Application Group Deployment using SCCM

In this post, we will go through the steps to deploy multiple applications as a group to users and devices collection. Previously, we need to create separate deployment for each application and now, we can create single deployment for multiple applications. This feature was a pre-release feature in SCCM version 1906 and starting with version 2211, its enabled by default. Launch SCCM console -> Administration node -> Updates and Servicing -> Features, you will find Application groups feature is listed and enabled already. The applications can be re-ordered in the group and the group will show as a single entry in software center.

Application Groups Feature

Create Application Group:

Launch SCCM console and go to Software Library -> Application Management -> Application Groups. Right click Application and select Create Application Group.

Create Application Group

On General information page, specify name of the application, Administrator comments, Publisher name & version details. You can also select administrative categories to differentiate the application business requirements and click Next.

Create Application Group – General Information

On Software Center page, specify the language, localized application name, application description, application icon to show in the software Center and click Next.

Create Application Group – Software Center Entry

On Application Group page, select the applications to be installed or uninstalled in the group and you can arrange the application in the specific order using Move up & move down. There is no official information on the applications count we can include in the group. Click Add to select the applications.

Create Application Group – Add Applications

Select the applications to be included in the group. I have selected three applications in this post and click ok.

Create Application Group – Select Applications

Selected applications are added in the group, and you can use move up or down option to order the applications and click Next to proceed with summary.

Create Application Group – Applications list

On Summary page, review the configured settings like General information, Software Center details & the added applications and if there are any changes, you can go back and modify it. Click Next to apply the settings.

Create Application Group – Summary

The application group has been created successfully. Click close to complete the Wizard.

Create Application Group – Completion

Open SCCM console and navigate to Software Library -> Application Groups to check the applications group in SCCM and it will also list the applications included in the group.

Application Group Created

Deploy Application Group to the collection:

Once the application group created, we need to deploy the collection which contains the user’s device. Select the application group and right click and choose Deploy.

Application Group Deployment

On General page, specify the application group and click browse to select the target collection. You will be able to see the list of collections and select the collection you want the application group to be deployed.

Application Group Deployment – General

Once you click the Browse button, select the target collection. In this case, I have created Application Group – IT Admins collection.

Application Group – General1

Now, we have selected the application group and collection to be deployed and Click Next to proceed further.

Application Group – General2

On Content page, add the distribution point to distribute the contents for the applications in the application group and if you have already distributed the applications to distribution points, it will show in the below box and its not required to add again. Click Next.

Application Group Deployment – Content

On Deployment Settings page, choose the action whether you are going to install the applications or uninstall the applications. In this case, I am going to install the applications, so I selected Install option. Next one, choose whether the deployment should be Available or Required mode. If you choose Available mode, the application group will display in software Center and the users need to install manually from software Center. For Required deployment mode, the application group will install automatically from software Center and no need to install manually from software Center. Also, select administrative approval is required or not and Click Next.

Application Group Deployment – Deployment Settings

On Scheduling page, please specify the date and time to schedule the application groups available in software center. If you do not specify the time, the group will be available as soon as possible on the devices. Also, please mention whether local time or UTC time for the schedule. Click Next.

Application Group Deployment – Scheduling

On User experience page, specify the user notifications for this deployment and there are two options available, 1. Display all notifications 2. Display in software Center and only show notifications for computer restarts. I have selected second options to show notifications for computer restarts only and click Next.

Application Group Deployment – User Experience

Specify alert options for configuration manager and operations manager. I keep the options by default and Click Next.

Application Group Deployment – Alerts

On Summary page, verify configured settings and if there are any changes required, click Previous button. If everything is fine, click Next to proceed further.

Application Group Deployment – Summary

On completion page, you will find the deployment completion success message and if any error, it will display the error message and troubleshoot the issue based on error code in the log file. Click Close to complete the wizard.

Application Group Deployment – Completion

Application group deployment is created in SCCM console and initiate machine policy in the collection to enforce the deployment or go to control panel -> configuration manager and initiate the policies.

Application Group Deployment created

Application Group Installation Process:

The application group made available in software Center on the user device. Launch software Center and go to Applications tab, you will see the applications & application groups listed. Click Application Group_IT Admins.

Application group listed in software center

After clicking the application group, install option will be available and click to install to start the installation.

Application Group install option

The application group is currently installing the mapped applications one after another. Verify the below logs to monitor the installation & to troubleshoot the issues during installation.

  • AppGroupHandler.log
  • AppEnforce.log
  • SettingsAgent.log

Application Group is installing

Application Group installation log

The application group is now installed and it will change the status as Installed in software Center and you will now see the uninstall option enabled. if you want to uninstall the applications. Click uninstall or else, leave it as it is.

Application Group is installed

To Monitor the installation from SCCM console, go to monitoring node -> Deployments -> Click the application group deployment to verify compliant status. Click View Status for more details.

Application Group Deployment Status

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