PC software & application deployment  

Whether you’re provisioning new devices or updating existing computers, it’s crucial to do it right. PC software deployment is a process that enables IT teams to efficiently test, deploy, and install software across user groups and devices, monitoring them for performance issues. A well-designed software deployment tool automates common tasks from a single platform, saving you hours of manual work. The result is consistent and productive IT management, better endpoint performance, and a more secure environment. 

SmartDeploy application deployment dashboard

WHAT IS SOFTWARE DEPLOYMENT?

Smartdeploy console

Software deployment, or application deployment, is the process of deploying software applications to endpoints in a specific environment. The end-to-end process includes installing, configuring, and testing the software before delivering it to end users.

Besides distributing brand-new company applications, software deployment is also used to push out software updates and patches to employee devices. An essential part of IT operations, updating and patching software regularly keeps business-critical systems healthy, secure, and up to date.

Done manually, PC software deployment is time consuming, difficult to monitor, and prone to security lapses. Software deployment tools allow IT teams to automate the process, distributing software more efficiently and securely to multiple computers across the organization.

KEY SOFTWARE DEPLOYMENT FEATURES

Central dashboard

View software information for multiple computers from a single pane of glass. Manage your software installations and deployments across your entire environment.

Scan and report

Automatically scan and report software information for every PC in your environment so you know what to deploy, patch, or uninstall.

Application package library

Save hours of work with a library of prebuilt application packages that you can download and deploy to any PC immediately.

Custom application packages

Create custom packages for unique deployments — whether it’s an MSI package, Office 365 deployment package, or custom PowerShell scripts.

Include core apps

When setting up new PCs, streamline the process by deploying common applications with your Windows OS image. 

Deploy software across groups

Have the flexibility to cater to different user groups easily by deploying specific software to separate departments or employees. 

Automate deployments

Schedule zero-touch software deployments to any endpoint at a specified time. Set up silent installs during off-hours to minimize downtime.

Multiple deployment options

Whether PCs are onsite or in remote locations, you can deploy software via offline media, a local network, or over the cloud.

HOW TO DEPLOY A SOFTWARE APPLICATION PACKAGE

download an application pack in SmartDeploy console
  • Install the console
  • Install the client on the target PC or test environment
  • Download prebuilt application packs from the library
  • Select the target machine via the central dashboard
  • Select the application packs to be deployed
  • Set deployment settings and deploy

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A SOFTWARE DEPLOYMENT SOLUTION?

Greater consistency & oversight

A software deployment tool gives IT a more unified and consistent way to manage company software applications. Track software information and identify outdated versions — all from a single source of truth.

Efficient & secure software management

Deploy software across your fleet more efficiently with task automation and scheduling. And stay on your security A-game by eliminating shadow IT while keeping company software patched and up to date.

  • Greater IT consistency 
  • Greater IT control & oversight  
  • Enhanced IT security
  • Streamlined deployment workflows  
  • Eliminated shadow IT 
  • Centralized management
  • Time savings 
  • Easier software updates & patching   

HEAR FROM REAL SMARTDEPLOY CUSTOMERS

Farmer on a laptop computer

Learn how Mercer Landmark, a fast-growing agriculture business, successfully handles PC application deployment across over 200 endpoints using SmartDeploy’s imaging and deployment software.  

SMARTDEPLOY VS. LEADING COMPETITOR IN SOFTWARE DEPLOYMENT

SmartDeploy

Competitor

Easy setup

Yes

vs

No

Short ramp-up time

Yes

vs

No

Wizard-driven guided interface

Yes

vs

No

Out-of-box, user-friendly dashboard

Yes

vs

No

Ease of use for any skill level

Yes

vs

No

Complex configurations required

No

vs

Yes

Available quick-start guides

Yes

vs

No

FAQs

What is the software deployment process?

The software deployment process is a series of essential steps to prepare and deliver software to multiple endpoints across the organization. These steps include: 

  • Plan: Identify the what, who, and how. What software do you need to deploy? What are the risks? How many user endpoints are you deploying to? Decide on the deployment method that works best for your organization — and document the process. 
  • Test: New software or new software versions can be buggy. It’s important to install and run it in a test environment to check for issues. If you’re using a PC software deployment solution, it’s also useful to test the deployment mechanism as well.  
  • Schedule and deploy: Set reasonable timelines for key milestones of the deployment process, including testing, remediation, and issues management. Avoid deploying at peak hours to minimize downtime. Larger-scale deployments are best done in phases.  
  • Train users: If you’re deploying brand-new software, it’s a good idea to provide training or instructions to help users get started. You can also include FAQs for common user issues to reduce reliance on IT for troubleshooting. 
  • Monitor: Whether you’re deploying new software or updates, you’ll need to keep a close eye on things during and after deployment. Was the software deployed as expected? Are there any post-deployment performance issues?  
  • Support and troubleshoot: Regardless of how well you’ve prepared, it’s common for issues to occur. Have a contingency plan in place and stand by to provide support, if necessary.  

Establishing clear workflows and using a software deployment tool enables you to better handle the complexities of deploying software to different users and devices with more consistency and less risk.  

Software deployment process infographic
Illustration of best practices

How do you incorporate a software deployment solution?

When delivering and managing company devices, a software deployment solution can reduce manual workloads and streamline complex workstreams. To incorporate a PC software and application deployment solution in your organization, start with these steps: 

  • Assess your organizational needs
  • Evaluate your IT resources 
  • Take stock of your software inventory 
  • Research and choose the right software deployment solution for your business 
  • Create a reliable testing environment
  • Have a robust software deployment process in place 

What are PC software deployment best practices?

To deploy software successfully across your endpoint environment, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

  1. Review endpoints regularly: Check for outdated software, especially for mission-critical applications. Minimize security vulnerabilities by uninstalling unused software from user devices as well.
  2. Know your environment: This includes knowing your network structure and resources, critical systems, the hardware makes and models you manage, key security concerns, and compliance requirements.
  3. Stay on top of software updates: Whether it’s subscribing to RSS feeds or systems-specific mailing lists, it’s important to stay informed of the latest software releases.
  4. Develop a solid plan: Your PC application deployment plan should be based on your organization’s operational schedule — avoiding peak hours — and always include contingencies in case issues occur.
  5. Communicate clearly: Inform users of upcoming updates — especially if they are major — and any potential impact on their system. Use communications tools like Slack to post helpful updates, FAQs, or resources.
  6. Test thoroughly: You can test new software by running a pilot program before official deployment. Recruit test users who reflect the diversity of your organization and can give you constructive feedback.
  7. Automate tasks: If you can automate a task, do it. Instead of deploying software manually, use software deployment tools that automatically track deployment activities and software updates across endpoints.
  8. Audit your deployments: Review your deployments to make sure that new software or software updates have been installed successfully.
Man sitting at table on a laptop computer
How do you choose the right software deployment solution for your business infographic

How do you choose the right software deployment solution for your business?

The right software deployment solution can help you regain the long hours spent on manual deployments and reduce critical inconsistencies in your software environment. When considering your options, assess each one against these key criteria: 

  • Ease of setup and use
  • Functionality (including task automation, bulk rollouts, and remote management)
  • Prebuilt package library
  • Reporting features 
  • Technical support
  • Real customer reviews 

Look for solutions that offer product demos and fully functioning free trials so that you can get first-hand insights before deciding.  

What are the different software deployment methods? Which is the best? 

There are four common types of software deployment methods.

  1. Basic deployment involves deploying software to all target endpoints at the same time. Without a controlled process or strategy, there is a high risk of outages if problems occur during app deployment.
  2. Rolling deployment takes a staggered approach where software is deployed in phases, on one endpoint or a subset of endpoints at a time. This reduces the risk and scope of disruption from any errors or issues that may occur.
  3. Blue-green deployment involves having two identical environments in place while deploying the new software simultaneously. One serves as a backup and is removed once the software is successfully deployed and the new environment is free of issues. 
  4. Canary deployment is an incremental approach. New software is first deployed to a small batch of endpoints or users and tested for issues before being delivered progressively to the rest of the organization.

Among the four, canary deployment comes with the least risk and allows IT to have more control over the app deployment process and outcomes.

Man with headphones typing at desktop computer
Illustration of computer settings functions

What are the different types of software deployment solutions?

Software deployment solutions can be network-based or agent-based. Which option you choose depends on multiple factors like your IT infrastructure, resources, and where endpoints are located.

Network-based software deployment solutions can be used without an agent installed on the endpoint device. Instead, IT creates a local administrator account which is used to perform deployment tasks via network-executed scripts or commands. For security reasons, these admin credentials should be encrypted in all the places where they are stored. Remote devices need to be connected to a VPN.  

Agent-based software deployment solutions function via an agent that’s installed on an endpoint machine. Leveraging a secure channel of communication between console and agent, you can deploy software directly to the device. Some solutions like SmartDeploy offer the flexibility of more than one software distribution method. You can deploy apps via a local network or over the cloud using your existing cloud storage account, no VPN required.