Advanced's inaugural Trends Report found that, among the 1,000 professionals surveyed, the average level of digital tech enablement was just 66 out of 100.
Additionally, 32% of respondents were not very confident their business has an organisation-wide view of its business-critical data, and 30% do not have access to real-time information.
This was despite the report finding that 84% believe real-time information allows faster more informed decision-making, and 70% feeling that automation of manual tasks would free up time to focus on more value-added services.
Data security was also revealed to be lacking. The survey found that 26% felt unprepared for a cyber attack, while 48% said data security is not a deciding factor in adopting digital technology at their organisation.
“It’s so important that we unlock the potential of our employees, to address issues such as productivity and staff retention," group HRD at Advanced Alex Arundale told HR magazine. "We believe that HR needs to work in partnership across a company – absolutely with IT and also with the leadership team of the business."
Regarding cyber security she added: "HR needs to ensure employees are informed, trained and protected with effective IT policies that do everything to avoid a breach or attack crippling a business.
"The impact of cyber security can be limited by education; sometimes [breaches are] down to human error, such as using passwords that are far too simple or mistakenly opening a dangerous email that they could have recognised with simple training. This comes back to HR working in partnership across the business."
The report also uncovered a lack of recognition of the importance of digital awareness among leaders. Just 46% chose a ‘strong digital skillset’ as the most important attribute of a business leader. This compared with 87% who cited an ability to reimagine and adapt the business, 72% who chose ‘acts with pace', and 62% who picked ‘takes bold decisions'.
“It was exciting that 86% of respondents stated an ability to reimagine and adapt the business when asked to rank the most important attribute of a business leader, as we believe preparing effectively for change is at the heart of business success," said Arundale. "However, it was concerning that less than half chose a strong digital skillset and only a third said a digital-first vision. We live in a world of digital disruption; we need leaders that adapt their approach with this in mind."