Based on your above statements, it sounds like you already have the perfect beginnings for an interesting white paper to distribute. Case studies such as those are inherently interesting to executives. :)
What was really interesting was the reaction to installing the first app using mongrel as a windows service. Once the app had the words 'windows service' in front of it somehow the hostility seemed to drain away. It's an approach I'm planning to reuse heavily.
I test and try Django and Rails for an alternative to the problems of the Development staff (i am not officially part of Developer Staff in my company, more a general advisor for several areas)
First we try to do a company project with RoR. the lead develeper staff and me, for two months, unfortunely after the first month he resign to the company for personal reasons.
I try to use rails again at this year beggining (january) with a big project with a client. Unfortunely, this time the CEOs go to the java side (jboss) but only to be kicked for the principal jboss partner in the country, ironically this partner sell to my company a costly jboss course that was useless.
I develop a ticket system for some areas in my company. this one works well but unfortunely dont go to the radar of CEOs. personally i do some fast projects to some clients using rails but rails dont pass the test of a enterprise stack for CEOs yet.
i give up, but for some things and twists, almost al the development staff was changed and was taking charge of old projects, in serveral ones began to explode several problems
part of developer staff was present in a local conference some time ago, about dynamic language programing where i talk (and many other great activist in my country). the new lead development staff the next morning have a reunion with the company CEOs, and almost all the development staff chosee rails like new language platform.
in conclusion, perseverence, and lots of luck in my case.
RubyOnRails, i started on it by jan 2006 as an intermediate level programmer. Best part is the place i used to work had only two religions PHP || RAILS so i had a easy time choosing rails. Great, piece of framework (David work was enlighted...)
At my previous job I sold Rails to the director as the framework to use to replace an aging ASP 2.0 app. It initially looked like a solid win, but the devil was in the details-- we were required to tie it to MSSQL Server 2000, and the view layer couldn't be used-- it could only communicate to a C# app via XML-RPC,. This effectively turned Rails into ActiveRecord widget for C# with a metric ton of overhead. Additionally, scaling had to be done without adding hardware-- once we hit 10,000 users, this turned into a real problem.
The takeaway from this is that, as others have pointed out, you should be careful selling Rails in the "traditional" manner-- running up side projects to prove the technology will serve you better than having management hedge their bets by tying Rails to failed software and processes.
I Think that the basic business rule is "Time == Money". so basically showing Rails rapid development conventions and POCs, did the work. nowadays i am running my own development firm and suggest anyone i can to use Rails, and i easily dismiss that mummo-jumbo nonsense about scaling and optimizations.
On a web marketing agency I started using it for micro-sites, managed to pull off great admin areas very fast. Eventually people were impressed and we started using it in bigger sites and with integration with Flash sites too.
On one project I used it as a prototype and the client liked it so much that we ended up using it instead of .NET. :)
Having made a living freelancing for a long time, I elected to take a job so that I could count on a check. Here in Las Vegas, technology is something of an after thought anyway, and there are no real Rails shops. There is a major glut of PHP, however. At the .com I work at, they're a total PHP house, and their number one stigma about Rails is that it can't handle the strain of a major site, citing the problems twitter had. Even though there have been major and continuing improvements in Rails, this is what the die-hard PHP community hides behind. This is made more laughable, in that they don't get a fraction of the traffic of a twitter.
I did point out the other day though, that the latest project they've brought live is riddled with bugs, and that this is much less likely to happen in a proper Rails environment. Ruby, and Rails, almost force you to develop in a disciplined, methodical manner. Ruby and Rails foster Unit Test Driven development... something most PHP guys don't do. It's exasperating, and sad, but... it is what it is.
Hopefully some Rails shops will open out here so I can be saved! LOL
I basically enjoy the humanizing language power that rails has, every other aspect of OOPS has been consolidated so nicely from STI to Polymorphism. which is its best part, i early started with .NET than amazed the way rails applications were created and deployed in months was fascination to adopt the technology and i believe its nevertheless that the consistency that david is bringing up in rails thats makes a powerful tool to encompass the programming logic and business concepts.
Surely I am not too deep into its background functioning but its benefits are the ease of learning and progressive advancements that can be visualized to clients independent of the state of project.