Vista Review

Blue Bell, PA
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Cloud, On-Premise
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Vista At A Glance

Good: Robust features included in each module, workflow engine that automates approval processes, extensive reporting features.
Bad: Not intended for small businesses.
Bottom Line: Comprehensive human capital management solution that automates core human resources tasks and includes analytical tools to help businesses make better decisions.

Product Overview

Vista is an end-to-end human capital management (HCM) system that automates core human resources tasks so HR administrators can focus on more strategic activities. It has a modular design, so companies can either purchase only the modules they need or purchase all modules for a more integrated approach.

Some benefits of Vista include:

  • Flexible and customizable to fit companies’ unique requirements
  • Self-service tools for both managers and employees
  • Choice of on-premise or cloud deployment
  • Extensive reporting and analytical tools to help companies manage their workforce and make better business decisions
  • Helping companies adhere to federal laws, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Vista includes the following components, which we discuss in detail in our Features section below:

  • Human resources
  • Benefits
  • Payroll
  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Time and attendance
  • Self-service
  • Workflow
  • Reporting
  • Analytics


Here are the key features of each Vista component:

Human resources – The human resources module has features to help with onboarding, learning management, performance management, document management, and career planning and development. Employees and managers can access specific Vista features based on their job roles. In addition, the module helps HR pros with salary and wage administration, benefits and compensation, and workforce safety and risk management. It also helps companies in both the U.S. and Canada stay compliant with various laws and guidelines. The module contains reporting tools such as a dashboard, standard templates and an English-language query tool.

Benefits  The benefits module has an enrollment wizard to help with employee enrollment. It supports unlimited plans and coverage levels, and the module supports current, open and future benefits enrollment. It also has various processing tools for open enrollment, pensions/retirement and Affordable Care Act guidelines. With the module, companies can automate various aspects of the benefits process, such as employee benefit eligibility, dependent and beneficiary management, premium calculations and payroll deductions. Users have the ability to track leave time and accruals, and manage flexible spending accounts.

Payroll – With the payroll module, payroll can be generated automatically or based on certain calendar days. Users are able to process retroactive payroll, and create and print checks on-demand. The module can also be used to collect employees’ time and track historical payroll. Workers have the ability to receive electronic pay and tax statements. Also, the module helps with filing federal, state and local income taxes in the U.S. and Canada.

Recruiting – Through the recruiting module, recruiting pros can manage the entire hiring process from recruit to hire. There’s a dedicated portal for hiring managers. Via a personalized career page, applicants can submit resumes, create profiles and learn more about the company. Potential candidates can be grouped together based on customized criteria such as skills or education, and email messaging templates are available to notify candidates of their application status. Candidates can apply for jobs using their mobile devices. Recruiters utilize tools to plan, approve, promote, post, recruit, and match applicants to openings. In addition, there’s a “click to hire” feature that automatically transfers applicant data to the new-hire wizard, making onboarding easier.

Onboarding – With the onbaording module, new hires get introduced to the company and fill out paperwork. HR can easily create an onboarding portal by adding an onboarding checklist, FAQs, a welcome message, company documents and more. Vista integrates with Adobe Sign and DocuSign for electronic signatures, and it also automates E-Verify processes.

Time and attendance – The time and attendance module accommodates a range of time-collection methods, such as a hardware time clock, online, a mobile device or telephony systems. There are dedicated dashboards for both managers and employees, and supervisors can view and approve time cards from the module. One notable feature is its geolocation feature that tracks where employees punch in and out. Its attendance tracking feature uses a “points” system for attendance. In addition, the module fully integrates with Vista Payroll.

Self-service – Vista offers a variety of self-service tools for managers and employees. Employees are able to access pay stubs and tax information, monitor their leave balance and request time off. They can also manage their career goals and apply for internal job openings. Managers can perform employee performance reviews, approve time off, track attendance and run reports on relevant data. Vista can also act as a company intranet where administrators and managers can add their own content.

Workflow – The Workflow module allows administrators and managers to customize their approval processes, which cuts down on the number of emails and paperwork to track. Once the steps of the process are set, the specific workflow automatically routes them to the people who need them throughout the process. Vista provides sample workflow templates for easy customization. Administrators can customize the steps based on the company’s unique requirements.

Administrators have the option of indicating that a workflow needs a response/approval or that a notification doesn’t require a response. The recipients can approve, edit or reject any requests. Approvals can also be processed on mobile devices.

Reporting – Users have access to over 400 pre-defined and pre-formatted reporting templates in real time with the reporting module. Reports can be exported to Excel, Word and PDF with one click, and they can also be automatically scheduled. Additionally, Crystal Reports, HTML or SQL Server Reporting Services can be added into Vista. Reports can be generated on both current and historical data, and users have the ability to create access controls to authorize who can see certain reports. A unique reporting feature is Vista EasyAsk, a question/answer interface where users can choose a question from a drop-down list and get answers in HMTL, Word or Excel.

Analytics – With the analytics module, pre-defined analytics can be easily customized to an organization’s needs. User-defined dashboards may also be created with relevant data. The module has a key performance indicator (KPI) toolkit that automatically collects data for later analysis. Data can be displayed in various types of graphs, such as line graphs, pie graphs, bar charts or columns.

Target Market

Vista is intended for mid-size and enterprise companies (with 300 to 10,000 employees) in the U.S. and Canada. It targets all industries, including professional services, education, government, manufacturing and utilities.

We’ve listed several of its clients below:

  • PA Cyber Charter School
  • NVR Homes
  • Inglis House
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • CPA of Canada
  • Lee County Clerk of Court (FL)
  • NeInet
  • CPC Logistics
  • Associated Electric Cooperative Inc.
  • The IMA Financial Group

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PDS’ Professional Services implementation is a comprehensive approach that includes discovery, system configuration, data conversion, interface development and training. The vendor has a fully trained, committed, tenured staff of customer support representatives, project managers and implementation specialists that work with customers to make sure their implementation is planned properly with minimal disruption.

Implementation times vary depending upon the product components, but generally range from three to six months.

Customer Service & Support

PDS provides a variety of training courses based on the specific Vista components, including:

  • A two-day course on an overview of Vista Human Resources
  • A two-day course on the Benefits and Leave Accrual module
  • A two-day course on the Payroll module
  • A two-day course on running Crystal Reports within the Vista application
  • A four-day course on technical administration
  • A three-day course on the Vista Recruiting module
  • A half-day course on the Analytics module
  • A half-day course on Vista EasyAsk

The vendor strongly believes in one-on-one relationships with clients. Clients can contact support staff online or by phone. There’s also a support site where users can access demos and product videos, product updates and tax compliance updates.

PDS hosts a user group conference every 18 months where users can network with PDS staff and other users. Conference attendees can participate in brainstorming sessions where they prioritize the features that PDS will add to the product.


Clients have the opportunity to purchase the full Vista product suite or individual modules. PDS offers both on-premise and cloud deployment, and licensing methods include either a licensed or Software as a Service (SaaS) model with pricing that’s based on the number of active employees. Contact PDS directly for a quote.


Vista isn’t intended for small businesses, as its features may be too robust. Small businesses can check out our other HRMS software reviews.


PDS Screenshot 1
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Personnel Data Systems Inc. (PDS) was initially founded in 1974, when it first introduced a personnel and benefits solution. The company has continued to innovate and improve the scope of product components to deliver the solutions customers have asked for.

Vista, its product suite, has grown into a fully integrated recruiting, HR, benefits and payroll solution that supports the U.S. and Canadian markets.

PDS is dedicated to developing a comprehensive solution using the latest technology so employee information is available via a computer or mobile device. Customers enjoy personal attention and the ability to participate in a long-running user group.

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