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"On TEC (Technology Evaluation Centers) site, you'll find links to the information and resources you need to make an informed Human Resource Management (HRM) software selection."Source: Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC)
TEC Product Certification Report: PDS Software Vista HRMS 4.1
HRMS Human Resources Management System
is also known as : HRMS Human Resources Management System Software
, Human Resources HR
, HRMS Function and Features
, Personnel-related Tasks Management Software
, HRM Modules
, Payroll Modules
, Benefit Management
, Personnel Management
PDS HRMS Employee Self-service Feature, Training Management, PDS Software HRMS, Workforce Management, Health Safety Administration, Employee Self-service Functionality, Hiring Process, Vista HRMS 4.1, Vista HRMS Application, Vista HRMS 4.1 Product Capabilities, Data Into Vista HRMS, Vista Human Resources, PDS Vista HRMS 4.1, PDS Software HRMS 4.1, Pds' Vista HRMS Browser-based, Vista HRM Functions and Features, Vista HRMS 4.1 RFI Data, Vista HRMS 4.1 User-friendly Experience, Vista HRMS Implementation.
Table of Contents
TEC Product Certification Report
Vista HRMS 4.1 has been certified by
- Sherry Fox, Manager, TEC Research Analyst Group
- Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst
Demonstration conducted by
- George Brady, Vice President, PDS
- Patricia Palmer, Senior Vice President and Product Manager, PDS
Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) is pleased to announce that PDS Vista HRMS 4.1 is now TEC Certified for use in the Human Resources (HR) Evaluation Center. The HR Evaluation Center enables you to compare and evaluate functionality based on TEC's comprehensive model of the HR space. Data used in the Evaluation Center are obtained from the vendor's responses to TEC's request for information (RFI).
Certification ensures that
- Vista HRMS 4.1 product capabilities are demonstrated to a TEC analyst based on the responses provided in PDS's completed TEC RFI;
- TEC analysts have analytically and comparatively reviewed Vista HRMS 4.1 RFI data against known benchmarks.
There are many benefits to evaluating a TEC Certified product. To potential clients of a software vendor, TEC certification provides the following:
- Reassurance: You can be assured that the data TEC provides about its certified products conform to a well-defined standard of accuracy. When a vendor's product is TEC Certified, it means that a trusted, independent third party has seen the product up close.
- Better Communication with Vendors: TEC certification helps ensure that vendors understand and respond accurately to their clients' RFI criteria. Certification with TEC analysts provides the opportunity to clarify any issues with the RFI criteria. This ensures that the vendor is speaking the same language as its potential clients-and gives the clients an unambiguous specification of product functionality to inform their selections.
The certification seal is a valuable indicator for organizations that rely on the integrity of TEC's research services for assistance with their software selection projects. Organizations looking for a solution can be confident that they're comparing the product on an "apples to apples" basis with other, similar products.
Vista HRMS 4.1 provides a user-friendly experience right from entry to its home page screen/menu. While the blue and orange color theme is standard to the PDS Vista HRMS solution, the screens are highly configurable, and the home page can be customized to include such items as a company's links, logo and colors, employee news, and more.
Vista HRMS 4.1 was released in July 2009. The solution was developed using the .NET framework, and runs on Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases. The solution is available in both on-premise and hosted delivery models.
PDS also provides hosting/managed services, including printing of checks, W2s, and T4s; and tax filing. Also included in the Vista HRMS solution is a middleware component called e-Assistant, which is a server-side component that provides a variety of services, including task scheduling, system account and e-mail directory management, and workflow processing.
Vista HRMS 4.1 supports both US and Canadian payroll requirements and government regulations-managing both US and Canadian employees in a single cross-border database. The application supports English, French, Spanish, and German.
Training is performed at the client site and customized to the needs of the client. PDS also provides remote technical training using Web technology.
Upon entering the recruiting module of the system, users are greeted with a welcome page that guides job applicants to where they need to go in order to apply for jobs, attach resumes, etc. This welcome page can be configured to the specific needs of the organization.
Recruiters can be alerted when specific tasks are awaiting action from the minute they log in to the system. For example, when an applicant logs into the job search database, the recruiting administrator will be notified immediately by e-mail.
Vista HRMS 4.1 has an integrated employee self-service feature. When an employee logs in, the system automatically identifies the areas of the application that the particular employee can access (based on role assignment). Information available to employees through the employee self-service module includes pay stubs and pay history, training manuals, employee handbooks, and more.
Change options can be modified, allowing the ability for administrators to "read only", "update", or "update with approval" certain entries (for example, when entering a "life event" such as the birth of a child).
The self-service feature is currently available in English and French only.
Vista HRMS 4.1 provides Web-based open enrollment (through the use of the Life Event Wizard) as well as employee and manager self-service capabilities. Employees can also easily see the costs associated with any change in their benefits due to a life event (e.g., marriage, birth of a child, etc.).
For administration of benefits for US employees, the application interfaces with COBRA Solutions. Vista provides many related features and functions (including the ability to automatically alert the benefits administrators when an employee fails required eligibility criteria).
For organizations that use a third-party outsourcing company for payroll administration, the optional Vista Payroll Interface can be implemented to integrate HR and benefits with the outsourcing firm's systems-eliminating dual input.
The Vista HRMS system is coupled with a complete, ongoing tax maintenance service for up-to-date taxing information. Tax tables are automatically updated (unlike many other systems that require this to be done manually).
The salary administration page provides a tool that managers can use to model their department's salary increases. A standard percentage can be applied to all employees, as well as to individuals on an exception basis. A specific employee can also be excluded from set percentage increases by adding a flag to that employee's profile. Multiple security settings allow IT administrators to control who has access to the salary administration tables by defining user roles.
Employee reviews and appraisals are configurable to an organization's needs in a set-up table, which provides flexibility in the ability to define performance review templates. Automatic wage progression can also be configured by the client to manage compensation benefits and rewards.
Appraisals carry a weight factor, which is tied to the employee performance review. The weights are calculated by taking the appraisal results and multiplying the rating code value by the appraisal category weight. The results are then stored in the review code record for that employee.
Vista HRMS 4.1 provides administrators with the ability to search the database for employees who may meet the job requirements for an available position. This helps them to determine whether the employee meets the needs of the position or whether further training is required to develop the necessary skills.
Vista HRMS 4.1 provides 270 standard reports "out of the box," including staff headcount, HR budgeting, and turnover trends analysis. The report scheduling feature allows users to generate reports at a specific time (or on a recurring basis) on a specific day (including on a weekly or monthly basis) and deliver them to any number of people. In addition, EasyAsk, a natural-language query tool, allows users to query the database for quick information without having to know any database tables/field names. The results can be displayed in HTML, as a pie chart or bar graph, or as an Excel spreadsheet which can then be saved and used for other purposes. More technically advanced users can also request the SQL translation, which can then be copied and pasted into Crystal Reports for more formal report generation.
While PDS partners with a variety of companies, partners mentioned during the certification session with TEC included COBRA Solutions (a third-party benefits provider), EasyAsk (provider of the information access/query reporting tool), and Human Concepts (provider of a charting software called OrgPlus).
PDS's main competitors include Ultimate Software, High Line Corporation, NuView Systems, Perfect Software, Lawson, and Spectrum HR.
As of the writing of this report, PDS is getting set to release Vista HRMS 4.2, which includes slight enhancements to Vista HRMS 4.1. These include external interfaces (a tool that will facilitate the importing and exporting of data into Vista HRMS), and enhancements to benefits enrollment, payroll for US and Canadian clients, and recruiting.
Based on four main principles, here is how Vista HRMS 4.1 fared.
Ease of Use
- Layout: The system provides users with the ability to customize the display (including such items as themes, colors, logo, etc.); the page layout is very user-friendly.
- Performing tasks: Navigation throughout the product is intuitive and well-organized; the ability to search for job openings is simplified with the use of tab browsing.
- Information retrieval: The application provides users with the ability to easily retrieve employee/applicant information using links and lookups; users can see when an employee/candidate has applied for a position.
- E-mail notifications: The application sends alerts when specific events occur (e.g., for time and attendance, the application notifies immediate the supervisor of vacation balance, vacation accrued, etc.).
- Reporting capabilities: 270 standard reports are available, as well as reports that can be configured to suit the needs of the client; Crystal Reports can be accessed by authorized users through the self-service tool.
Ease of Implementation
- Server Platforms: Vista HRMS 4.1 fully supports Novell Netware and Unix platforms (such as Solaris or AIX).
- DBMS Platforms: The application supports SQL Server and Oracle databases, using the .NET framework.
- Flexibility: There is extensive flexibility between functional modules (i.e., modules can be implemented incrementally and can be interfaced to third-party modules) in each area.
- Security: Users can define data access security by several methods (including by company, by organization, and by location). The addition of data access security by location was a direct result of customer requests.
- New features: The budgeting module of Vista HRMS 4.1 has been greatly enhanced.
- Recruiting: CAPTCHA settings can be implemented to ensure human entry into the applicant tracking system, thus preventing malicious software from entering unwanted data.
- International Currency: The system automatically uses an user's currency indicator to determine which country's currency symbol should be displayed (e.g., if the currency flag is set to Great Britain for a specific user, the "£" symbol will be displayed rather than "$").
Using the TEC Advisor decision support engine, we have prepared a few high-level graphs that identify this product's functional focus and competitiveness.
This TEC Focus Indicator (FI) tells you which types of functionality are most likely to differentiate Vista HRMS 4.1 from other products in the HR space. It includes three zones indicating the product's focus: the Dominant zone, Competitive zone, and Not Competitive zone.
Figure 1. TEC Focus Indicator for Vista HRMS 4.1
TEC's model of HR systems is designed with a comprehensive breadth; generally vendors will deliver a common base of functionality. While we believe in the necessity of knowing whether a product supports a base of common functionality, it's very helpful to understand how a product really differs from the crowd.
The bars in this FI chart represent neither the quality of the product nor an absolute quantity of supported functionality. Rather, the bars show support relative to the average solution.
The functional focus arrow indicates which modules of this product provide an equal or greater quantity of support than the average solution. Modules near the top of the functional focus arrow reveal where Vista HRMS 4.1 is more likely to differentiate itself through breadth of functionality. The more concern you have for the type of functionality near the top of the functional focus, the more it's to your advantage to explore this product further.
The top Overall bar shows the overall difference in supported functionality between Vista HRMS 4.1 and the average solution. To understand how we calculate this difference, read the Calculating the TEC FI section (page 15).
The Overall bar is our measure for determining which modules fall within the Dominant zone. If a module's difference from the average is greater than the product's overall difference from the average, we label it dominant. Those are the modules most responsible for pulling the Overall bar beyond the average.
Modules with values that do not extend beyond the Overall bar but still provide as much or more functionality than the average solution, are labeled competitive.
PDS Vista HRMS 4.1 has two modules located in the Dominant Zone: Training and Workforce Management.
Vista HRMS 4.1's strength in the Training module is due to its strong support in both planning and administration functionalities-a critical need for core training activities within an organization.
More details for the modules in the Dominant zone are available in the Functionality Benchmark section (page 16).
The area of functional focus within the green Dominant zone indicates two things. First, it indicates which of the most competitive modules contribute the most pull in raising the product's score above the average. Second, it indicates where the product has a significantly greater level of support for functionality than the average solution in this space.
This also may reveal how the vendor has focused its product development. These modules may or may not make up the bulk or even the core of the functionality within the product, but if your clients require more than the average breadth of functionality from these modules, this product will stand a better than average chance of satisfying your requirements.
PDS has three modules located in the Competitive Zone: Personnel Management, Benefits, and Payroll.
While Vista HRMS 4.1 is dominant in training and workforce management functionality over its average competitor's solution, it does quite well (competitively speaking) in the core HR areas of personnel management, benefits, and payroll. Vista HRMS 4.1 receives a higher rating score than the average solution for all three of these areas.
For your specific needs, we recommend that you look in finer granularity at the functionality in accordance with your requirement priorities, by visiting our HR Evaluation Center.
More details for the modules in the Competitive zone are available in the Functionality Benchmark section of this document.
The area of functional focus within the green Competitive zone indicates where the product has a level of support for functionality that is somewhat greater or on par with the average solution.
In some cases a module may be considered a commodity within the market: many vendors offer the majority of the functionality, which makes it difficult to differentiate a product based on breadth of functionality. In other cases, a vendor may intend its product to compete on a level that satisfies most customers' requirements for certain modules, with a market focus requiring that it differentiates itself through other modules.
Not Competitive Zone
PDS has no modules located in the Not Competitive Zone.
The area in the red Not Competitive zone indicates where the product supports a lesser quantity of functionality than an average solution. Modules listed in this section are unlikely to be as important to the vendor's target market as the other modules. It may also be the case that the product is a newer entrant to the space. If the product has many modules in the Not Competitive zone, this indicates a more finely scoped target for its functionality than other products, which may be indicative of a point solution.
Even if a product has modules in the Not Competitive zone, it may still be entirely capable of satisfying your requirements for this functionality, particularly if the average solution offers more functionality than you require. Nevertheless you should be aware that if you require a greater-than-average breadth of functionality from a module in the Not Competitive zone, this product may not offer all that you require. It's likely that you would need to review the product in more depth to determine whether its functionality is sufficient.
TEC defines an average solution using data about real software products available on the market. We calculate an average of the capabilities about which vendors recently provided us with information and that we've certified. We define these capabilities and assign numeric ratings representing various levels of support in our models of enterprise software. These models may be accessed on our publicly available Evaluation Centers. Typically, we use anywhere from a thousand to several thousand criteria to determine the average scores.
The average solution forms the benchmark from which we calculate the difference in functionality offered by Vista HRMS 4.1. We plot the average solution's capabilities at point zero on the x-axis.
Next, we determine the quantity of functionality supported by Vista HRMS 4.1 for each module in our model. We assume that all criteria are equally important. In a real-world situation of course, you would give a greater priority to criteria that are more important for your needs. However, for the sake of the TEC FI analysis, we want to draw conclusions about the product's focus independent of any users' functional priorities. (Note: If you wish to prioritize and evaluate the product's functionality, you can do so online in our Evaluation Centers.)
We calculate the difference between Vista HRMS 4.1 and the average solution, and we plot that value as a positive or negative distance from zero (the average solution's capability). If, for example, Vista HRMS 4.1 offers a greater quantity of support for a particular module than found in the average solution, its line will extend to the right of zero.
It's important to note as well that just because a product has more or less functionality than other products, does not mean it is a good or bad product. To understand whether it will do what you need it to do, at a price within your budget you must evaluate the product in depth.
The following functionality benchmark graphs represent Vista HRMS's quantity of support for the functionality within each module identified in the TEC Focus Indicator. The further the solid line extends toward the edge of the graph (or, in the case of the initial bar chart, the closer the bar is to 100 percent), the more functionality Vista HRMS 4.1 supports. For the sake of comparison, you can see what you might expect from the average solution by referring to the orange bar/line.
The Training module covers the processes required for training an organization's personnel, including functionality for planning and administration.
In both of these modules, Vista HRMS 4.1 provides substantial support over the average competitor's solution. As a result, Vista HRMS 4.1 receives a significantly higher score in planning functionality (around 92 percent) and administrative functionality (close to 97 percent).
Figure 2. Functionality benchmark: training
About Workforce Management
Workforce management covers the processes required for managing an organization's workforce within the scope of a specified project. This includes the following modules: Project Identification; Resource Identification and Classification; Forecasting and Planning; Workforce Gap Analysis; Employee Metrics; Project, Time, and Expense Tracking; Contract Management; Administration; Health and Safety; Proactive Information Delivery; and Security.
Vista HRMS 4.1 scores well above the average in most submodules, most notably in the Time and Expense Tracking, Contract Management, Administration, and Proactive Information Delivery modules. In the area of employee metrics, Vista HRMS's score is equal to that of the average solution.
Figure 3. Functionality benchmark: workforce management
About Personnel Management
The Personnel Management module addresses the processes associated with maintaining employee information, budgeting and cost controls, and compliance reporting. This includes the following modules: Recruitment Management, Profile of Personnel, Organizational Structures, Job Position and Wage Profiles, Career Development and Training, Management of Rewards, Budgeting and Cost Control, Government and Compliance Reporting, Employment History and Personnel Reporting, Tracking of Discipline Actions, Competency Management, and Employee Self-service.
Although Vista HRMS does well in all areas of personnel management, it does exceptionally well in the area of competency management, scoring well above the average solution's capabilities.
Figure 4. Functionality benchmark: personnel management
The Benefits module addresses processes required for managing employee benefits. It includes the following modules: Standard Benefits, Profile of Employee Benefit Plan, and Administering Benefits.
As you can see in figure 5, Vista HRMS 4.1 surpasses the support capability of its competitors in all three areas within the Benefits module, making it a strong contender when considering your benefit requirements.
Figure 5. Functionality benchmark: benefits
The Payroll module provides functionality for paying employees. This includes the following modules: Profile for Employee Payroll, Earnings and Deductions, Eligibility Parameters, User Balances, Automated Time Sheet, and Security and Audit.
Payroll is yet another area in which Vista HRMS 4.1 performs well. As you can see in figure 6, Vista HRMS 4.1 scores marginally higher in all modules except in User Balances (where it supports significantly more functionality) and Security and Audit (where its level of support is virtually equal with the average competitor's solution).
Figure 6. Functionality benchmark: payroll
Upon review of PDS's Vista HRMS 4.1 solution, I feel that overall it is a good solution for any medium-to-large organization looking for a core HR solution. While PDS's sweet spot is customers with 500 to 10,000 employees, it has clients in the hundreds of thousands of employees range as well.
Its strongest areas of functional focus (based on TEC's Focus Indicator) are in Training and Workforce Management; however, it does better than the average solution in the other core areas of HR, including Personnel Management Benefits, and Payroll. There are really no areas of the Vista HRMS application that don't shine.
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