Changing the subscription pricing for the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS)

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on Oct 1, 2023 2:09:05 PM

We are changing the subscription pricing for the Visual Advanced Production Scheduler (VAPS) with the next VAPS released (targeted for mid-October).

This change has NO monetary impact on all customers using the VAPS with a recurring subscription payment or with a purchased license. It is a change in the subscription pricing, not the on-premises license pricing. Even if this change has no monetary impact on current customers, it has a technical impact.

Please read this blog post to learn more.

Why we change - 1. technology:

When we started developing our extensions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, we decided to focus on our core competency. Our core competency is visual scheduling. Creating a licensing engine is not our core competency.

Hence, we launched a product that everybody could download from AppSource. Unlimited, ungated, and with no forced payments. Without a licensing engine, we took the burden (on us, our partners, and our customers) to facilitate a manual invoicing process. It was always clear to us that there are better solutions than this. We expected Microsoft to launch a licensing and payment engine that all AppSource developers could build upon.

Thus, we joined Microsoft's "Business Central Transact" private beta program in the fall of last year. Since then, we have collaborated with Microsoft and other ISVs to evaluate and implement what Microsoft calls the transact capabilities. Meanwhile, these capabilities have been made available for a public preview and will become generally available shortly (see here).

Facilitating a purchasing, licensing, and transaction process fully integrated into the AppSource process brings tremendous advantages to our customers, partners, and us. It puts the manual invoicing process to its end.


Why we change - 2. pricing model:

Our initial decision not to invest in a licensing engine implied another major issue. We had no control over who used our app and for what. Hence, we could not differentiate between user types (e.g., planner and viewer). There is just one figure for which we, as an ISV, at least had a bit of transparency: This is the number of Business Central full users.

Consequently, we applied a "by Business Central full user" pricing model. If a customer bought the VAPS, we charged per Business Central full user that he had in his license. Of course, not every Business Central full user is a manufacturing user, and not every manufacturing user is a scheduling user. Consequently, we charged an "average price".

This "average price" per Business Central full user created increasing discussions with increasing full users. Hence, we had to keep a "shadow price list" for customers with higher user counts. This is far from ideal.

In a subscription world, customers want to pay for what they use. Concerning our offerings, they want to pay for planner users, not an average price per Business Central full user. We will charge only for the planner user with the new price model.


The new pricing model  - planner licenses

Cornerstones of the new pricing model:

  1. Prices are linked to the number of planner users.
  2. Prices are dependent on the number of operations scheduled with the VAPS. However, this still needs to be supported by Microsoft's Transact capabilities. Hence, it has yet to be put into practice eventually. (* we will control this for the time being)
  3. We offer discounted bundles if a customer purchases several planner licenses at once.
  4. Every customer will get the same functionality. We do not have different functional modules.
  5. We offer a free trial of one month. After that one month, customers need to pay for the VAPS (or cannot use it anymore).

New VAPS customers can choose from the options:

VAPS New Pricing

(USD price list available in our partner portal; further currencies supported from AppSource)


The new pricing model - service retainer

We see an increasing demand for ongoing production scheduling advice and consulting from our current VAPS customers - after their VAPS go-live. Hence, we are introducing a new service offering with the new price model. The "VAPS Services Retainer" provides customers with quick advice and consulting if needed - at a significantly discounted rate.

Cornerstones of the VAPS Services Retainer are:

  1. It is an optional offering to all VAPS customers.
  2. They can purchase it after the VAPS go-live.
  3. It allows customers to get ongoing consulting at a discounted rate quickly.
  4. The services retainer is a monthly fixed fee. Unused service hours cannot get transferred into the next month.
  5. Initially, the VAPS Services Retainer cannot get transacted through AppSource.
  6. The minimum duration is six months (billing and invoicing in advance).

There are three options available:

VAPS Services Retainer

(USD prices are available in the new price list, which you will find in our partner portal)

As said: the VAPS Service Retainer is an offering for customers after the VAPS go-live. For the implementation of the VAPS, we still recommend to either working with a VAPS-certified partner or purchasing the "VAPS Implementation & Consulting" package from us.




When is this effective?

The new VAPS pricing is effective from today (Oct 1, 2023). It will get automatically applied to new VAPS customers after the next major release or the VAPS (scheduled for mid-October).

To whom does this apply?

It only applies to VAPS cloud customers starting their subscription AFTER today (Oct 1, 2023).

I have deals in the pipeline with the old prices. Is there a transition period?

Yes. If you are a partner and have offered the VAPS to your customers with the old subscription model, please talk to us. We can guarantee the old pricing until 31 December 2023 - but we need to know. Otherwise, your customer will be automatically on the new price mode. Starting 1 January 2024, all deals will be according to the new pricing.

What happens when I buy four planner licenses initially and then need a fifth license?

If you buy four planner licenses in one go, you are in the PRO bundle. Then you pay 4 x EUR 130 per month, which is EUR 520 per month. 

If you then buy another planner license, it is just one license. The price for that additional planner is the one from the SINGLE bundle. Your new monthly rate will be EUR 520 + EUR 225 = EUR 745.

I am already using the VAPS in the cloud. What do I need to know?

Commercially, nothing changes for you. To give you a seamless user experience, we must add a special "VAPS license" to each person in your organization that works with the VAPS. We need to do this after the next major release of the VAPS. This is a technical process, not a commercial process. We will collaborate with you and your partner to achieve this.

I am using the VAPS on-premises. What do I need to know?

For you, nothing changes.

I am using the VAPS on-premises and will move to Dynamics 365 Business Central subscription shortly. What do I need to know?

If you use the VAPS on-premises, you (most likely) have purchased a VAPS (perpetual) license. This license grants you the right to use the software as long as you need - in the version that you purchased it. If you have an ongoing maintenance agreement (and pay the annual maintenance fees), you also have the right to update to a new VAPS version.

Financially, nothing should change for you. However, you can decide to cancel the maintenance agreement and start paying monthly subscription fees to keep the right to update. This is fully up to you.

Technically, we need to add a special "VAPS license" to each person in your organization that works with the VAPS. This is a technical process, not a commercial process. We will work with you and your partner to achieve this.

What about the Visual Production Scheduler (VPS) and Visual Jobs Scheduler (VJS) pricing?

VPS and VJS also have a "by Business Central full user" pricing. We will change this during Q4 2023 and switch to a "by planner" pricing as well.

I want to use the VAPS in viewing mode. What do I need to know?

Currently, this is not possible. The VAPS license is a planner license, and planners are entitled to change the schedule. We have no immediate plan to change this. Nevertheless, we might work on a VAPS viewing version and license in the future. Please follow our blog, and read our announcements to get notified once this is the case.

What if I want to test the VAPS for longer than 30 days?

By default, the trial period is 30 days if you are on the Business Central cloud. If you require a longer period for testing, we recommend you purchase one SINGLE subscription so that one planner user can work with the VAPS. Each subscription can get canceled on a monthly basis.

How do we count maximum operations?

With Operations we refer to production order routing lines.  We count the number of production order routing lines that are loaded onto a simulation of the VAPS. These operations are those that have a production order routing line status unequal to "finished"

The number operations aare not hard checked now, but will be in the future. 

Topics: Business Central Production Scheduling, Business Central Visual Scheduling Extensions