This is definitely a growing trend. Every large account I've been on for the past few years has an internal specialist or group of specialists. Some of them are impressively advanced.
I agree with the initial poster that there are many integrators that have minimal knowledge of the product. Even within my own company, I am astounded at some of the misinformation or lack of knowledge.
I do see the creation of specialists/specialist groups internally by the end user as a potential root cause of the brain drain at integrators. Personally, I have been directly recruited by end users a few times over the past year. While I have never pursued them any further than their first call my predecessor did and the advantages are myriad - less stress (contracting is horrible), infinitely better health benefits, better retirement plans, and usually better pay. In our region a very large international security company that also does a large amount of security integration is pulling out after at least a decade of controlling two of the largest accounts in our area. The reason: both of those customers stole all of their SMEs.
NOTICE: This comment was moved from an existing discussion: Do Not Discount The Skill Level Of The End User, Nor Assume The Expertise Of The Reseller