We're still in Vegas, so men in black striding on to the stage with guns could have been expected. It turned out to be Alex Atzberger and the two SVPs from the previous day who had ditched their jackets to re-appear in "Make Procurement Awesome" T-shirts. And the guns turned out to be 'T-shirt cannons', another new tech for me to research.


After the excitement of getting shot at with a T-shirt, the stage was set for the calming presence of Dinesh Shahane, CTO. A surprising initial revelation is that Dinesh is a keen watcher of the Oscar's red carpet show, passing comment on the celebs dresses and shoes. But as he admitted, it was because he wanted to see how fast social media could react with memes, URLs, hashtags, micro sites, even down to how quickly the dresses could be ripped off to appear on the racks of Zara. He explained that speed and agility are important aspects of innovation.


Dinesh admits that no company can do it all, so we are introducing openness to the technology stack across three dimensions -- Data, Logic and UX. The first example that was demonstrated was cloud-to-cloud integration between Ariba Contracts and Google Docs. Extending cloud apps should be simple: If you can create a birthday invitation on evite.com (which even my mother can do), then you can now create forms in Ariba. You can preview how they will look on tablet, mobile or browser. Click Publish and you're done. Five minutes, tops.


alicia.JPGSteve Singh and Alicia Tillman had a "fireside chat" (without an actual fire). Steve opened with "Let's go completly off script here". Alicia calmly put her question cards down and let the conversation explore being an acquired company, the culture of SAP, and the nature of cloud. Steve turned to look at the audience directly in the eye as he pronounced that "in cloud, we are committed to earning your business every single day. We have to."


Greg Williams started with a picture of the Apollo guidance computer and said there is a 100 times more processing power in your phone than what got man to the moon. He continued in this vein on the power of simplificaton and how companies are being disrupted. I jotted down a few interesting companies to follow up on, but for me, the big new thought was, the merging of Blockchain technology and networks like Ariba. His final quote was from hacker Massimo Banzi: “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”


The morning's Panel was a microcosm of the stakeholders in any business transaction: a buyer, a seller and a financier. PJ Bain CEO @PrimeRevenue "executives have no greater tool to free up cash than supply chain finance" and went on to explain that the upcoming Supply Chain Finance solution decouples the historic link between when buyers want to pay and when suppliers want their money. Ergo Works CEO Anne Kramer celebrated her company's first Spot Buy sale (an ergonomic mouse) by delivering it in person.


With due respect to our developers, our headline speaker Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec certainly has the hair, make-up and dress-sense for TV (memo to self, get a shirt with bigger collar). You can add him to your list of famous Canadians. Talking about his experience as an entrepreneur, "Opportunity rarely knocks. Go out, find it!" and his other tip for bringing new ideas to market is to test you innovation with a stranger, not friends: they have a vested interest in outcome. Choose potential buyers and they'll tell you what's wrong.


lunch.JPGAfter the mainstage, 350 women attended the Women in Leadership luncheon with Jackie Frieberg. Of course I can't give a first hand commentary, but Jackie talked about personal branding, and reminded these women leaders to not let the routine of life blind them to the opportunities in front of them.


I wasn't able to get to all of the afternoon sessions, and I had to give one myself on "Building a Network in the Digital Age". I focused on attending sessions where the Direct Materials innovations were presented. The first was on Collaborative Supply Chain, where we got to preview the new collaboration screens around forecasts. The second was on Direct Material Sourcing which included a demo of then new 360 Item and Category View.


The final reception was decorated in St Patrick's green, with one last chance to catch up on new ideas (although it's hard to take someone seriously when they are in a green wig and flashing green glasses). Another Live closes, and we move on to Madrid and Singapore. With this pace of innovation, we can expect to see new capabilities at those events as well.


Get a closer look at the innovations revealed at SAP Ariba Live—and invite your colleagues. Sign up for the Innovation Thursdays webinar series.