SAP's Vishal Sikka Resigns; Leaves Company at a Crossroads

Community Network. "Some might say that he redefined SAP as a company. He won't be forgotten any time soon," he added.

Still, despite the surprise felt at SAP and beyond, the move was not entirely out of left field. "I don't think anyone was surprised by what has occurred, but rather by how quickly it happened," Wang says. But, he adds, it has happened before: In 2007, company CEO Shai Agassi resigned in a similar fashion, and even Sikka himself has had second thoughts in the past. Following a serious car accident in 2008, TechCrunch reports, Sikka thought about stepping down because he was unsure about where the company was headed, but reconsidered and stayed for another six years.

Moving forward, Wang predicts that SAP will name Bill McDermott the sole CEO, but it will need to move quickly to rally behind a figurehead that can "evangelize" the company much the way Sikka had in recent years. "If you don't have that person there, you could become irrelevant," Wang says. "There are a lot of software companies out there that haven't done anything in years, and it's hard to come back from that. For SAP, they have to be careful not to lose relevance and mindshare," he explains.

With the company's annual SapphireNow conference less than a month away, it was now or never from an executive repositioning standpoint. Come June, SAP will be facing many questions from its customers, and the conference will "be the key time to see and hear new executives on stage evaluating the new (or old) SAP messaging and road maps," Mueller says.

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