How the most popular software deployment tools are used, backed by our research.

Dereck Breuning #SoftwareDeploymentTips Leave a Comment

The results are in! Last summer we asked many system administrators to fill in our survey. We wanted to learn more about their software deployment activities and what they consider important regarding software deployment (tools).

Out of the 103 persons who started the survey, 47 made it completely to the end. This is not unusual and we have to admit: it was a rather long survey and not all questions were easy. But we’re very grateful for all of those who made it to the end! Next to finding respondents within our own network (personal as well as business), we also advertised on LinkedIn and Reddit.

And as promised, we’d love to share some of the results with you!

Let’s start with the basics. The average number of computers and users there are in the company the respondents work for, are 7.085 computers and 5.322 users. That’s a ratio of 1,3 computers per user. We divided the number of computers and users in groups of 1-10, 11-50, 51-100, 101-500, 501-1.000, 1.001-5.000 and 5.000 and more. The biggest group has between 101 and 500 computers and users.


We asked our respondents how they deploy: computer based or user based. The greater part deploys to computers: 68,2%. The other 31,8% deploys to users. We compared these results with the amount of computers and users in the company the respondents work for.

The average amount of computers at those who deploy computer based is 7.662 with an average of 5.412 users (ratio: 1,4 computer per user). The average amount of computers at those who deploy user based is 6.599 with an average of 7.320 users (ratio: 0,9 computer per user).

The latter actually makes perfect sense: deploying user based when you have more users than computers in your company. This could be the case for schools with many students, or companies where most of the employees work part time.

The fact that 68,2% still mostly deploys computer based could mean that they don’t have the right tool or their current tool doesn’t suffice.

Of course we also asked which software deployment tool they use at the moment (click on image for larger view). After removing the “Other” option (which contained answers like Git, Ghost, Novell Zenworks and manual (we made a new category from those answers), this is the result. Microsoft SCCM is still the most used software deployment tool out there. Next on the list is Active Directory and we’re proud to say that Easy Software Deployment comes third. We are surprised to see that still 10% deploys manually!

We also calculated the average amount of computers and users of each software deployment tool, see the below table. This tells us that bigger companies mostly use SCCM, middle-sized companies use either PDQ Deploy, RES Automation Manager, Easy Software Deployment or Active Directory. Smaller sized companies more often choose to use Altiris, Ninite or no tool at all, by rolling out software and updates manually.

Another thing that drawed our attention; Easy Software Deployment is the only software deployment tool that has a ration lower than 1. This means that companies using Easy Software Deployment have more computers than users. Like mentioned before, these could be schools with many students, or companies where most of the employees work part time. Easy Software Deployment is one of the few software deployment tools (next to SCCM and Active Directory) which can deploy user based, so this is a logical result.

Average amount of computersAverage amount of usersRatio (average amount of computers per user)
Active Directory9214182,2
Easy Software Deployment1.0051.2700,8
PDQ Deploy1.5083005
RES Automation Manager1.0421.0741

We also asked if our respondents were happy (on a scale from 1 (very unhappy) to 5 (very happy)) with their current software deployment tool. It turns out that most are! Though it is remarkable that the software deployment tool that is used the most, Microsoft SCCM, scores this low. That means that even though Microsoft SCCM is the most used software deployment tool, it’s definitely not the most loved one.

What software deployment tool do you currently use?Are you happy with your current software deployment tool?
Easy Software Deployment4,00
RES Automation Manager4,00
PDQ Deploy4,00
Microsoft SCCM3,36
Active Directory3,00

We were also wondering how often our respondents usually deploy software or updates. As our pie chart tells us, 25% deploys daily! This made us very happy, because it means that they realise that safety matters. By deploying software immediately, you are keeping your computers, users and companies safe!

We wanted to know if bigger companies would deploy more often than smaller companies, but as the below table tells us, there’s hardly any difference in amount of computers/users and the frequency of deployment.

Average amount of computersAverage amount of users
3-4 times a week8.3676.848
1-2 times a week7.4536.107
2-3 times a month9.0677.517
Once a month8.2896.754
Less than once a month9.2917.575



As it turns out, 38,9% of respondents use additional software that is related to software deployment. For example for reporting, creating shortcuts, backups, etc. When asked which additional software they used, they answered amongst others AppSense, PDQ Inventory, RES Workspace Manager and homemade tools or scripting. A little tip: with Easy Software Deployment you don’t need to use any additional software!

The last part of our survey were 10 questions, each containing 5 software deployment tool properties. We asked our respondents to share with us how important they consider each property. Below we listed the top five most and top five least important properties.

  • Deploying software to computers
  • Pushing software
  • Support for Windows Installer packages
  • Deploying software to users
  • Active Directory integration
  • Custom branding for your company
  • Native user management
  • Other Directory integration
  • Azure Active Directory Integration
  • Support for ThinApp

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all for helping us out with this survey! We really learned from the results. We also promised to raffle €100,- amongst our respondents and James is the lucky winner! See the below video and image for proof. If you didn’t win the €100,-, please know that you did win our eternal gratitude! 😉

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