OK, you've narrowed the pack to two finalists and followed all our advice about how to run a proper bake-off. Now you need to go outside your experience to find out how others have fared. RSG's research reports can give you some good insight into customer experiences with key vendors, but you'll also want to perform your own diligence.
For starters, you'll want to talk to companies like yours who have implemented the package. Vendors will total the number of licenses they have issued in the past year, but try to find out how many actually implemented and then kept the product. More tellingly, how many customers use the latest version of the package in production.
If you'are suspect about a particular feature or module, ask to see it in production in a live environment from among the vendor's clients.
This is especially critical when your implementation depends on integrating two or more products — the fact that the vendors are "partners" means little. How many installations currently use those two products in tandem now? Fair or not, the early adopters provide integration lessons for everyone else.
For more selection tips and hard-hitting evaluations designed to help you select the right technology, start by checking out a vendor evaluation from one of our seven coverage areas.