Horizontal Application


A horizontal application, also known as a general-purpose application, is a software program designed to be used by a wide range of industries or users with varied requirements. It caters to the common functions or operations across various business domains. Some common examples include word processors, spreadsheets, and email clients which can be utilized by different businesses irrespective of their fields.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Horizontal Application” is:hɔrˌɪzənˈtæl ˌæplɪˈkeɪʃən

Key Takeaways

  1. Horizontal applications are software programs that have a wide range of applicability, functioning across various industries and catering to diverse user needs.
  2. These applications typically have a user-friendly interface and are customizable, allowing users to adapt the features according to their specific requirements.
  3. Examples of horizontal applications include word processors, spreadsheets, email clients, and customer relationship management systems, which are versatile tools designed for use in multiple sectors.


The term “horizontal application” is important in technology because it refers to software programs designed to serve various industries in the market with a broad range of functionalities.

Unlike vertical applications tailored to specific industries, horizontal applications offer customizable solutions while aiming to meet the generic requirements of multiple businesses.

Their versatility and adaptability, along with the ability to integrate with existing systems, make them a cost-effective option for organizations that need to streamline their processes, enhance productivity, or improve data management across a wide spectrum of tasks and sectors.

By appealing to a larger audience and offering cross-industry utility, horizontal applications have become significant drivers of innovation, collaboration, and efficiency in the technology landscape.


Horizontal applications serve as vital components in the world of technology as they cater to a wide range of industries and business functions with a singular, unified solution. Their purpose lies in addressing common needs and requirements of various businesses, regardless of the industry they operate in. These software applications help streamline processes, improve collaboration, and enhance overall efficiency by providing essential tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases.

By using horizontal applications, organizations can benefit from quick implementation, reduced learning curves, and minimal customization, enabling them to focus on their core activities. The versatility and adaptability of horizontal applications are what make them popular and effective across numerous sectors. For instance, a project management tool like Asana or Trello serves the needs of retail, healthcare, manufacturing, IT, and many other industries equally well.

Another example would be the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software Salesforce, which is widely used by businesses of all sizes to manage customer interactions and drive growth. Besides reducing operational costs, these applications foster better communication and enable businesses to adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape. Embracing horizontal applications ultimately empowers organizations to stay competitive and maintain a strategic advantage in an increasingly globalized and technology-driven world.

Examples of Horizontal Application

Microsoft Office Suite: Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, is an excellent example of a horizontal application because it provides productivity tools that can be used across various industries and job roles. Organizations in sectors such as healthcare, education, finance, and marketing all rely on these software applications for tasks like word processing, data management, and presentation creation, regardless of their specialization.

Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Salesforce CRM is another widely recognized horizontal application that caters to businesses in multiple industries. It helps companies manage customer interactions, sales, marketing, customer support, and more, regardless of their specific industry. From retail and manufacturing to telecommunications and healthcare, Salesforce offers customizable CRM solutions that can be tailored to the requirements of any business sector while remaining user-friendly and efficient.

QuickBooks Accounting Software: QuickBooks is a popular horizontal application used for managing finances and accounts across a wide range of businesses. Industries such as retail, construction, nonprofit, real estate, and food services all benefit from QuickBooks’ accounting features, such as invoicing, expense tracking, and tax preparation. The software simplifies financial management for businesses of all sizes while offering scalability and flexibility to accommodate various industry-specific accounting needs.

FAQ – Horizontal Application

What is a horizontal application?

A horizontal application, also known as a cross-industry application, is a type of software that can be used by various industries and organizations without needing major customization. These applications aim to fulfill the needs of multiple companies and users, covering a wide range of functionalities such as project management, customer relationship management, and human resources management.

What is the difference between horizontal and vertical applications?

Horizontal applications are designed for a broad range of industries and can be used by different organizations without significant customization. In contrast, vertical applications are specifically tailored to meet the needs and requirements of particular industries or business domains, like healthcare, finance, or manufacturing.

What are some examples of horizontal applications?

Examples of horizontal applications include Microsoft Office, which provides productivity tools for businesses across various industries, Salesforce CRM, which helps manage customer relationships for different types of organizations, and project management tools like Trello and Asana, which can be utilized by teams in various businesses.

What are the benefits of using horizontal applications?

Some benefits of using horizontal applications include lower costs, quick implementation, and ease of use. Because they cater to a wide range of organizations and industries, these applications are often more affordable and readily available. In addition, they tend to focus on user-friendliness and a lower learning curve, making it easier to adopt and integrate these applications within a business.

Do horizontal applications require customization?

While horizontal applications are designed with general functionality to address the needs of various industries, they may require some level of customization to fit an organization’s specific processes and workflows. Customization might include software integrations, user interface adjustments, and the creation of custom templates, forms, and reports. However, the level of customization needed for horizontal applications is typically lower than that required for vertical applications.

Related Technology Terms

  • Cross-Industry Software
  • General-purpose Application
  • Enterprise Software
  • Off-the-Shelf Software
  • Business Productivity Tools

Sources for More Information

  • Investopedia –
  • Techopedia –
  • Wikipedia –
  • Pediaa –

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