Transparency and trust key to transformation success

Janet Onyia

Director of Transformation and Change

23 October 2023

Janet Onyia arrived at Opencast in August as director of transformation and change. Here she reflects on her work and progress so far – and explains how the right approach and processes can help other scaling organisations to take advantage of the opportunities offered by change.

I joined Opencast this summer in the newly established role of director of transformation and change with a huge sense of excitement about joining a forward-thinking business that’s looking to scale to the next level of its growth.

At the heart of my role at is a mission to lead change management and oversee transformational activities within the business. This is to ensure we have the right fundamentals and foundations in place for further expansion, after doubling in size and revenue in the past two years.

Getting these foundations in place will not only allow us to operate from a place of strategic proactivity, but it’ll set us up to react to the market and enable us to implement technologies more quickly. It also means we’ll be better prepared for the next step in our journey to greater heights.

To propel our growth and evolution, it’s key to ensure that the company-wide transformation we embark on is well organised, properly managed, and is governed and reported on effectively. As organisations grow, there’s a need to evolve the way they work, including changing the policies that govern the way they work.

In my first three months with the business, I’ve followed a clear process for addressing and understanding the challenges and opportunities that come about with change. I’m now able to reflect on progress so far – and think about how other scaling organisations could learn from the approach we’re adopting here.

During this important first three months, we’ve embarked upon a deep discovery period – with a sharp focus on the key elements of people, process and tech. We’re now using the findings of our discovery phase to supercharge the next phase of our transformation, and ultimately drive further growth for the business. Below are some key considerations.

Colour photo of woman looking at camera smiling
Janet Onyia – transformation and change

Discovery – take time to do it well

A huge focus of any change process is understanding its potential impact on people and the clients we serve. That’s why we embarked upon ‘360’ sessions, allowing every member of the Opencast executive team, peers across various functions and many others in the company, to share their individual perspectives and feedback.

The discovery phase offers an important opportunity to look back and acknowledge what has come before, in order to build a strong foundation to move forward. This hasn’t simply been about my personal onboarding, but it has helped me to gather a comprehensive view of what’s been done so far and more importantly, why.

It’s also been about identifying the key stakeholders, starting the process of building trust and capturing lessons learned. That means understanding what projects we have, what we may no longer need and what we're not currently doing but need to.

Reflection point 1: as a new arrival to a business, it’s important to go into every conversation respectfully acknowledging that everyone on the existing team has more knowledge, context and information. This is key to driving rich and transparent discussions that feed into your discovery findings.

Reflection point  2: Take time now to prevent and minimise delay in the future. Being delivery-focussed, it can be tempting to take the default position and start doing - but it’s unwise to run before you can walk even if it feels like you need to.

Drone shot of Opencast company.
Opencast's team has grown fast

Design and build well

It has been important to share the findings from the discovery period with key stakeholders – in the case of Opencast, not just the company’s executive sponsors but people across the whole business through a company-wide session.

A company-wide session serves several key purposes:

  • It reaches as wide an audience as possible, as early as possible
  • It brings clarity around what the role of transformation and change director entails, and what it could mean for colleagues and the business
  • It starts to address the inevitable fear and concern people have about change
  • It starts demonstrating the transparency that is core to our approach to change
  • It offers the opportunity to transition from the current state to the future state, eg decommissioning certain initiatives and communicating that effectively.

Reflection point 3: this shouldn’t be news, but transparency is always the best approach.  Even if you don’t have all the answers straight away, clear communication will make the change adoption journey easier for everyone. 

Next steps

Armed with invaluable findings from the discovery phase and having started to engage with stakeholders, the planned next step at Opencast is to move on to:

  • designing and documenting our transformation and change strategy
  • building a transformation roadmap
  • (re)defining and establishing change management processes.

All of this is designed to ensure that Opencast is creating the right environment for successful transformation – and for our people to thrive. There’s no doubt in my mind that a fully developed and well-implemented change management strategy, alongside an integrated transformation structure delivered by a strong team, can take us in the direction we want to go. As we move forward, I am happy to share more about how our transformation process can help others to succeed.

Big thanks to all of my Opencast colleagues for helping me to settle in, giving me the space I need to understand our business landscape, and for their transparency during this early and important discovery period.

Colour photo of woman looking at camera
"Change process must consider impact on people and clients"

Even if you don’t have all the answers straight away, clear communication will make the change adoption journey easier for everyone


Janet Onyia

Director of Transformation and Change