Think like a chemist. Imagine pouring a powder into a liquid until it becomes a solid. That's what you call -- in experimental terms -- a "super-saturated solution." It's the metaphor that Miko Matsumura, vice president of marketing for Infravio, uses to describe the state of the current SOA field right now.
As he sees it, the powder we are now pouring in -- from Web-service standards to corporate success stories -- eventually will crystallize and harden. At that point, SOA will be on everyone's lips and in everyone's organization. Or nearly.
Matsumura muses that the current state of SOA feels a lot like the early days of the Java platform where metaphors were a vital means of making sense of potential. Of course, words and terms must be carefully chosen because they are all fraught with historical baggage and are prone to be misunderstood. But maybe we shouldn't worry too much. We may be destined to choose "horseless carriage" when trying to name our promising new vehicle. Doesn't mean the car won't emerge eventually and drive us all to an extraordinary new place.