Data Visualizations: Will the big BI vendors catch up to the niche players?

The New York Times has really been stepping up its infographic department in recent years. Take a look at this data visualization showing how different demographics voted in the recent democratic primary contest.

All politics aside, I'm most interested in the fact that although this was more than likely developed by an information or graphic designer, it looks like it could have been produced by a BI tool. Of course a tool is just a tool without the data organized in such a way that makes the tool useful (but that is a subject for another post).

What fascinates me is how far the major BI tool providers are from producing these types of visualizations. It seems to me that they are so focused on the integration issues with all of the consolidation in the industry that there isn't enough time to add the features that decision makers want – new and exciting ways to communicate information that helps them take action.

It seems to me that that the quality gap between the data visualizations produced by tools and those produced by designers is getting smaller, but it is the niche players in the business that are making this happen. I'd love to be proven wrong though.