As a consultant working on software packaging and deployment projects, one of the most common questions asked is “which is cheaper: manual installs or packaging?”
It’s a valid question. The answer is, “it depends.” There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A single answer isn’t even remotely feasible due to the range of variables involved with each environment, each application and each unique deployment goal. For example, the figure below shows one case where deploying a product to 5 computers was cheaper to do manually.
To help address this, I developed a simple spreadsheet to calculate the costs for each approach and then provide a summary comparison. The response was very positive and much better than I expected. I made the first version available a few months ago, but after receiving feedback from customers and other engineers, I made some improvements to both the functionality and the appearance.
The form is very simple to use. Simply enter values into the cells which are not color-filled, and it updates automatically. It’s currently in Microsoft Excel 2013 format, but if you need it in other formats I will try to oblige. You can download it from the link below.