The digital universe, which is expected to grow to 44 zettabytes by 2020, represents an infinite opportunity for CIOs to drive agility and accelerate value for an organization.  However, as a CIO, I can’t help pausing for a moment of practicality. 

Let’s consider some of the 2020 projections from IDC’s recent study.

  • The digital universe is doubling every two years.
  • Although consumers will create most of the content, enterprises today are responsible and liable for 85% of the digital universe.
  • The available storage will only be able to store less than 15% of the universe.
  • 40% of the data in the digital universe will be “touched” by the cloud.


This study reaffirms how critical it is for us to transform from a traditional to a contemporary IT organization to accommodate this rapid growth and unlock the true potential of all this information.  Let me briefly explain my perspective.

For years, we have tuned up our infrastructure; virtualized to dramatically improve utilization; and embraced cloud computing to run our IT organization better.  Moving forward, we must provide our users with more elastic, on-demand cloud services that support the balance between this dramatic growth and their dynamic business needs.

We also need to understand how the Internet of Things; proliferation of sensors; and the digital, mobile and social tools used by users impact the enterprise and how we deliver services.  Furthermore, despite the explosive growth in the Digital Universe, only 5 percent of the data collected today is considered useful, so we must work closer with our business users and data scientists to gain additional insight and identify growth opportunities.

Finally, with enterprises responsible and liable for 85 percent of universe, we need to determine how we can best leverage this information, while ensuring it has the appropriate governance and security to protect our organizations, partners, customers and employees.

While it raises many questions in the near term, the rapidly growing digital universe will spur CIOs and IT professionals to transform their organizations (and our roles) to offer users more strategic, innovative, analytical and contemporary IT services. Truly a universe of infinite possibilities.

This blog was also published on the Evanta Leadership Network. Follow Vic on Twitter @VicBhagat

Vic Bhagat

Vic Bhagat

Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions and CIO at EMC Corporation
Vic Bhagat
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