There's no doubt that web services are still in a nascent stage. However, looking around, it's easy to find many live working systems that use web services to solve real problems for people and businesses. Most of the implemented systems work either inside the enterprise, or across multiple enterprises , and mostly operate with simple concepts and already available vocabularies.
In development are more than 20 specifications in the web-services field that address aspects such as routing, security, packaging, service description, advertising and discovery, transactions, and business process workflow. However, it's important to realize that most describe how to do things, rather than what to do. In most cases "what" is overlooked and as the result, there is no shared understanding of concepts, metadata, and semantics. The huge amounts of work that have been done by many standards bodies to somehow address this problem and define common vocabularies wasn't as fruitful as many people hoped. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, defining vocabularies is a difficult and time-consuming task. Second, even when standards are defined, people don't always follow them and if they do, standards don't adapt well to the constantly changing business requirements and environment.
Most problems companies experience in this field are social rather than technical. Different cultures, points of view, historic roots, and business processes create different semantics and disjoint vocabularies. A complete solution that would be a functional, adaptable, flexible, and maintainable system will include not only a sophisticated loosely coupled physical infrastructure (web services) but also an information infrastructure with similar properties (shared understanding of semantics and concepts) and perhaps even a human infrastructure (right people do the right things in terms of process, planning, and architecture).
Web services are only the first step in the right direction.