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Computer Lab : Chapter 10 Exercises : Expanding Your Knowledge > Articles and Activities : Topic 2: Horizontal Market Software vs. Vertical Market Software

Floyd Fuller, Brian Larson

Topic 2: Horizontal Market Software vs. Vertical Market Software

Commercial software can be categorized as horizontal market software or vertical market software. Horizontal market software supports common functions across industries, such as payroll, graphics editing, software development, and inventory tracking. Most businesses use a number of different horizontal market software packages in their organization.

Vertical market software is specialized by industry, trying to offer a full suite of solutions to support the business. Even if vertical market software is composed of different modules, the functionality across the entire system is usually tightly coupled. This is a positive thing for customers who are using the entire system, but it means that it could be tough to integrate the vertical software with other systems in the company. Because few prepackaged software solutions truly meet all of a company’s business needs, an organization’s systems environment is likely to have a variety of business applications and technical platforms that need to be integrated.

Examples of vertical market software include clinical information systems, project management software for the construction industry, claims processing and administration software for insurance companies, law enforcement information systems, and transaction processing software used by banks.

Some of the functions in a clinical information system are scheduling of patients, entering physician orders, tracking patient progress, routing lab results, managing the patient medical history, and alerting physicians of changes in vital signs or interactions between medications.

Project management software for the construction industry could cover a wide range of business functions, including estimating jobs, allocating resources, job costing, payroll, and invoicing. Since these are the major business functions for a residential construction company that can be automated, this might be the only software the company needs.

Claims processing and administrative software for the insurance industry typically manages customers, actuarial and underwriting functions, claims processing, payments, and reporting.

Law enforcement information systems contain functionality for activities such as dispatching police officers, verifying criminal records, booking prisoners, scheduling court appearances, and crime trending.

Transaction processing software packages are used by banks to automate tasks related to deposits, loans, mortagages, credit cards, and even Internet banking. Vertical software packages aimed at the banking and financial industries include state-of-the-art security features to protect bank and customer transactions.

Visit Restaurant Technology, Inc.’s Web site at Determine what business functions are supported in this vertical market software product family. Summarize your findings in an e-mail to your instructor.

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