Software deployment: meaning, steps, and process

| By:
Milind Adpaiker

Software deployment is an important part of meeting your client’s evolving needs as a business, like deploying updates to applications, software, and patches. The process of deploying software is crucial to making sure intended users have access to what they need so they aren’t negatively impacted by errors and downtime.

Effectively deploying software requires full visibility into your client's IT infrastructure and important systems so you can quickly address challenges as they arise in the deployment process. The software deployment process can be made easier with deployment software to help streamline the tasks involved with getting new or updated software online and ready for users. 

If you want to improve and scale your IT business, and simplify the deployment process for your clients, continue reading to learn about strategies, tips, and solutions for successful software deployment.

What is software deployment?

Software deployment is the process of making certain software applications or updates available to a client’s users, such as updating a server or device. Deployment meaning in software can also refer to application deployment.

Several tasks are involved when deploying software, and often rely on a combination of manual and automated processes and protocols. Software deployment process steps can include:

  • Installation of new or updated software, applications, and patches.
  • Configuration of details like network and security settings and hardware resources to ensure consistency across your client’s IT environment.  
  • Testing that system before and after deployment to check factors like response time, load capacity, security, and usability. 
  • Implementing the software in the target environment.
  • Monitoring the ongoing performance of the software or application.

Deploying software can look different depending on the software development methodology and the type of software being deployed. For example, deploying a web application may involve configuring web servers and databases. Deploying a desktop application may involve creating installation packages and distributing them to end users.

Effective software deployment is important for your clients because it ensures software updates and new features are delivered to their users quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption, which can be costly. The deployment also plays a critical role in maintaining the stability and security of the software system and IT environment, which can support clients who need to meet certain regulatory guidelines, like those in payment card industries. Some companies may need to comply with standards like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which helps protect customer credit card data against fraud.

You play a crucial role in helping your clients get the comprehensive IT services and support they need so they can focus on core business activities. You partner with clients and get to know their needs and objectives so you can tailor IT solutions like software deployment, endpoint detection and response, and network monitoring to their business. IT automation solutions combined with great software deployment are important to helping you and your clients scale and grow.

Software deployment vs. software release

The terms software deployment and software release are often used interchangeably but refer to different aspects of the software development process or life cycle. 

A software release is making a new version of the software available to end users. This can involve making a package of the software available for download or physically distributing it across various channels. A software release can include new features, bug fixes, security updates, and other improvements.

Software deployment refers to the process of installing the software in your client’s target environment. This can involve several steps like configuring the software, setting up servers or databases, and making sure that the software seamlessly integrates with other systems on your client’s network.

Software deployment strategies

There are several software deployment strategies you can use depending on the specific needs of your client and their business, and the software being deployed. At the most basic level, you can update all target environments at once without using a specific strategy. However, this can leave you more vulnerable if there are outages or a need to reverse the deployment process. Therefore, the following software deployment strategies may be useful:

  • Rolling deployment involves deploying the new version of the software in small batches and then gradually increasing the size of each batch until your client’s entire system has been updated. This gives you more control over the software deployment process because you can detect and fix issues as they come up. If there is an issue, it only affects a limited number of users instead of the whole system.
  • Continuous deployment involves automatically deploying changes to production as soon as they are made without manual intervention. This requires more sophisticated automation and testing to ensure that changes do not introduce bugs or other issues.
  • Blue-green deployment involves creating two identical production environments with only one live at a time. One is the "blue" environment, which is currently being used and the other is the "green" environment, which is idle. The new version of the software is deployed to the idle “green” environment. After the new version is tested and validated, traffic is switched from the “blue” to the “green” environment. This strategy makes it easier to roll back the software if needed.
  • Canary deployment involves deploying the new version of the software to a small group of users or servers first, and then gradually increasing the percentage of users or servers until the new version is deployed to the entire system. This allows for early detection of any issues or bugs, with only a small group of users being affected in the early stages. This strategy carries the least risk and lets you test the software deployment in a real production environment rather than in staging.  
  • A/B testing involves deploying software in two versions concurrently, with a certain group of users or traffic being routed to each version. This allows you to test and compare the two versions so you can determine which performs better or is preferred by your client and their users. This strategy has similarities to the canary deployment but can be more complex to set up and monitor.

Software deployment strategies vary and there are others you can test to see if they work for you and your clients. You may find that a combination of strategies is more useful for a particular client. The key is choosing a strategy that balances the need for speed and efficiency with stability and reliability like the ConnectWise Asio platform agent, which enables more successful software deployments for your clients to benefit their users and help them grow.

The software deployment process

The software deployment process steps are important to follow as you release software into production. The following are the typical steps involved in the software deployment process:

  • Planning and preparation to identify specific requirements for deploying software, including the target environment, hardware and software requirements, and any dependencies or third-party integrations. Planning may also include testing to help you verify that software meets the specified requirements before it’s deployed. 
  • Deployment and configuration involve deploying software to your client’s target environment and configuring it to work properly within that environment. Configuration can include tasks like setting up database connections, configuring web servers, or other tasks specific to the target environment.
  • Monitoring and maintenance will continue after the software deployment to check for any issues or bugs that may arise. You’ll want to keep an eye on factors like HTTP errors, database performance, and operating systems using monitoring tools or predetermined indicators related to your client’s business.
  • Rollbacks may be necessary if the software release was unsuccessful based on testing, monitoring, and metrics observed. A rollback will restore the previous version of the software so your client’s users can continue to operate with minimal interruptions.
  • Updates and upgrades may be needed as the software is used and evolves over time to address bugs or add new features relevant to your client’s business. This process typically involves going through the same steps as the initial deployment process with the added challenge of ensuring that the updated version of the software is compatible with the client’s existing system.

The software deployment process is a critical aspect of your MSP business and helps your clients succeed. Careful planning, testing, and execution ensure that the software is reliable and performs as expected in the production environment.

Software deployment challenges

Software deployment can be a complex and challenging process with several common challenges MSPs may face when deploying software. Here are some of the most common challenges:

  • Lack of compatibility: Ensuring that the software is compatible with the target environment, hardware, and software dependencies can be a significant challenge. This may involve testing and validating the software on a range of different platforms and configurations to ensure that it will work correctly in different scenarios and with different users.
  • Poor software configuration. Getting software to work properly within the target environment can be challenging, especially in complex environments with multiple components and dependencies. An example is a business with a complex supply chain and several stakeholders that may be affected by deploying software. Configuration management can help to automate this process but still require careful planning and execution to ensure that all systems integrate properly. 
  • Insufficient security is a critical concern when deploying software, and it is important to ensure that the software is designed and implemented with security in mind. This may involve conducting security testing, implementing access controls, and configuring firewalls and other security measures to protect against attacks. You also need to make sure data is being properly classified so that security is applied appropriately.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws adds complexity to software deployment. Ensuring that the deployed software meets all relevant compliance requirements, such as data privacy, encryption, and auditing, may require additional steps and configurations.
  • Lack of scalability: Scalability allows your client to keep growing with minimal disruptions. This may mean increasing the number of users or transactions; however, this can be a challenge if the software doesn’t meet the needs of your clients, especially if they are growing rapidly.
  • Rollback and Disaster Recovery: In the event of deployment failures or critical issues, having a robust rollback plan and disaster recovery mechanisms in place is vital. This involves maintaining backups, implementing proper version control, and establishing procedures to revert to a stable state quickly and efficiently.
  • Poor monitoring and maintenance can lead to slow resolution when issues or bugs arise. Good monitoring and maintenance typically involve using monitoring tools and protocols, in addition to having a plan in place to respond quickly to any issues when they are detected.
  • Ineffective communication and collaboration between developers, testers, and operations teams can lead to poor software deployment that ultimately affects your client. It is important to have effective communication and collaboration processes in place to ensure that everyone is working together effectively. This may involve using collaboration tools, setting up regular meetings, and establishing clear roles and responsibilities for your IT team and other stakeholders.

Best practices for software deployment

Effective software deployment is key to helping your clients while continuing to build credibility as a business. There are several beneficial practices when it comes to software deployment including:

  • Automating the deployment process where possible. Manual deployments can be more error-prone and time-consuming. Automation tools can help improve consistency and reduce the chances of human error.
  • Environment Standardization: Ensure consistency across different environments (development, testing, staging, production) by using configuration management tools or infrastructure as code. This helps reduce deployment issues caused by environment discrepancies.
  • Dependency Management: Keep track of the dependencies your software relies on and manage them effectively. Use dependency management tools to ensure that the correct versions of libraries, frameworks, and external components are used during deployment.
  • Creating metrics to measure the success of deployment will give you a foundation for testing after deploying software and determine what to do if performance isn’t meeting standards. 
  • Testing thoroughly before deploying software and running thorough tests to ensure that it meets predetermined standards and metrics. Automated tests can be used to catch bugs early and ensure that the code is working as intended.
  • Choosing the appropriate deployment strategy, like canary or blue/green strategies, to address issues relevant to your client’s business and IT infrastructure. 
  • Having a rollback plan to address issues that arise during deployment. A rollback plan helps to quickly revert to the previous version of the software if necessary.
  • Document the deployment process so that it can be easily replicated in the future, which can ensure more consistency and fewer errors when deploying software in the future.
  • Continuous Learning and Improvement: Encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement within your deployment processes. Conduct post-deployment reviews to gather feedback, identify areas for improvement, and implement lessons learned in future deployments.

Solutions for software deployment

When it comes to deployment software, there are several options to choose from, so how do you know which tools are right for you and your clients? Here are a few factors to consider when looking for the right deployment solutions:

  • Automation to help you streamline deployment processes and insights to ensure seamless integration and implementation.
  • Easy-to-use tools that are accessible to your IT team and other stakeholders.
  • Compatible with your client’s operating systems and other aspects of their IT infrastructure to avoid costly downtime and other potential challenges.
  • A solution that scales alongside your client's business growth is crucial. The tools should be capable of handling increased demands, such as deploying software to a larger number of users or supporting higher transaction volumes without compromising performance or stability.
  • A secure platform that enhances you and your client’s networks and offers user permissions to ensure appropriate access to those who need it.

The ConnectWise platform can provide the automation, patch management, security data insights, scripting, and other features you need to help scale your business while giving your clients the support and protection they need. Demo our fast, flexible solutions today to see how we can help you grow your business.


As you work with your clients on deploying new or upgraded software, discuss specific needs and benefits the software will provide like how it will improve efficiency, create a more secure infrastructure, and have good ROI. Then you and the client can work together to decide on the objectives for deploying software and create a clear plan to facilitate a smooth deployment.

The following are common mistakes some businesses make when deploying software:

  • Not creating key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor during deployments like network usage and computer processing unit (CPU). A good software deployment tool will provide a dashboard where you can monitor KPIs in one place as you deploy.
  • Not having a strategy for rolling back deployment if it goes poorly. A backup strategy can help to quickly revert or resolve issues when they arise during deployment. 
  • Not receiving feedback from end users. Getting feedback throughout the deployment process gives you and your client more insight into the data and how to improve software and configurations to best meet business needs and KPIs.

First, it’s crucial for your clients to have access to the best software deployment tools that automatically check for compliance issues related to their industry. With those tools, compliance can be monitored and tested throughout the deployment process.

Choosing software deployment tools that are secure, automated, easy to use, adhere to necessary regulatory guidelines, and meet your client’s needs are key to the successful deployment of software.