, and Delete actions via automated or on-demand workflows can only be performed against records corresponding to entities included in the USL use rights. For the Essential USL this means that workflows you build for Essential users can not touch any built in entity, only custom entities.

Dual Use Rights

One of the advantages of Dynamics CRM is the option to deploy either in Microsoft’s Cloud as CRM Online or in a private on-premises or partner-hosted cloud with CRM Server. In some cases, you may want to deploy both modes simultaneously, for migrating a CRM Server deployment to CRM Online, running private Dev/Test deployments in Azure, or other applications. In the past, you had to acquire both Client Access Licenses (CALs) for CRM Server and CRM Online USL’s to allow such hybrid deployments. However, with Dual Use Rights, CRM Online Users no longer need to acquire CALs to access CRM Server instances.

Users licensed with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online USLs have use rights equivalent to a CAL for the purpose of accessing equivalent on premises workloads. Dynamics CRM Server instances must still be licensed normally, as must all related CALs and supporting servers (e.g., Windows Server and CALs).  

Dual Use Rights are conveyed through Dynamics CRM 2015 Server’s license, so Dual Use Rights may only be exercised with servers licensed with Dynamics CRM 2015 server.  However, you may use downgrade rights to deploy a Dynamics CRM 2015 Server license with an earlier version of Dynamics CRM Server and use Dual Use rights to access it with CRM Online USL’s.


With the Professional USL is included 5 GB of storage. You will get an additional 2.5GB storage (on top of the base 5GB) for every 20 Pro Users, up to 50GB. If you have 25 or more Pro Users you will get 1 non-production instance (sandbox)

Optional Add-Ons; Production Instances ($549/instance/month), Non-Production Instances ($150/instance/month), Storage 1GB increments ($9.99/GB/month)

Note: minimum number of USLs in CRM Online is 5 Professionals. When you have 5 professionals or more you can add Basic and Essential USLs to the mix

Social Listening

Each Dynamics CRM Online Professional USL includes rights to Microsoft Social Listening Professional, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Sales Collaboration, and Unified Service Desk.

Minimum requirement

  • Subscriptions licensed through Microsoft Online Services Program (MOSP) require a 10-seat minimum purchase of CRM Online Professional to qualify for Microsoft Social Listening functionality 
  • There is no minimum purchase of CRM Online Professional required for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers to qualify for Microsoft Social Listening functionality. 

Microsoft Social Listening includes 10,000 posts per org (not per user; it is per org). Unused posts expire at the end of each month

Additional posts are available at discounted pricing:

  • $100 for 10,000 posts/month (per org)
  • $700 for 100,000 posts/month (per org)
  • $4,000 for 1,000,000 posts/month  (per org)

On the first day of the month, the number of purchased additional posts is added to the included capacity of 10,000 posts. All unused posts expire at the end of each month.

Unified Service Desk (USD)

USD installation rights are included with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional and Enterprise USLs and with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Professional CAL Software Assurance.

USD is not available as a standalone license. 

USD software is installed and run locally on the user’s device. The use rights expire upon expiration of the qualifying USL subscription term or Software Assurance subscription. Only licensed users may use the software.

Sales Collaboration

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Sales Collaboration is included with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional USL or as a standalone USL ($2/user/month). However, customers need at least one USL for either Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Enterprise or CRM Online Enterprise in order access Microsoft Dynamics Marketing with a Sales Collaboration user.  

Dynamics Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Enterprise functionality is included with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise USL or as a standalone USL ($125/user/month). Users configured at Portal Users do not require a USL.

Included is 50k emails per month, and 5GB of storage. Additional emails available at  $20/10k/month. Additional storage is available at $2/GB/month

Parature from Microsoft

Parature Enterprise functionality is included with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise USL or as a standalone USL ($125/user/month)

Included Capacity; 2GB of storage, 1 million records/month, 1 million page views/month, 1 Department.

Add-ons: 1GB Database Storage at $20/month, 500K Additional Records at $50/month, 500K Additional Page views at $50/month, Additional Departments at $200/month

I hope this post will help you chose the right subscriptions and you'll enjoy the wonders of the Dynamics CRM family of 2015

See also

Comments (16)
  1. Rich says:

    Does the functionality chart also apply to On-Prem. Specifically, can an essentials user of CRM 2015 On-Prem read and write to Custom Entities?

  2. Aron says:

    We might want to setup some users just for the purpose of assigning records that user.Does a user in the org who does not log into the org also require a license?

  3. norman says:

    Aron, have you looked at assigning the records to a team? Team will not need a license.

  4. Alok Bansal says:

    In Basic Online version, read access for opportunities is provided.
    Is there any business value for having read access for opportunities?
    I mean if we cannot change anything in opportunities then what is the use of providing as a read only access in basic version.
    Please let me know.

  5. Ulrich says:

    I ask myself how an Administrator can be licensed in terms of not reducing the amount of user licenses. For example Customer has 25 professional CALs and has 25 productive users, which license shall i grant me as an crm admin? Does anyone know this? (CRM
    2015). Thanks in advance!

  6. Darren says:

    How does the multiplexing, and direct and indirect access clause in the CRM EULA relate to this? From my reading of the EULA all of the above is incorrect as anything created within, or used by CRM requires a CRM license.

    Consider the case where a customer record is created in CRM and linked to an opportunity within CRM, and eventually they become a customer with integration creating the customer record in some other system (call that system "MyERP") from the CRM customer information.
    By the wording of the EULA this implies that any user who reads the customer name (originally created in CRM and now indirectly accessed via MyERP) will require a CRM license. This means that essentially every MyERP user needs a CRM license.

    This use of indirect access is consistent with other Microsoft products so it is not a surprise, but this CRM licensing discussion seems to imply that it is not the case – when I think it is.

    If we are going to have a blog entry on CRM licensing it would be great to have realistic scenarios rather than the data and process island – non integrated ones.

  7. Multiplexing. The way I think of it is; If user X in say myERP is impacted if we turn the CRM system off, user X needs a license for the CRM system.

  8. julian says:

    Do you know how we can enter the Product Key now that the Trial version has expired in Dynamics CRM Onpremise, without re-installing de Server?

  9. Sean says:

    Julian, You would usually change your Product Key via Deployment Manager

  10. Mark Katzenberger says:

    My client has many Lead, Opportunity, Account, Contact, Activity etc records in CRM 2011 where the "Owner", "CreatedBy" or "ModifiedBy" is an inactive User no longer with the company. We are migrating data to CRM Online and would like to retain this historical
    data. Can we give these inactive Users Basic or Essential licenses for CRM Online?

    Thank you for the helpful post,

    1. J Verde says:

      @Mark Katzenberger
      Record Ownership should be reassigned to an active user. But no need to assign a license to ex-users. Remove their license, and they’ll still be in the user list

  11. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 provides flexible, high value, and simple-to-understand licensing

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not that I’m counting but I just realized one of my blog posts actually is closing in on 100k views

  13. Biplab Singha says:

    Anybody has idea How to downgrade License from Professional to Basic.

    1. Miguel says:

      In Office 365 (As long as there are basic licenses available)

Comments are closed.

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