Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools are effective solutions for businesses that put the necessary time and effort behind finding the right software and vendor. Firms that struggle with their ERP implementation will fail to realize the system's full potential.

In the past, successful ERP deployments were measured by internal efficiency, according to Enterprise Irregulars' Brian Sommer. In 2014, he believes that more focus will be placed on how firms can leverage these solutions to connect end-users to social media networks, governments, prospects and customers. This will be possible through a range of technologies, including mobile devices and handheld gadgets, among others.

Sommer suggested that the most successful ERP users in 2014 will leverage social media content, analyze big data sources and fully comprehend mobile applications and their impact on operations and how quickly they can integrate new processes, including machine data and cloud-based apps.

The focus on enterprise mobility will likely come to a high point in 2014, especially in terms of supporting a connected workforce. Companies relying on cloud computing can empower their staff members, because the cloud is available through the Internet, allowing personnel to access enterprise applications through their mobile devices.

The future of ERP will undoubtedly center more on the integration of cloud computing and mobile solutions. Business 2 Community's Mark Connolly recently wrote that mobile data is essential for helping companies take advantage of real-time assets to improve their relationship with their clients. The cloud allows firms to lower their total cost of ownership for IT and not rely so heavily on internal resources to perform important tasks.

With so many potential benefits at their fingertips, it is not surprising that more businesses are moving applications to the cloud. Connolly cited a survey that found that 14 percent of respondents have fully migrated ERP systems to hosted environments, while 31 percent expect to do the same in the next year. Nearly 30 percent said this will happen by the end of 2015.

Organizations planning to adopt ERP in 2014 would be wise to look at software that integrates with mobile tools and cloud-based environments to improve operational efficiency. That is why finding a reputable and seasoned vendor will make all of the difference in the long run, so a company's demands are supported from day one. Infor solutions have become a staple throughout the ERP landscape, helping tens of thousands of clients maximize their ERP investment.