For Big Data, it’s only the beginning.  Big data, which can makes companies more competitive by giving consumers more personalized services, is bigger than life.

In terms of technology.

In terms of IT spending.

In terms of IT jobs growth.

And, in terms of hype.

IT companies are working overtime to work “big data” into their already incomprehensible boilerplates.

IT specialists are building “big data” into their LinkedIn profiles and resumes to gear up for the pending big data jobs explosion.

And conference organizers are moving fast to put cheeks in seats at $200+ a pop to showcase the latest/greatest big data innovations.

Xconomy’s recent standing room only (I know from first-hand experience) forum at the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology in Boston is a good example.  The four-hour conference + networking included a provocative keynote by Brad Feld, managing director at the Foundry Group (the highlight of the conference) and panel discussions featuring technologists, marketers and VCs.

“What if I Googled ‘Big Data is Bullshit,’” said Feld as he questioned the term “big data.”  And he admonished the techies, investors and marketers in attendance to not be fooled by “questionable offerings.”

A simple Google News search of “big data” produces thousands of articles, including ones from ZD Net, Forbes, the Sydney Morning Herald, Boston.com, among many others, and headlines such as:

“Reality Check: Big Data BS”

“Big Data, big talent challenge”

“Big data steps closer to mainstream”

“Microsoft gets it groove back with ‘big data’ embrace”

A friend of mine, Paul JJ Payack, runs the Austin-based Global Language Monitor, which uses a proprietary solution to track word and phrase frequency in the media – online and offline.  Recently, the Global Language Monitor called big data the “biggest buzzword.”

Said the Monitor: “It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US pace in global economies, and more.  Now if we could only agree on exactly on what this means and how we get there.”

Just a few years ago, we saw a similar phenomenon with “cloud computing.” Companies were claiming to make miracles happen using the cloud.  If your solutions weren’t cloud-based, you might as well pack up your tent and run for cover.

Now it’s big data.

“There’s a lot of people who assert that they’re doing magical new things with data, that we can’t tell you about because it’s so incredible, and just trust this black box and give us some money-and we’ll give you amazing things out the end other end,” said Feld.

Reminds me a bit of Professor Marvel in the Wizard of Oz.

There’s no doubt that big data and figuring how to use it to make the best business decisions as quickly as possible can be a great competitive differentiator for organizations.  Amidst all the hype, a number of companies are moving beyond the buzz and are providing real value to customers by implementing big data activities.

But for many others, it will behoove them in the long-term to figure it out first instead of serving up the BS.