For years, vertical software companies have claimed to offer the most feature-rich products on the market, and the best fit for any vertical. But the landscape of vertical vs. horizontal software is shifting. Vertical software marketers may claim that their products are better tailored to the needs of the smaller-focused market than traditional enterprise software, and while this has largely been true for the past 20 years, it is no longer always the case. 

The idea of vertical and horizontal software can be understood by visualizing a chart with both an X-axis and a Y-axis, where the X-axis (horizontal) represents the number of markets a software can tackle in an easy, flexible manner, and the Y-axis (vertical) as the depth of the features available. Software that is considered vertical meets a wealth of needs in the vertical category while narrowing its focus size for the horizontal. For years companies have struggled with the decision between a horizontal or vertical platform; it's a choice between horizontal platforms not meeting their specific needs or restrictive vertical software forcing them to change their processes to fit within the constraints of the program.

Too Snug a Fit

Vertical software companies will often tell you that they offer the best fit, focusing on making a software that has built-in best practices for their vertical market, while claiming to offer all the features your business could require in order to address industry-specific needs. Vertical software focuses on developing a product that is “one size fits one,” but in trying to make an adequately specialized software, they can often end up with a solution that is too specialized. Often the problem is that, while nearly well-fitted, the software is too snug, leading to problems whenever you attempt to move beyond its limiting constraints. Unfortunately for software developers, and the customers that fall into the trap of vertical software, it is notoriously difficult to know the software needs of any given company, making selecting and implementing the perfect software a challenge. 

The answer to claims of inflexibility leveled against vertical software companies is to simply call for risky hardcode customizations to the software. Beyond the typical problems one expects, customizations by vertical software companies in an attempt to appeal to wider audiences are typically depthless attempts at meeting the needs of the audience, consisting of relabelled features, and missing functionality. Ultimately, the idea that software built from the bottom up with one industry in mind could in any way be easily ported to an entirely new industry because it met some of the requirements of said field is asinine at best. 

Who Knows Best?

You understand your operation best, but it's easy to see with vertical software companies boasting that they have the vertical software which produces best-practices, that they believe they know all of your unique software needs. While it may be vertical software companies' jobs to produce the best product for your specified industry, every company is different—even in the narrowest of industries. That’s not to mention that it's you and your staff who will actually have to use the software, so your leadership should not be removed from planning and structuring of the software’s key processes.

Their thinking may be that, while most great leaders pride themselves on the ability to see the big picture throughout the running of their operations, the level of conceptualization required on the part of the decision-maker, to know and visualize all of his company’s needs during the software decision-making process, is too much to ask. That’s why the PBE3 team works with decision-makers from the start of the implementation process, right until you are satisfied that your software meets the unique needs of your business, rather than just assuming it will because of presumed industry standardization. Pareto offers software assembled with your business in mind from start to finish, utilizing the flexibility of PBE3, and the expertise of your decision makers, to ensure that you have access to all the features needed to operate your business. By making sure that your platform has all the features you need of those offered by boastful vertical software companies and none of the ones you don’t need, PBE3 offers a clean, comprehensive platform from which to do business.

Sandbox ERP: At the Crossroads of Flexibility and Specialization

PBE3 takes advantage of cloud ERP flexibility and can be customized to have the depth offered by vertical software while remaining flexible enough to ensure that it covers all of your needs—not just what the developers think you need covered. While it may sound exceptional, sandbox ERPs take the idea of software being limited to either a wide range of flexibility in the x-axis, or an industry-specific feature-rich column in the y-axis, and throws it out the window. It does this by having both a wide horizontal axis thanks to its unmatched flexibility, and a tall vertical column by being able to offer countless configurations which meet your unique industry-specific needs.