Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

One of the primary ways that most solution providers wind up establishing relationships with customers is by taking on some of the more menial tasks that the internal IT organization often doesn’t want to do. Once the customer gains confidence in the ability of the solution provider can actually manage that process, additional opportunities usually unfold.

One of the more complex tasks that most IT organizations wrestle with these days is the provisioning of operating systems on client devices. The reason for this is that most organizations are not only still running multiple instances of Windows XP these days, many of them are looking are either upgrading to Windows 7 or making the move to the Windows 8 platform that Microsoft intends to roll out later this year. At the same time, many customers are thinking about simultaneously embracing desktop virtualization.

In addition, organizations today are likely to have a few Apple Macintosh or Linux desktop in the mix along with a bevy of operating systems for mobile computing devices that all need to be updated on a regular basis.

And just to make matters a little more interesting, it’s not at all clear who will actually own that machine given the rise of employee-owned devices in the enterprise that the IT organizations are still going to be asked to manage.

All this diversity on the desktop is giving IT organizations a major headache that takes valuable time away from doing things that could add more value to the business, which is one of the primary reasons that the folks at SmartDeploy, a provider of operating system migration tools, think now is a good time for solution providers to focus more on operating system migrations.

SmartDeploy CEO Aaron Suzuki says it’s pretty clear at this juncture that managing the desktop environment has never been more complex. As a result, the days when IT organizations made wholesale migrations are over. Instead, a few machines are upgraded on a semi-regular basis, which means that instead of being an event, operating system migrations have become an ongoing process. The processes being used today to manage operating system upgrades, says Suzuki, are not only inefficient, they are also unreliable given the propensity for human error.  That creates the opportunity solution providers need to create a practice around desktop migrations, says Suzuki.

By way of example of such an effort and effort SmartDeploy recently inked a partnership with WinMill, a solution provider that will leverage SmartDeploy Enterprise software to create just such as a practice.

Right now SmartDeploy is optimized for Windows environments, but Suzuki says it won’t be long before the company’s software supports multiple platforms. SmartDeploy also intends to make its software available as a cloud service, which would give solution providers the option for either investing in their own service or leveraging the investments that SmartDeploy is making in the cloud.

In either event, it’s clear that desktop migration is creating an opportunity to build a practice, versus simply helping customers upgrade machines once every few years. Obviously, there are multiple tools available to accomplish this goal. But Suzuki says one of the things that differentiate SmartDeploy is the number of clients that can be effectively managed by one administrator plus the wealth of best practices content the company makes available for managing IT as a service.

No matter what approach is ultimately taken, solution providers might want to start promoting desktop diversity if for no other reason than the opportunity it provides to generate additional IT services revenue.