Jobs To Be Done Research

Learn how Purple Shirt used the Jobs To Be Done methodology to develop Onwardly's disruption strategy.


Onwardly is a provider of cyber security management tools that had progressed rapidly since its launch in 2020. The core product features and benefits were in place but there were now some important strategic decisions to be made on where and how to evolve the Onwardly value proposition. With many of the current features and benefits having been developed on the back of some initial early research, the CEO and Founder was keen to update the Onwardly growth strategy whilst also updating his understanding of the target market and the opportunities for Onwardly to create value for its customers.


To uncover value creation opportunities for Onwardly so that it could prioritise its product development efforts and ensure that any improvements were actually going to drive customer choice and revenue growth. It was also important to understand the current strategic context of Onwardly and ensure that it was adopting a strategy that would set it on a rapid growth trajectory.


Leveraging Jobs To Be Done methodology to uncover the causal drivers of choice and the opportunities to create new value.

Step 1: Interview focus

To help focus the research, we had to make some choices around which customers to target, ensuring we were talking to customers who'd made a recent choice and that the choice outcomes were diverse with some customers choosing Onwardly and some choosing an alternative.

Step 2: Deep exploratory research

As in the previous case, we conducted deep exploratory interviews with two different customer cohorts. Each interview lasted at least an hour and allowed us to uncover what choices customers were making for each journey but, most importantly, why they were making these choices - what Jobs they were trying to get done that were driving their choice of cyber security provider. We also uncovered the frustrations that customers were having in getting these Jobs done with the currently available solutions.

Step 3: Insights and synthesis

We aggregated all the insights to determine the Jobs that were driving customers choices and behaviours and the opportunities that existed to help customers make more progress with getting these Jobs done.


A strategic framework for growing the business whilst improving the value of the core proposition on dimensions that would drive customer choice.

Customer outcomes

The research identified three stages of cyber security that organisations go through and the 14 Jobs To Be Done (causal drivers) that emerge as they progress up the maturity curve. These Jobs explained all the choices and behaviours being exhibited by Onwardly's prospects and customers when deciding which cyber security provider to choose.

The research also identified many opportunities for improving the performance of the Onwardly value proposition with a key recommendation that Onwardly should focus on the early stage Jobs of less mature organisations who were currently being over served by the large, established cyber security providers.

Business outcomes

In addition to the Jobs insights, we developed some strong recommendations on how Onwardly could disrupt the cyber security software market as a new entrant with a low-cost business model. This leveraged best practice disruption theory and leveraged the Jobs research by identifying the key measures of customer performance that Onwardly needed to focus on as a low-end disruptor. 

In the words of


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