So far, LIVE has been a rather quiet affair. No big news, no surprises. But if you read subtlety between the lines, I'm detecting a serious change in strategy for Ariba which I put into three buckets. These are ideas I'll continue to expand on in the coming week, but I thought it would be worth throwing them out there in a rapid fire format to get started. So here goes (with more explanation to follow):
First, Ariba's executives appear to be very focused on discussing how Spend Management must move beyond procurement (which I translate as the need for Ariba to move beyond just selling into procurement).
Second, I sense a real positioning of Ariba as The Platform, not just a software and services provider. This vision appears to be an outgrowth of the Ariba Supplier Network, but is significantly grander in scale (stay tuned for more on this -- it's quite cool and revolutionary for the traditionally buttoned up, conservative provider).
Third, I sense an expansion of the view that Ariba must both not only foster and create its own ecosystem (i.e., the network), but must also simultaneously work with other vendors, networks and communities (e.g., NetWeaver). A tough balancing act? We'll have to see ...