Citrix announced in December plans to buy Zenprise to round out its mobile management offering, following Research in Motion's purchase of Ubitexx in May for iOS and Android device management. Likewise, traditional systems management vendor BMC Software in January announced plans to purchase Numara Software, Redman noted.
Theoretically, fewer device management vendors could make is easier to sort through their software offerings, but there is also the possibility that existing customers for a smaller vendor could see major changes with a new buyer in charge, analysts noted.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, called the Citrix purchase of Zenprise "the beginning of the end for standalone device management vendors. With more acquisitions to come, those left behind will fade away."
He pointed to Symantec's purchase of Odyssey Software in May as an example of a large, established company enlarging its mobile management portfolio.
Aside from assessing MDM, IT shops will probably want to consider mobile application management in tandem with MDM. Some vendors argue that it makes more sense to manage applications than to manage devices, but Citrix and others seem to have decided it will provide management software for both.
As a result, the pathway for making IT decisions could suddenly grow much more complex -- and confusing.
How long will the confusion last? Longer than 2013, but not forever, some think.
"In five to 10 years, IT may no longer have to think about the consumerization of IT," Redman said. "In the future, IT will change the way they distribute data, with more of it in the cloud, so that the emphasis will be less on devices. Over the next few years, IT will not be needing to have to deal with these problems."
Redman does have some more concrete predictions for 2013, including growth in dual personalities on smartphones and tablets that separate corporate from personal data. With the two kinds of data separated, IT shops can wipe off the corporate data without affecting personal information.
Some end users balk at such an approach, requiring their consent before IT can move ahead. "But dual personalities on phones add more value to the user, protecting the personal side of a device," Redman said.
BlackBerry is expected to add the dual personality technology to BlackBerry 10 smartphones coming Jan. 30. Even with that capability added, there will still be concerns about BlackBerry's health overall. Redman predicted BlackBerry will "remain relevant for its security and physical keyboard, but will still decline [in popularity] over the next two years."