This is such an interesting area. Everyone is familiar with the problem. Multiple data sources and no easy way to combine them into an integrated view of what's going on.
Yesterday, I spent some time with friends of mine who have a company called Snapbridge. You can download their client application for free. Most of you wouldn't want to do that, but if you develop in XML, XSL, or XML scripts, this thing looks to good to be true.
The client application is just the tip of the iceberg. They have a whole suite of enterprise class tools for doing data integration. They compete with Metamatrix, several other small companies, and big companies like IBM. It's a very important area in my mind.
However, I do have a fundamental question about this market space. Today, the vendors, including Snapbridge, are selling their technology as "infrastructure". The IT organizations buy the software to make it easier for them to build applications.
I wonder if this technology is better sold as an application focused on one or more vertical markets. I think every industry has huge data integration issues. I think if a company took this kind of technology and targeted it at one or more of these problems in a specific industry, they might be able to sell a lot more of it and grow much faster.
If any of you know a lot about this market, I'd love to hear your thoughts.