We had the chance to attend SAP Ariba's user conference Ariba Live in Las Vegas, together with colleagues Chris Kanaracus, Guy Courtin and Ray Wang. The conference was well attended with over 2500 people in attendance. 
Guy and I recorded a short video - take a look:
No chance to watch? Read on:
You can find Guy's Supply Chain and Procurement's takeaways here. My next generation Applications takeaways are as as follows:
Open APIs - As common these days, SAP Ariba will publish APIs, starting with five areas, hierarchies and approvals the most prominent ones. Kudos to the vendor for working from a roamap going forward so customers and prospects can plan their uptake of these APIs.
End User Enablement - We have been writing about end user enablement since a while and it is a key strategy for vendors, as it achieves a number of benefits: First it enables users with reasonable technology savviness to build their own applications. Secondly that helps enterprises to become more agile and to accelerate, critical for their future success. And lastly it protects the vendors from being disrupted from new market entrants, just using their APIs with an attractive user interface. Good to see Ariba enabling a lightweight end user PaaS, allowing to create forms and deploy them not only to the web, but also to tablets and mobile devices. 
Platform Innovation - Ariba had one of the earliest internet scale, some may say cloud platforms and as such it shows its age. While there was not much happening two and more years ago on the platform side, its good to see that this has changed. SAP Ariba is actively using Hadoop, exploiting microservices and using popular frameworks like AngularJS. And of course HANA is more and getting though the product. The use case should also be interesting for the recently gone into GA HANA Vora (see below for news analysis when announced). 


Good to see traction on the platform side at SAP Ariba. It looks like the division has found new speed and dynamics, that attending customers noticed. Procurement is a huge opportunity for SAP and its customers and it looks like there is a better grasp at getting into a very good position in the next years to come.
On the concern side SAP Ariba needs to execute on the new vision and roadmap. Networked applications of the scale that SAP Ariba needs to build are not trivial, even with today's advances on the cloud side. Operating this on internal data centers is a valid strategy, but can / could become also of concern as capability and TCO of the popular cloud based IaaS platforms will become more and more competitive. 
But overall good to see the progress at SAP Ariba - we will be watching, stay tuned.