Application Packaging: Benefits, Examples and Best Practices

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For companies to remain competitive with other businesses, it's important that they provide users with fast and useful software updates. With application packaging, companies can deliver high-quality updates that are both timely and non-intrusive. Learning about this process can help you implement it efficiently for both internal users and external customers.

In this article, we discuss what application packaging is and explore its many benefits, including examples of the process and best practices for how to use it.

Related: Process Optimization Methods: Definition, Benefits and Types

What is application packaging?

Application packaging is a process that organizations use to streamline how they deliver important software to a user's device. This process works by creating one or more package files containing pieces of the company's software. Each file is a representation of the software that individual business units require, containing pre-defined user and system settings applicable to the organization's controls and standards.

With application packaging, IT administrators and other related professionals can provide customers with the latest software updates, security updates and a host of new features. It ensures that users always have the most current software environment.

Related: What Is Application Software? (Definition and Types)

What are the benefits of using application packaging?

There are several benefits you can gain from using application packaging, such as:

  • Saves time: Application packaging allows a company to deliver new software updates to users digitally in a short amount of time. They can deliver hotfixes even faster since these are bite-sized packages containing fixes for very specific issues.

  • Improves problem-solving: Instead of troubleshooting individual devices one at a time, application packaging allows companies to send out fixes and updates for users on a global scale. This helps to streamline the problem-solving process since they can deliver solutions to all users simultaneously.

  • Reduces total cost of ownership (TCO): TCO represents the purchase price of an asset, plus the operation costs. Using application packaging helps to reduce this estimate significantly since the development and the delivery of these packages don't require excessive maintenance.

  • Reduces application management costs: With troubleshooting processes standardized on a global scale, the company doesn't need to hyper-manage the application. This helps to reduce application management overheads, allowing the company to allocate those saved funds towards other important operational and development initiatives.

  • Allows for global testing: As a globalized system, companies that use application packaging can test out each package for their customers all across the world. This helps the organization to identify errors in a timely manner and gain feedback from both casual users and professionals.

  • Minimizes service disruptions: Application packaging simplifies the software update process, making it a non-intrusive alternative to the versions that require a CD-ROM, USB stick or another plug-in device. Packages can run quietly in the background of your system, minimizing disruptions to your service, entertainment and workflow.

  • Maximizes efficiency between internal departments: Application packaging is also useful for delivering updates to all the internal departments within the company. This is incredibly beneficial because it means all departments are going to have the latest software updates, which can help to maximize workload efficiency, productivity, communication and collaboration.

  • Helps companies remain competitive: As companies move operations to more digital environments, it becomes imperative that they can provide the best service to users. With application packaging, organizations can remain competitive with other businesses that service their customers in this manner.

  • Reduces the chance of users receiving malware: When users look for second-hand software downloads on the internet, these files can sometimes contain harmful malware like computer viruses, trojan horses, spyware and worms. With a legitimate application package sent directly from the company, there's little to no chance for the file to contain any type of malicious malware.

Related: 10 Steps for Improving Business Optimization (With Benefits)

Application packaging best practices

Here are some important considerations when you use application packaging:

  • Manage application conflicts: Throughout the application packaging process, sometimes conflicts can arise between new and old applications. It's crucial that you use packaging tools to find the conflicts and address them accurately.

  • Group applications: Not all packages are necessary or even compatible with every department in a company. Grouping application packages by department enables you can allocate software for individual business units based on their specific needs.

  • Gather critical requirements: This is one of the most crucial elements of developing and deploying application packaging because you want to ensure that your deliverables meet user needs. Therefore, it's important for IT teams to understand the requirements and technical data of each application package.

  • Stabilize core images: An image is a copy of a software application that allows you to duplicate and then transfer the exact same version across multiple systems. Verify that the core image you plan to use for the application is stable before you begin replicating and packing it into other copies.

  • Use the installer technology: An installer is a tool that helps you to add applications and software to desktop computers. Using this technology can further streamline the capabilities of an application package.

  • Use virtual machines for user acceptance testing (UAT): UAT is a step of application packaging where you validate that the created package is completely functional and works as intended. Performing UAT in a virtual machine enables you to test out the package freely and then revert it to its previous version without fear of losing critical information or progress.

  • Use a phased and controlled rollout: Even after testing a package and using UAT to ensure that it's functional, there is still the possibility of something in the package malfunctioning. As such, you can introduce further quality assurance for the product by slowly releasing it to specific controlled groups incrementally.

Examples of application packaging

Here are a few examples of application packaging:

Software company example

A software company produces and releases high-quality electronic finance technology that allows other corporations to optimize their financial operations. The company offers a variety of application tools and other features for its customers to use. A universal error occurs in one of their software applications, locking out every customer from using this specific tool. With application packaging, the software company can quickly deliver a new software update to fix the issue for all its customers.

Related: What Is Software Implementation? (Importance and Elements)

IT company example

An IT company releases software environments and operating systems for millions of customers all around the world. They frequently deliver minor hotfixes and updates over the years to ensure that the operating systems are operating optimally. However, the current operating system has reached the end of its lifecycle and now it's time for users to receive the new edition of the operating system. The IT company can streamline the deployment process of the new operating system when they send it as an application package, with several additional application packages featuring hotfixes as needed.

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