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What is a Horizontal Application?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 June 2016
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In the modern world of automation and computer gadgets there are multiple types of software applications. Typically, a computer software application is designed to support a specific type of user. A horizontal application is a broad-based software application that can be used by many types of users within an organization.

A software package is a bundle of software designed to support multiple functions and requirements. Microsoft® Office is an example of a software package that contains many horizontal applications. The office package includes a word processor, spreadsheets, presentation software, and database software.

A vertical application is a specialized system that is built for a specific business. These applications require domain expertise and generally are not used by multiple groups or business units. An auto mechanic diagnostic system is an example of a vertical application because it is designed for a narrow purpose that only small group of users would need.

A typical business organization consists of units that specialize in specific business areas. These include accounting, sales, information technology, and human resources. Business components use automation software that includes both horizontal applications and unit specific vertical applications.

Time and attendance is a necessary process for most organizations. Most businesses use an automated time and attendance application to track employee hours. This is an example of a horizontal application because all types of businesses and all types of specialized units within a business can use the same time and tracking system.

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Bookkeeping is the process of managing financial information for a business. This includes payroll, invoicing, and accounts payable processing. A booking application is a horizontal application designed to support the automation of bookkeeping within an organization.

Modern organizations offer their employees the ability to self manage benefit packages. This includes health benefits, personal leave requests, and tax withholding information. This horizontal application enables all employees the ability to modify benefit programs without human intervention.

Many states and federal governments collect taxes from the people within the state or country. Modern technology is now available to assist governments in the processing of tax collection information. Automated tax collection systems are an example of a horizontal application. All taxpayers within a country can use a single tax application. This one system works for all types of people regardless of the family size or job status.

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