As data has become multifaceted, the need for more analysis, management and integration has led companies to look for new solutions that can meet all of their needs. In fact, analyst firm IDC predicts the global big data technology and services market will reach $23.8 billion by 2016, while the cloud and cloud services market is expected to see $100 billion invested in 2014. It’s through this growth of data that companies are beginning to look for a new leader to oversee the exchange of information within the company and with partners and customers. This leader will inevitably be known as the chief data officer (CDO).

Just as the amount of data available continues to grow, so will the magnitude of data complexity and therefore data integration complexity. It’s not just the data itself that will be the issue though. With the addition of each new technology and associated APIs, companies face an ever-growing need to ensure that their data can be exchanged efficiently and seamlessly. As a result, many companies are struggling to find cost effective solutions to manage data integration complexity as technology continues to evolve. This will be the number one challenge CDOs will be faced with in the coming years.

Additionally, the rise of cloud services, cloud application and mobile devices within a company will add to the amount of data entering a workplace – creating another area of importance for the CDO to oversee. As cloud services brokerage (CSB) providers gain momentum in the industry, CDOs will look to them to help manage cloud applications across businesses of all sizes and types. It will be the CDOs who will need to direct both external customer and internal cloud implementations, solutions and services. Within this cloud framework, CDOs will also be responsible for evaluating, designing and implementing cloud security that is compatible with compliance and integration efforts.

Lastly, as integration complexity continues to develop, CDOs will strive to find and manage customized solutions focused on the needs of their business versus what is easiest for their integration provider. These historically, “no substitution,” standardized solutions are hitting their peak of usefulness, leaving gaps in integration solutions and providing an untapped opportunity for providers that are willing to customize their offerings. This in turn, will benefit those providers as more businesses will look to them for these customized solutions, while CDOs and their companies will have the option of flexibility and no longer be forced to choose between less than perfect solutions. CSB providers that can deliver these solutions will grow rapidly as the benefits of insulating their customers from the growing burden of data integration complexity continue to be realized.

The next year calls for more attention on data itself, as both internal and external data become equally important. As such, the position of the CDO will have a breakout year as data, integration complexity and flexibility in solutions become top priority for companies.