"Third, just a few months ago, the SOA news was all about Anne Thomas Manes' largely fruitless search for SOA success stories. Now, we've found a few here and there, but that's the sort of thing that's hard to shake. How can you justify redirecting your IT architecture and spending value money -– and let's not forget, time -- on something that's experienced a lukewarm reception, at best?"
Again, good point. What Anne found is that SOA success was dependent on the culture, people, and processes. Thus, if you do drive toward SOA and move toward fixing the architecture, you have to have the proper leadership and talent in place. Those that don't will fail. This is a commonly understood pattern now, both within my research and what's being externalized by Burton, Gartner, and other firms that have been tracking this.
There are lots of reasons to avoid looking at SOA now, but most of them are not valid. Those companies who learn to become proactive around architecture will find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Trust me.