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Project Maestro - Tableau's new data prep tool

This week I downloaded and tried out Tableau’s Beta 3 data prep product, “Project Maestro”.  Overall, I am impressed by the visual interface and what it can do without advanced excel functions or programming. Here are some features I am excited it can do:

  • EXTRACT DATA FROM OUR ILS DATABASE: Using a MySQL connection, I was able to pull data from our Koha database and output the results to a CSV file.
  • MERGE A FOLDER OF EXCEL REPORTS: Using the wildcard union, I was able to easily combine a folder of reports into one csv file. I merged a folder that had a separate file of items owned for every library in the South Central Library System. The resulting file had over 3 million items, and it only took a few minutes. 
  • COMBINE DATA SOURCES: Using the join feature, I combined data from multiple sources and could easily see how many records were included/excluded.
  • FILTER: This can be done with a calculation or by selecting which field values to keep or exclude.
  • ADD OR SPLIT FIELDS: Calculated fields and custom splits can be used to add new fields. I used this to add the report date, which is typically in the filename and not listed as a report field.
  • AGGREGATE LARGE FILES: This is my favorite feature!  We create monthly database extracts with millions of records that are used by Perl scripts to generate reports. Using Maestro’s aggregate feature, I was able to aggregate (sum) these large files by year, quarter, month, day, etc. to reduce the number of records.
  • OUTPUT: The ability to output to a CSV or Tableau format is huge. I’m now wondering what this means for custom reports and rethinking my dashboard design workflows.

My only complaint with Project Maestro is that sometimes it took too long or seemed stuck. Restarting the program and keeping the flow simpler for large files seemed to help.

So how much will this cost? I contacted our Tableau representative and received this information: “Project Maestro will be included in a desktop license but they have not released any details on how it will be released i.e. as an upgrade or a new offering.” In the meantime, you can try it for free!  Here are some resources to get started:

Software: https://www.tableau.com/project-maestro 

Blog post: http://www.blastam.com/blog/tableaus-new-etl-tool-project-maestro

Training video: https://youtu.be/22_YJ6eJVTY


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