Here’s an observation I’ve made many times in my career: If your business is plateauing, it’s time to go vertical. In other words, when you run out of potential market runway, look for horizontally focused products (cross-industries) such as databases, integration brokers, or development systems. Develop those products to fill a niche, then announce that you’ll be vertically focused moving forward.
This is an old story about building new capabilities into a technology product or service that solves industry-specific problems. For example, a database can have industry-specific schemas like those used by banking. Development services can support healthcare application development, or security and governance services can focus on an industry’s requirements. The idea is to get a business closer to a needed solution faster than if it had to start from scratch.
Don’t confuse vertical capabilities with industry-specific application solutions. Here we’re talking about systems built to provide industry-specific services that an enterprise does not need to build for itself.
Businesses have always sought ways to build solutions faster and with fewer resources. This is a good strategy. However, in the past, only some industry-specific solutions provided expected value. A few fundamental problems created shortfalls:
The solutions were too coarse-grained. For instance, a