The Head of Technology and Innovation at Black Rainbow Carl Barron outlines the importance of
providing cutting-edge solutions that meet current and future policing challenges. Here we talk to Carl
about his role in the company.
Innovation is the lifeblood of technology company Black Rainbow, and it prides itself on being agile
and open to change and to championing latest ideas and solutions.
At the forefront of implementing NIMBUS is Carl Barron who has worked for Black Rainbow since its
inception in 2017. A self-confessed ‘techy’, Carl has a real passion and dedication for always striving
to provide the most cutting-edge solutions and never standing still or basking in any current success.
However, he explains that successful innovation is not only about chasing the next ‘big idea’ but
should also be about providing agile solutions that reflect the needs and individual requirements of
customers and their respective organisations.
‘It’s important to manage the temptation not to keep chasing the next big idea but to also focus on what’s best for the industry, the company and more importantly what’s best for the customer,’ he explains.
‘There are some organisations whose focus is on constantly chasing the next big thing without really knowing why they are doing so and as a result they lose focus and direction. At Black Rainbow, we are clear that innovation is about providing our customers with the latest solutions that can help them address the demands and challenges of their individual organisations.’
Carl spent his teenage years building computers and software before going on to complete a degree in computer forensics. He then worked at technology company Nuix before joining Black Rainbow five years ago and is relishing this challenging and rewarding role.
His work involves many aspects including managing the engineering team, overseeing major projects as well as managing the roadmap for the NIMBUS solutions for frontend customers to the core users of the system. He also overseas customer feedback that helps drive any changes or additions to the current solutions.
Customer feedback and the relationship with the customer is at the heart of the Black Rainbow approach. However, Carl describes it as a ‘two way’ street and that it’s important for the company to challenge ideas and perceptions that organisations might have that could be hampering productivity.
‘We enjoy a really constructive relationship with our customers, and we rely on their feedback to ensure our solutions meet their business requirements. However, it’s important that we have the confidence and integrity to challenge and ask questions. One of my big things is never accept the phrase ‘we’ve always done it like that’ and to challenge the customer and ask them ‘why have you always done it like that?’.
Carl admits that to challenge and ask questions, you have to be confident that you can deliver a good product and good solution.
‘I am really lucky we have a fantastic engineering and development team, and I am always confident that the team can deliver any changes that might be required. It all comes down to reputation to and your ability to deliver. If you say you are going to deliver something, then you must deliver it. I also feel strongly that you should never pretend to know something you don’t. I often turn it around and ask the customer if I don’t know the answer. It’s all about integrity and honest communication.’
Carl’s approach to successful innovation includes looking at other industries and markets and understanding what works in those market.
‘Taking technologies from other industries is where the true innovation lies. A lot of people will look at what’s currently in their own market and try and improve on what already exists in that particular market, but it really narrows your scope to being innovative,’ says Carl.
“An example would be to look at Amazon and how they manage things such as Inventory and Assets. This type of innovation can then be used to help drive ideas and concepts for our solutions.” Carl is particularly proud of the innovative NIMBUS case and quality management system that is used across the world in industries including law enforcement, government and large corporates such as financial services, pharmaceuticals & law firms just to name a few.
‘The efficiencies that can be gained from using NIMBUS is really inspiring. I love going to see our customers and witnessing the transformations that have been achieved. One of these aspects is reporting and how people get information. Often organisations have systems that hold a lot of information, but they can’t use the data. For me, it’s really satisfying once an organisation realises the benefits NIMBUS can provide in helping provide key data that can drive efficiencies in performance.’
NIMBUS includes an immensely powerful dashboard and management information functionality, allowing our customers to design and create their own dashboards and custom widgets. An example we have seen recently is a customer who created a custom widget to demonstration the most common day and time for submissions. It turned out that it was a Wednesday afternoon, and this helped with the allocation of staffing in the submission management department.
Looking forward to the coming year, Carl reveals that innovation continues apace. There are plans to develop NIMBUS further, particularly in the investigation arena as well as plans to further enhance the NIMBUS frontend portal. This is a dynamic interface that enables users such as frontline investigators to have ongoing interaction with forensic services throughout the duration of an investigation to help manage both digital and traditional forensic evidence.
‘We have a lot of new developments planned for 2022. We will continue to put the customer firmly at the heart of this innovation; they will always to be our focus.’
Det Ch Supt Martin Brunning