Aspinall and I have been having a series of deep-think chats about the fast-changing market for how big companies manage their ever-growing piles of information, software and hardware. He's my kind of corporate insider -- over his 20-some-odd-year career, including a long stint at Cisco ( CSCO), he's become an expert in getting the word out to impossible-to-spin big company chief technology officers. His latest message? Expect the unexpected when it comes to big businesses using the technologies that built the Internet to manage vast stores of company information. "Corporate data is becoming increasingly virtual. That means it can be placed anywhere," he explained. "it can be stored off-site or partially outsourced to other companies. Entire services can be outsourced." Aspinall says as this virtualization wave breaks, it won't be the copy of Microsoft ( MSFT) Word or the Dell ( DELL) PC or the Apple ( AAPL) iPhone -- or even the Google ( GOOG) Chrome browser -- that will matter. What will matter will be the "task."
"What software you run or laptop you use will not be the issue. It will be the task someone is trying to achieve that will matter," he said. "Once you think in terms of tasks, vast amounts of value can be unlocked."