Tonkean Quick Start Guide

  • 21 July 2021
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The Tonkean no-code platform enables business operations teams to become self-sufficient in creating automation under the guidance, supervision, and control of IT professionals. This allows the business and process experts to focus on the true end-to-end process flows without becoming bogged down in the minutiae of the technical details. Through the use of the existing communication channels (email, Slack, Teams, messaging, etc.) and applications that are already used, people are properly integrated into the processes without needing to create, train, and maintain additional applications. This allows the business teams to focus on running the business with Tonkean being the operating system of the business.


  1. Tonkean is an adaptive software platform that allows operations teams to deliver tailored solutions to connect systems, coordinate people, and automate processes.
  2. At the core, Tonkean is powered by Modules, software modules that perform work on behalf of your systems and people.
  3. You can train Tonkean Modules through a no-code, process-focused Workflow Builder to ensure each Module orchestrates your unique process exactly as you need.
  4. Tonkean Modules can connect to 1000+ data sources so that you can automate processes on top of the existing systems & tools you already have.
  5. Tonkean Modules reaches your people where they like to work, such as email, chat, or other systems, providing updates and allowing people to take action in their tools of choice.
  6. Tonkean Modules actively reports on all activity presented in an interactive Live Report to provide visibility into the details of each item and custom KPIs while allowing people to change status, assign owners, or modify any others details of each item.  


What is Tonkean?

Tonkean is an adaptive business process platform that connects all of your software into intelligent workflows, all while keeping your most valuable assets in the loop, the human workers. The Tonkean mission to orchestrate work so that people are able to focus on high value work most efficiently while the automation platform performs the menial and redundant tasks.  We like to think of ourselves as the Operating System for Operations teams. Our platform is intuitive, easy to use, and requires no code.


For example, maybe you use a catch-all email address for your legal team (, while many different requests come in, the most common is requesting an NDA for a prospect. Instead of a human manually reading the email, duplicating the NDA template, copying and pasting the prospects' information, then sending the email the requester, a Tonkean Module will read the email, create, and then send the document to the requester, all behind the scenes, without the need for anyone to be involved.


For instances where a non-standard NDA request occurs, the Tonkean Module will simply route to the appropriate user, giving them various actions to take. This routing is just another standard option versus exception handling.  wherever they like to work (email, Slack, Teams, etc.).


Common terms to know

Since Tonkean is a no-code platform that abstracts many of the technical aspects of automation building and automation coding aspects, it is important to understand the various parts of the system and nomenclature used. The philosophy of the design is to enable people the ability to automate business processes without requiring a high level of technical knowledge into programming constructs and methods. The goal is to make it easy enough that everybody can layout and automate their end-to-end processes.



Makers are the administrators and users who are responsible for building and maintaining the business process and overseeing the management of the data systems and applications utilized in the process flow. They create the process flow by creating sequences of tasks, decision logic, and interactions with data and communication channels such as email, chat, or application updates.



A board or project is the topmost level and contains all of the end-to-end business processes known as solutions. Typically, a board would correspond to a business entity. Depending on the needs of the enterprise, all of the business processes can be managed on a single board. Multiple boards can also be created to reflect the management and regulatory needs of the company.


A solution is an end-to-end business process that has a unique set of owners, applications and data systems, and defined workflows or sub-processes. The solutions are organized so that the owners or makers are all working together toward a single common goal with related access requirements. This is due to the modules having dependencies or relationships amongst themselves.


Note: It is best practice that different solutions are created for unrelated business processes. This is especially true when access rights or data systems are also different. This is to ensure that only makers have access to all of the data and modules need the access.



A module is the object in the system that contains the custom workflow linkages to the data.  A custom workflow is a series of sequential or parallel actions or tasks that are performed by the automation. It can contain actions on data, various decision points, interactions with people or applications, and various other operations. A solution will typically have multiple related modules, each performing a particular set of tasks or actions.


For example, a module would check for a condition to occur and then trigger to perform various actions.



Items are the pieces of data that the Module will act upon during a transaction. This is the data that you always want to be monitoring. We can use the analogy of a database record or an Excel row as similar to an item. It could contain consolidated information from various different data repositories for a particular customer such as: customer name retrieved from Salesforce, total payments from Stripe, and NPS score from Zendesk. As transactions occur, these items will show within a Live Report in Tonkean so that you can monitor a transaction's state.


Business Report

Tonkean business reports are stateful real-time analytics that provide continuous visibility into the exact progress of a process transaction. The level of detailed granularity enables the ability to quickly locate areas of process delays for further refinements.  Items are the pieces of data that the Module will act upon during a transaction. This is the data that you always want.

Enterprise Components

Enterprise Components are the external data systems and applications that connect to Tonkean that are used in the end-to-end business processes. They are sometimes referred to as data sources. These integration points are what the users typically interact with when working. Typical systems include: Google Drive, email, Salesforce, Jira, DocuSign, Slack, and others.



Navigating Tonkean


Getting around Tonkean

Tonkean is divided into various areas that can be accessed via the grid navigation pattern on the upper left of your browser window. These are

  • Solutions Studio
  • Enterprise Components
  • Business Reports
  • Runtime
  • Education Center


Solution Studio

The solution studio is where the business process solutions and modules are created and maintained.  It includes the graphical no-code interface where makers create the individual flows for the end-to-end process. The solution studio is built around the philosophy of enabling the business experts the ability to define and maintain business logic without needing to concern themselves with technical nuances around programming syntax, constructs, or best practices. Instead, the Tonkean system abstracts and handles many of them automatically.


The solution studio interface includes the different environments needed for development(build) and production. These different environments simplify the build, testing, and deployment into production since the applications and data that are connected via Enterprise Components are associated with environments. This ensures that the correct relationships are always maintained and connected without human intervention or errors.



Enterprise Components

The Enterprise components tab is where the connections are configured into the various applications and data resources that are used in the solutions (end-to-end processes). These enterprise components are groups into data sources, communication sources, people directories, and training sets.


Data Sources

Data sources are any application or data repository that contains information that can be used in the Tonkean module. Typical examples include: Dropbox, OneDrive, DocuSign, email, chat (eg. Slack or MS Team), Salesforce, Ironclad, Office365, Trello, S3, etc.

<link to L3 Connecting Enterprise Components, based on the following content


Communication Sources (Slack/MS Teams)

Communication sources (Slack/MS Team) tab is where the communication channels for Slack and Teams are configured


People Directories

People directory where Tonkean builds out a dynamic database used to capture the hierarchy and relationship people have with each other.  This enables the ability to use these relationships within processes to create logic that need escalation paths and team notification. The system automatically creates and maintains the dynamic relationships using the connected enterprise data sources.

Training Sets

Training sets is where the rules and key phases are configured for the natural language processing (NLP) capabilities in Tonkean. This information is used in various use cases including document understanding and sorting needs.


Building your first module



Since you know the basics around navigation, let’s get hands-on and build out your first module. In this section we will connect to an email system and then use the inbox to copy the message to another communication tool.  We will be doing the following:

  • Create and Deploy Modules
  • Add a Data and Communication Components
  • Create a basic flow
  • Assign themselves on Live Report
  • Invite another email and set as maker

Configure and connect Enterprise Components

  1. Connect to your Tonkean system and use the waffle menu to enter enterprise components area.



  1. From the Enterprise Component area, select the Add Data Source. This is where you will be able to connect your email system.


  1. Select the Add Data Source and select the Email Inbox option.


  1. Two options will popup, Email Inbox Intake and New Custom Source. We will discuss New Custom Source option later. For what we need, select Email Inbox Intake.


  1. Select Create new connection



  1. Next we need to specify a name for this email inbox.  Let’s use “Intake Inbox” as the name.



  1. You have now successfully created a receiving inbox in your Tonkean system. Make sure you save the inbox email address. It will be needed later.



  1. If you need to obtain the inbox address, it can be found by going to the data source and looking in the following path.

General -> Connections -> Edit



  1. Create an Enterprise Component for Email Inbox and name it “Intake Box”, you’ll have to click +Add Data Source, Email Inbox, and make sure that you specify which Solutions have access by going into the data source and clicking on “Solution Access” and pointing to the Solution, or the folder that has all your future ops modules in your Solution Studio’s page


  1. If you go to Connections within the Intake Box, click on Edit and you’ll see an Inbox address generated. You can go ahead and copy and paste the email generated and send an email to this data source, this can be populated with any text so that you’re able to see the preview in the data later (nothing will happen yet)

Optional - Connect a Communications Source for one of the options, if Slack or MS-Teams is not available, then we will use Email later, this is under the sub tab in Enterprise Components







  1. Add relevant email fields from Fields menu 
    • (Click on the “Fields” button 
    • add Subject (clean), Body, From (email), Recipients)




  1. Add a “Send Notification” action after the Item is Added trigger
  • Click on the + icon after the “Item is Added” (the lightning bolt signals a trigger), Look for Send Notification

Note: Ask a Question is similar to an action block, but it enables you to add buttons for decisions



  1.  Reply back to the Email that came in with the Email Message
  • In Send Notification, select the notification method, and enter your email in the “Email from field” (or use the From (Email) field)
  • If Email, enter anything for subject
  • For rest, for the message body, type in “New Email from: “ then add the From field with the Insert field  sign. Then type in “Message body: “ and add the Message Body field





  1. Create a new Match Condition to route a subject “hello” differently
  • To the left of the “Item is Added” trigger, click the  , and select “Match Condition”, this will create a new conditional trigger
  • On the right side, click on the Add new condition, select the “Subject” field
  • Click on the condition field, select condition “contains” and type in hello)




  1. Click on your original Send Notification, the menu drop down has a “Duplicate”, click this to reuse it



  1. Drag this to the Match Condition below, turn it on with the top right, then change the Email Subject to, “This message said hello”. You’ve now set two different notifications for different conditions!


  1. While you’re here, you can turn on your module by clicking on BUILD -> PRODUCTION, and turn on the module after publishing.


  1. Turn on the module using the slider.


  1. Click on “Mark for Publish”, it will pop up a few test pages, but just click Next and Continue until you get to a “Describe your change”, you can type in “First Draft” for this and click Mark for Publish





  1. Return to the Solutions Studio page, click on “Publish Version”


  1. If there are other modules waiting to be published, mark them as ready or revert them to go back to the last version

Note: The revert operation will remove all changes in the module that were not published!)


  1. Click on Publish and fill out the notes.


Send your first Email and test this module



  1. Make sure to grab your email address
    1. As a reminder, it’s in Enterprise Components -> Intake Box -> Connections -> Edit, and you can Copy it
    2. A good practice is to add it to an alias or a group, so you don’t have to memorize it for future email projects


  1. Send 2 emails to this address, make sure to put “hello” in the subject in one of the emails and not in the other



  1. Click on View Data and check if they popped up


  1. Check your messaging notification source and see if the right notifications came in!

Checking Business Reports


Business reports are a way to monitor each transaction that starts in your module, the “History” is where you can monitor the transaction in each block, and finally the “Runtime” function can monitor transactions across your entire set of workflows


Here we’ll just touch base on Business Reports, where you can pull in fields and check status on items if you want to update them in the flow



  1. Check if emails came to live report


  1. If you’re in build mode, you can add more fields, add Emails - Body, Emails - Subject (Plain), and Emails - From (Email)


  1. You will need to republish and deploy the changes, but your Business Report will now have greater visibility with what’s happening to your workflow. As 

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