HRMS Showdown: Lawson S3 Human Capital Management versus Vista HRMS from PDS

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Sherri Welcome to TEC's latest HRMS Showdown: Lawson S3 Human Capital Management versus Vista HRMS from PDS.

I'm Sherry Fox, human resources (HR) research analyst and manager of Technology Evaluation Centers' Research Analyst Group. Welcome to this month's enterprise software Showdown! Today's Showdown compares Lawson S3 Human Capital Management and Vista HRMS from PDS, head-to-head. We hope you find these Showdowns helpful and informative, and invite your comments and questions at


Human resources (HR)—and more specifically, talent management—is an area that many tier-one enterprise software vendors are trying to break into. People often don't believe that these vendors have the same level of experience as the niche vendors (with best-of-breed solutions) in this enterprise area. The result, they think, is a vendor solution that, while effective in managing the day-to-day needs of the average HR department, may not necessarily have the same level of functionality—which in the end could prove to be detrimental to your business.

Using TEC's ERP Evaluation Center, we compared two such systems: tier-one solution Lawson S3 Human Capital Management 8.1.x and best-of-breed solution Vista HRMS 4.0 from PDS—head-to-head, based on the most recent data supplied to us by the two vendors.

We looked at six standard HR modules. To eliminate any chance of bias, and to ensure a level playing field, all 856 criteria that make up the modules and submodules in our HR Evaluation Center were given equal weight and priority. In other words, no area of functionality was treated as being more important than any other.


If we look at the overall ratings of the two vendors, you can see that the Vista HRMS solution by PDS ranked first with a weighted score of 86.51, while the Lawson S3 Human Capital Management solution ranked second with an overall weighted score of 78.24 (overall scores were based on the average level of support the vendor offers across the entire human resources management system [HRMS] spectrum).

Figure 1. Weighted average (WA) for HRMS evaluation (overall rating)

If we drill down into the submodules of the HRMS Evaluation Center, PDS's Vista HRMS finished first in three of the six modules and tied with Lawson S3 Human Capital Management in two other modules. Lawson S3 Human Capital Management finished first in only one of the modules—workforce management.

Every HR department has its own specific requirements, and it's certain that not every solution (whether it's a tier-one or best-of-breed solution) will fit the bill. If Payroll and Benefits are the most important areas for your business, then either solution in this scenario would do nicely.

Figure 2. Weighted averages (WA) for HRMS evaluation (broken down by module)

However, if we drill down further into the submodules of the HRMS Evaluation Center, you can see where these two solutions start to differ.

In the area of Personnel Management, PDS's Vista HRMS is clearly a winner in the Organizational Structures, Career Development and Training, Management of Rewards, and Government and Compliance Reporting submodules. When it comes to the Profile of Personnel submodule, Lawson S3 Human Capital Management has a slight lead. In all other areas, the solutions offer comparable results.

Figure 3. Weighted averages (WAs) for HRMS evaluation (Personnel Management module)

If we look at the Training module of the HRMS Evaluation Center, in the areas of both Planning and Administration, PDS's Vista HRMS is a clear winner (by 14.12 points and 12.23 points respectively).

Figure 4. Weighted average (WA) for HRMS evaluation (Training module)

If we look at the Workforce Management module, out of the 14 submodules, Lawson's S3 Human Capital Management is a winner in 5 submodules and ties with PDS's Vista HRMS in 3 submodules. Vista HRMS wins in 6 submodules (with the rankings in Security being virtually neck-and-neck). If Workforce Management is the most important requirement for your department, then Lawson S3 Human Capital Management offers a bit more core workforce functionality for your needs. Its strengths are in Project Identification, Resource Identification and Classification, Employee Metrics, Project Management and Tracking, and Expense Management.

Figure 5. Weighted Average (WA) for HRMS Evaluation (Workforce Management module)


While tier-one vendors have a reputation for delivering robust, fully integrated solutions (many "straight out of the box"), their solutions often come with heavy price tags. That's not to say that an integrated solution may not be the best solution for your needs; it just means that you need to weigh all your options—carefully. On the other hand, best-of-breed solutions, while offering rich functionality, can also pose challenges such as increased training and support, as well as the need for often complex interfaces with other enterprise systems.

PDS focuses on human capital management and payroll, and as such, it's what they do best. Founded in 1974, PDS has 35 years of experience in the area of HR management. While Lawson offers a very good HR solution, as a company its focus is on many different enterprises areas. Its venture into the area of HR began in 2006—which makes it still relatively new to this space. And as with anything new, it takes time to come to fruition.

The Bottom Line

Because your company's needs are specific—and certain areas are more important to you than others—determining which HR solution is best suited for your business can be a monumental undertaking. The fastest, simplest way is to do what we did to produce the results you see here: use TEC's HRMS Evaluation Center. We got our results in 20 minutes, versus weeks or even months of struggling with huge Excel spreadsheets.

For a free custom comparison of HRMS solutions, click below.

Find out which HRMS solutions are best suited to your company's particular requirements and type of business.

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