I thought the comparison of an SOA to a grocery store was a very useful example. It gave me a better understanding of what it actually is. Services are provided to a targeted audience (like food in a grocery store). The information is presented in an organized and reliable way so that customers are able to hopefully maximize their utility.
The topic still seems a little fluffy to me, not a whole lot of solidarity. Maybe it was just the paper we read. I'm glad it wasn't any more technical, otherwise I don't know if I would have gotten anything out of it. I guess I understand the general concept of providing services to others in an organized format, in as few locations as possible (ideally one), and getting it to integrate smoothly with the potentially large number of backend applications that are hidden from view. All this helps in the long run with reduced training costs. If all the applications of a company are located in one spot and have a similar look and feel, it will be easier to train new users to use it.