Baseball, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan and Cloud HCM

By Posted March 17th, 2014

CloudMy love of baseball has been well documented (both on this blog and in person with anyone who will listen to me), so it comes as no surprise that this post starts with a baseball story.

Last week, I was reading a summary of baseball stories when I saw, nestled in between other banal transactions, the retirement notice of Rick Ankiel. Now, you’re either thinking “who’s Rick Ankiel?” or “What on earth does Rick Ankiel have to do with HCM?”. For the uninitiated, Rick Ankiel was an American baseball player. He first came to prominence as a hard-throwing pitcher, but in 2001 he developed what baseball players call “the yips”. He could no longer throw strikes. That’s a problem if you want to pitch in the majors.

This should have been the end of Rick’s career, but he made a very unusual mid-career transition into an outfielder. It turns out Rick could hit for power and his strong arm was an asset in the outfield. He fought his way from the minor leagues and by 2007, he was back in the majors. He played seven seasons as an outfielder, including 2008 when he hit 25 home runs for St. Louis.

Seeing Rick’s story in the paper made me think of the changes happening at a rapid fire pace in the HCM field.
In The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “There are no second acts in American lives”. Rick Ankiel proved that adage wrong. Seeing Rick’s story in the paper made me think of the changes happening at a rapid fire pace in the HCM field. The advent of cloud solutions means a change for companies and HCM professionals alike. This change will come with a new learning curve. Or, to beat my Rick Ankiel analogy further into the ground, it will be like learning to hit the curve. Many of the people I have known in my 22 years in HCM technology are faced with a change not unlike what Rick faced and it’s going to take a re-education.

The road ahead for HCM professionals will be vastly different than what most of us are used to. Not only is the technology new, but the way we implement and use technology is changing. It’s going to be a fun ride and I, for one, am looking forward to the next few years of transition in the industry. The times – as Bob Dylan first mumbled in 1964 – they are a changin’.