Except among IT professionals, the term seems to mostly be used as a pejorative. Something that evokes fear, or derision, or some force to be resisted. In common usage, Big Data ignites the same sense of dread that Big Petroleum, or Big Government, or Big Pharmaceutical do.
But what does it mean when used in the Information Technology lexicon? Is it something to watch hawkishly, or is it something that holds the promise that we could know more, make better decisions, and innovate more rapidly?