Unit 203 Maling Exchange Hoults Yard Walker Road Newcastle‑upon‑Tyne NE6 2HL

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We really have "been there" and "done that"

Founder Mike O'Brien

Mike’s background is with Capgemini (VP Capital Markets) & Strategic Systems Solutions (Chief Sales / Marketing Officer). At Capgemini he was responsible for Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Nomura relationships globally. SSS built and supported front, middle and back office trading and settlement systems for Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Citi, Nomura and Lehman Brothers. As part of the Exec Board, he built SSS (specialist Capital Markets SI) from 10 to 800 staff with offices in UK, US and Asia. The SSS business was sold to Capgemini in 2010 for £37m.

Founder Charlie Hoult

Charlie’s background is the marketing and strategy for building high growth innovation businesses. He was Founder / CEO of Loewy Group - £50m, 4 to 400 staff. He is CEO of Hoults Yard, Chair-Angel of Futureheads, the UK’s leading recruiter in digital / UX, and Founder of Incisive Research. Charlie is Chair of Dynamo North East, co-founded with Mike, the regions’s tech network, responsible for £100m of initiatives. He was recently runner-up in the May19 election for mayor of North of Tyne, the Newcastle city region.

Chief Technology Officer Fiona Hobbs

Fiona is responsible for what we deliver and how we deliver it. With over 15 years’ experience in cutting edge technology projects, Fiona is an advocate of XP and Scrum practices and speaks at meet-ups. She is a key driving force behind Build IT Right, the North East’s first development conference.

Digital and Technology Services Director Jason Kay

Jason brings over 25 years’ experience in the tech and digital industry. Holding senior and executive roles, he has led large scale transformation and delivery for both public and private sector organisations, including creating HMRC’s flagship digital centre in Newcastle. Jason is passionate about building creative, innovative and high performing collaborative teams, whilst delivering fantastic products and services to our clients.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Lawson

Tom has 16 years’ experience shaping, leading and consulting on significant business and technology change programmes for Capgemini and BT Global Services. These included a complex £40m+, 100+ person, programme of operational and digital transformation at HMRC and the delivery of a £40m+ enterprise transformation at a Scottish Government Executive Agency.

Client Experience Director Sam Manson

Sam is responsible for overseeing our client engagements. She has a passion for working with clients and consultants to ensure work is delivered to exemplary client experience standards. With 25 years’ experience from marketing and advertising to digital and software consultancy, Sam has helped enterprise clients such as HMRC, DWP, NHS, DfE, Royal & SunAlliance and British Airways.

Financial Controller Denise Power

A qualified Chartered, Certified Accountant, ‘Dee’ has over 20 years’ experience in Financial Accounting and more recently in HR. Dee’s experience spans 11 years in technology alongside 9 years in manufacturing industry ensuring the smooth running of finances and interfacing with enterprise clients such as Morgan Stanley, Barclays, HMRC, CSC, Sage, Blackberry & Nando’s.

Head of User Centred Design Miriam Boyles

Miriam has a background in leadership and design research and has delivered User Centred and Service Design projects for HMRC, DWP, NHSBSA, College of Policing, the Metropolitan Police, Newcastle University and Retain International, among others. She began her career as a health policy researcher in the NHS, after completing a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Head of Engineering Adam Coles

As a developer and technical lead for over 19 years in both public and private sectors, Adam has a passion for driving improvements in the quality and robustness of software platforms, frameworks and practices. With emphasis on the automation of testing and software deployment, Adam works to ensure Opencast and our clients are ready for the future with proven, advanced tools and techniques in an increasingly software-critical world.

Head of Software Development David Sarginson

David has over 16 years’ experience working in the public and private sectors as both a consultant and a lead developer in product teams. He ensures we follow the ever-evolving industry best practice throughout the Software Delivery Lifecycle. As a STEM Ambassador, trustee of the charity Tech for Kids and tech meetup organiser David hopes to inspire the next generation of scientists and technologists.

Client Relationship Director Ben Mincher

Ben is responsible for overseeing our Central Government and Health & Social Care client relationships. With over 20 years’ experience in Canada and the UK as a Project Manager and Scrum Master, Ben has successfully delivered IT projects for and helped public sector clients such as the British Columbia Ministry of Health, British Columbia Ministry of Justice, Health Canada, HMRC, DWP, and NHS.

Client Relationship Director Andrew Howard

Andrew has over 20 years’ experience in IT; from Java development to Middleware and SRE, Performance Monitoring and Project Management. He has worked in both Financial Services & Public Sector on business-critical systems, including high volume low latency trading systems. Andrew is responsible for Client Relationship Management, using his IT experience to work closely with clients and our consultants to build strong lasting relationships.

Our senior team have all worked for large global organisations and major IT firms, and have considerable experience of the technology drivers of blue chip clients

What drives us

The senior team at Opencast all share a common view of the marketplace. Many joined from senior roles in larger organisations. Many had begun their careers in technical roles, enjoying the buzz of problem solving for clients.

We know clients have budgets, and we know that budgets are finite. We also know that improvements which take forever to arrive add no value, so we are highly delivery-focused.

A focus on outcomes

Our pragmatism, our independence of mind and our emphasis on collaboration may well be some of the reasons that clients enjoy working with us.

But ultimately, we are hired to do a job. Clients commission us to deliver on time, on budget and with software that is resilient and fit for purpose.

Our reputation for reliable delivery and our focus on quality results is what has driven our growth and our success to date.

Impartial advice

We have no commercial links with vendors. This means that we are as happy to work with an off-the-shelf product (tailoring it to a client’s specific needs), as we are to write code from scratch.

We can work as part of a client team, or create a project team at one of our own offices. We can fix what is broken or build from scratch. We can deliver a key component or rewrite an entire system.

Our approach

In some software engineering environments, sticking to the methodology has become more important than delivering performance.

We are results-focused, not methodology-focused. We work in an Agile way. We like this approach as it reduces up-front scoping activity and hence saves clients time and money. We like to involve clients in regular meetings to ensure that progress is clear and that any changes can be made rapidly.

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Unit 203 Maling Exchange Hoults Yard Walker Road Newcastle‑upon‑Tyne NE6 2HL


+44 0191 276 5656
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