Speaking in non-technical words, Provisioning means "providing" or making something available in either usable or non-usable form. Provisioning process will always have two key entities, Provider and Consumer. For example : In the telecommunications world , provisioning would mean setting up or providing new services like GPRS , MMS for a new customer or existing customer.
Even while you are reading this article your internet browser is provisioning the web content to you in readable (usable) format. Your browser is the provider and you are the consumer. Consider the classic example of how internet works ...
Finally your browser has performed mutiple operations to just get the Google homepage displayed on your screen.
Another example is : Traffic Signals which provide a mechanism to control the road traffic in an automated way , reducing the need of human beings from doing the work of traffic control.
In short, Provisioning is nothing but automating steps of a manual process.
According to the technical group that created the Services Provisioning Markup Language (SPML), provisioning is "the automation of all the steps required to manage (setup, amend, and revoke) user or system access entitlements or data relative to electronically published services."
Depending on the context provisioning can be of different types like Server provisioning , User provisioning , Mobile subscriber provisioning , Mobile content provisioning , Internet access provisioning.