The first speaker was Dave Manley of Kohl's who immediately got the attention if the audience that he was giving away 20% off vouchers at lunch. It was a reminder of the competitive nature of the retail business. Now, retailers are known for being tough on their suppliers, but Dave reminded us that he wants his suppliers to have a viable business too.
A big fan of eAuctions with Ariba Sourcing, he flashed up a graph of an auction where they saved half a million dollars before breakfast. Like a lot of Ariba customers they grew their solution from this single point solution to a fully integrated source-to-pay utililising the Ariba Network; and just like Deutsche Bank yesterday, Kohl's makes use of Hybrid, mixing on-prem and cloud as it makes sense. I'm an old time PreSales guy, so it was great to see the customer flashing up screenshots (and using Retro product names) showing how their six stage process was now represented in software.
I learnt that refitting a store is pretty complex, 50000 items needed and it used to take 3 weeks to generate all the Purchase Orders needed. It now takes 3 hours and they all fly across the Ariba Network, with suppliers sending confirmations and other documents back. A very cool Ariba-written extension allowed a scanning of the receipt by phone, and if the item is damaged you can snap a photo and it will fly back of the Network back to the supplier.
Ariba's EVP of Product, Sanish Mondkar, was up next with a review of all that has been achieved in the last year. Impressive sure, but I want new stuff, and no laptop on stage means no demo? I can't do justice to the comprehensive roadmap that was shared, but a couple of points hit home. First, we've all heard about Hana, and that it's fast (50x for some Ariba Reports), but Sanish was clear that he felt that one of the biggest benefits was simplicity.
He could get rid of all those staging tables, cubes, start schemes, data warehouses: the transaction system is the reporting system. Second, being part of SAP gives access to a deeper bench of talent and tools, this was particularly evident when he shared the impressive localisation road map: 75 countries by 2015 by using SAP's localisation teams. As a European I also noted the roll out plans for Data Centres: China (2014), Russia, Brazil (in planning) as well as US and EU (live today).
So how about that demo? Great to see, Engineering VP, Mark Dao up on stage with his ipad showing the brand new Ariba mobile app on the big screen. Cue 100s of camera phones being raised in the audience to take pictures of the new screens, from the back of the hall it looked like they were raised in religious homage. The sudden appearance of these screens is another example of how the SAP acquisition is turbocharging Ariba, this time with the state-of-art Fiori platform. And Twitter lit up with the pictures.
The final speaker, Marco Lopez from utility SCE calmed us down by talking about the challenge of making trade-offs in a complex company. He emphasised that collaboration needs to be with both internal and external stakeholders. Marco said that he came to Ariba LIVE last year as a prospective customer, this year he keynotes. Who's up for next year? Slots are open.
Catch up with my Blog posting from Day 1 here.