Automating installations

I have five computers and two users using four different languages and keyboards in two countries. I started SuSe with version 9.1 and now run 11.2. With each new version I spend more and more time in repetitive installations and upgrading of applications. The O.S. installation is now relatively painless. It’s the applications that take a lot of time, especially when newer versions have unwanted “improvements”. Amarok is an example. I was wondering if I could automate the process using a script and zypper. If someone is already doing this could you please point me in the right direction? Possibly with some examples?

Any help will be much appreciated.