Reflect a moment about your holiday shopping experiences. If you're like most Americans, you hit the malls, went online to buy some things, and maybe bought from a catalog as well, either by mail or, more likely, through a call center. From a retailer's standpoint, coordinating all the potential information about you from all those sources is a $27 billion problem.
From this perspective, it's interesting to watch the growth of the data warehousing appliance market, which is projected to hit $500 million in five years. DWAs' chief selling points are ease of installation, use and management. Secondary selling points have to do with specific technical features like the ability to support mixed queries. Ease of integration is rarely mentioned.
So what's wrong with this picture? What enterprises need most is some sort of centralized -- or even distributed -- functionality that enables them to get a holistic picture of their customers that will help them maximize lifetime value, cross-sell more effectively and so on. But the hottest market is for discrete appliances that are ideal for creating departmental silos.