Evaluating new products can range from taking advantage of a free trial to specifying custom development and integration. Regardless of how simple or complex the exercise is, you need a well-thought-out process and agreed upon test plan to ensure that whatever product is being implemented actually supports the functions it is being purchased for. Not every vendor provides the option to test a product prior to purchase. If you don’t have this option, it is critically important for you to have a list of agreed upon acceptance criteria that, if not met, provide you with the justification to discontinue product use and payment. One way to improve the evaluation process when you can’t physically test the product is to ask for a local reference. Then, if it’s a major purchase, visit that client and see how they are using the product.