After attending this call, I stumbled on to Joe 2.0's blog post on the exact same topic! Even funnier was that he was quoting Jean-Jacques Dubray (JJ), who I had a 3 hour phone call with on the subject just days earlier. JJ had commented, "My experience is that the key people that you have to focus all your energy on are the developers, architects, business analysts, QAs and operations."
Joe 2.0 goes on:
Dubray says SOA is a “pure IT problem.” But in this era of the online collaborative organization, when we rely on technology for every aspect of our business, are there really any “pure IT” problems?
I don't want to split hairs... but IMHO, the answer is, "yes, some problems are just I.T. problems". Sure, I.T. problems, like HR or garbage collection, may bubble their way up to become a business problem, but at the end of the day I.T. has to figure out how to do their job and go do it. When the janitor picks up the trash in my office they do it in the most efficient way they know how. They don't ask 'the business' if they should do it efficiently - they just do it. When did I.T. become such wussies?
I'm a big believer in talking to business about whatever they want to talk about... Inventory Visibility? Love it. Customer Loyalty? Love it. New Product Introduction? Love it. That said, I believe it's I.T.'s responsibility to bring technology solutions forward. Most business people understand things like forms, window, graphs, reports, etc. They understand visual deliverables (not invisible deliverables like WSDL's). I think that is why we're seeing the most successful SOA shared service centers adopting capabilities around Rich Composite Applications, Mashups and other edge-of-the-enterprise development capabilities. They engage with the business about business problems and then use mashups and other techniques to quickly demo/prototype/build solutions that their users can relate to.
If you're looking for inspiration on this process, I'm happy to recommend a book on the subject, Mashup Corporations.
The authors do a great job of walking the readers through a fictional company. As business problems are encountered, they introduce Web 2.0 and mashup solutions. Prototypes are put together and the concepts are tested out. SOA is discussed as the 'efficient way' to make it happen. Again, they didn't talk to the business about SOA (or even services)!