Vertical market software is a type of program made to cater to a specific audience instead of the common consumer. Each program is highly specialized for a given market, so the software must match the user’s needs. Vertical market software must also include useful features for the user and be available for the user’s operating system (OS). Vertical market software is contrasted by horizontal market software, which is made for a variety of users. Creating vertical software is considered risky, because only limited amounts are likely to be purchased, so the company producing the software may not recoup its costs.
Each type of vertical market software is different and intended for a specific type of user or business. For example, a word processing program is not vertical software, but a screenwriting program is intended for a vertical market, because only specific users will purchase this software. This means the vertical software must be made specifically for the user’s industry or needs. Each program is highly specialized for specific purposes, so the user will likely not want vertical software meant for another industry or even another facet of his particular industry.
While vertical market software includes features meant only for a specific market, each type of vertical software will offer slightly different features. For banking software, some programs might lean toward loans, while others will focus more on other aspects of banking. Most industry-based software is vertical market, but there are different facets to each industry that need addressing. Choosing vertical software that includes specialized features for the user’s specific market and needs is integral to choosing the best software.
Vertical market software is made in limited amounts, because it satisfies specialized needs rather than broad needs, so getting vertical software for a specific OS might be difficult. If the software is not made for the computer’s OS, the user can get around this by purchasing or downloading virtual machine software. These programs emulate different OS platforms, allowing the user to install and use vertical software. Virtual machine software is relatively cheap and can be downloaded free, so it will not add much to the overall cost of the vertical software.
The contrast to vertical market software is horizontal market software. While a vertical market is only intended for specific industry facets or specialized users, horizontal market software is made for everybody. Horizontal markets tend to include more overall features, and more companies produce software for horizontal markets. The features are made for everyone, though, so users with specific needs may only find a few of the features useful.