About two-thirds of human resources executives believe the industry has undergone, or is undergoing, digital transformation, according to a report by KPMG.

The report, which surveyed more than 1,200 senior HR executives from 64 countries across 31 industries, found 40 per cent of respondents have a digital work plan in place. In fact, 70 per cent said they recognize the need for workforce transformation, but only 37 per cent said they’re confident HR will transform and move them toward capabilities such as analytics and artificial intelligence.

Read: Does artificial intelligence have a place in human resources?

“What’s worrisome is that, as the paradigm shift we are in continually accelerates the pace of change, one or two years in this digital age might compare to a decade or two in the analog era,” said Robert Bolton, head of people and change centre of excellence at KPMG, in the report. “You can fall perilously behind before you realize what’s happening.”

The report also found executives who view HR as a strategic role in their business are more likely (67 per cent) to be pursuing digital transformation, compared to 48 per cent who view the HR role as unchanged.

Some 20 per cent of respondents said they believe analytics will be a primary HR initiative for their company over the next year or two, while 12 per cent said analytics is a top management concern, 49 per cent said they’ve invested in human capital management software in the past two years and 32 per cent said they’ve invested in cloud capabilities.

Read: Canadian HR functions unprepared for growth of AI, automation: survey

Predictive analytics led the way for planned investments, with 60 per cent of respondents noting they’ll invest in the area in the next year or two. This was followed by enhanced process automation (53 per cent) and artificial intelligence (47 per cent).

Among survey respondents who have invested in artificial intelligence, 88 per cent said it’s a worthwhile investment, 35 per cent said the focus has been primarily on learning and 33 per cent said the focus has been on analytics.

“Those that ‘get it’ are acting decisively, viewing HR as a new value driver and turning to data, predictive insights and AI,” said Bolton. “The rest are either limiting themselves to changes that show some progress, perhaps through data and analytics initiatives, or simply clinging to a static approach that’s perilous.”

Read: Majority of employees see opportunity for AI to improve workplaces: survey

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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