What is software provisioning vs deployment?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Software provisioning and deployment are two distinct processes in the lifecycle of getting a device ready for a user. While they are closely related, it is important to understand the difference between the two.

Provisioning, at its core, involves defining and implementing the necessary settings and software on a device to meet the user’s requirements. This process typically involves configuring various aspects of the device, such as network settings, security policies, and access controls. It also includes installing and configuring the necessary software applications that the user will need.

The first step in provisioning is determining the specific settings and software that need to be deployed to the device. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as manual configuration or using a mobile device management (MDM) solution. The MDM solution allows administrators to remotely manage and configure devices, making the provisioning process more efficient and scalable.

Once the settings and software have been defined, they are implemented on the device. This can include pushing configurations to the device over the air or physically connecting the device to a computer for configuration. The goal of provisioning is to ensure that the device is set up correctly and ready for the user to use.

Deployment, on the other hand, is the broader process of getting a device into the hands of a user. It encompasses all the steps required to physically deliver the device to the user, as well as the provisioning process. Deployment can include activities such as purchasing and shipping devices, enrolling them in an MDM solution, and distributing them to users.

In a typical deployment scenario, devices are first purchased and configured with any necessary hardware components, such as memory or storage upgrades. Once the devices are ready, they are shipped to the desired location or directly to the user. Upon receiving the device, the user may need to go through an initial setup process, such as connecting to a Wi-Fi network and creating a user account.

After the device is physically set up, the provisioning process begins. This involves configuring the device with the necessary settings and software, as discussed earlier. The provisioning process can be automated through an MDM solution, which allows administrators to remotely configure devices in bulk, saving time and effort.

In my personal experience, I have been involved in both the provisioning and deployment processes for various organizations. I have worked with MDM solutions to define and implement settings and software on devices, ensuring that they are ready for users. I have also been responsible for purchasing and shipping devices, as well as managing the overall deployment process.

To summarize, software provisioning and deployment are related but distinct processes. Provisioning involves defining and implementing the necessary settings and software on a device, while deployment encompasses all the steps required to physically deliver the device to the user and includes the provisioning process. Both processes are crucial in ensuring that devices are ready for users to use efficiently and securely.