Recognizing the need to continue clarifying the meaning of Web services so that business people can more readily understand and capitalize on the concept, here's another metaphor that has found the light of day: city planning.
As this piece from CNET explains, "SOA is not a product per se, but rather a framework for constructing and interlinking a company's back-end systems with the goal of lowering cost and adding flexibility -- creating a services-oriented architecture in a business is similar to city planning. SOAs rely on central IT departments to offer shared infrastructure services, akin to traffic lights, utilities and road repairs in a municipality. SOAs address the workaday chores that corporate systems depend on, such as moving business data. A financial institution could, for example, move transaction information stored in its old mainframe to an Internet-based service that business partners could access."
Please let us know if you have any good anecdotes, analogies or metaphors to share. Clearly, the field becomes more interesting to decision makers and influencers as it becomes more comprehensible to them.