CTOs on our Doorstep: Eoin O’Neill, CTO and Global Head of SEO at Tug, concerned by the 'big players stifling innovation'

Information Age is on a journey to meet the different chief technology officers in and around our base in Old Street; what defines their role, what it takes for them to succeed, what challenges do they typically face and more CTOs on our Doorstep: Tug CTO concerned by the ‘big players stifling innovation’ image

In our running series, Information Age speaks to Eoin O’Neill, CTO and Global Head of SEO at Tug, on how media (as well as creative) is enhanced by data insights and driven by technology for better business results.

Tug is a digital performance marketing agency that works across a mix of digital marketing services, to create significant commercial advantage for big brands clients. It has three offices across London, Sydney and Toronto, with the UK base just three minutes from our office.

>See also: How can chief technology officers track the success of IT projects?

In Information Age’s pursuit of understanding the great variety of chief technology officers that work for technology-led companies in and around our area, we have embarked on a mission to find out what type of CTOs are here, what it takes for them to succeed and what challenges they face.

‘Driving technological and SEO excellence’

Based on the previous editions of CTOs on our Doorstep, it is evident that no CTO is the same, and each will fulfil a different role depending on the organisation and the industry. O’Neill does not prescribe to one specific role, like many CTOs, and he describes his function as “hybrid” in nature.

“I’d like to think I’m a bit unusual, but essentially I’m hands on and focused on solving problems – a kind of hybrid of various perspectives and experiences,” said O’Neill.

His focus in on driving technological and SEO excellence, innovative and bespoke tracking and data solutions, as well as building Tug’s own proprietary data sets and technology that can feed unique insights to analysts and clients.

SEO’s evolution

“SEO in itself has evolved a lot over the 12+ years I’ve been involved in it. I would say it started off as a relatively techie focused activity, almost as a subsection of development.”

“It then merged more and more into marketing as the power of solid SEO was increasingly realised by ‘traditional’ marketing teams. I feel that in some ways this moved some SEO operations away from having a core focus of technology and more towards marketing and communications, such as content marketing.”

>See also: What does the new government industrial strategy mean for CTOs?

“However, I feel that things are coming full circle a bit and back to more tech-focused SEO solutions, in particular the tie up between paid marketing channels and organic search.” On top of this, there is a “need to have a more granular understanding of how search engines actually understand our client’s pages, leading to a greater focus on log file analysis and the step by step flow of requests to build a webpage.”

‘The goal posts are often changing’

It’s the same with every industry, if you think you’ve succeeded, or become to comfortable, then that is when you are at your most vulnerable. “Avoiding complacency” is crucial, according to O’Neill. Especially in the above-average pace of the technology industry, having a mindset of ‘how can I constantly improve’ is critical to success.

Perhaps more than that, “being able to balance your understanding of technology and marketing strategy” is important, said O’Neill. “It’s important to stay up to date with the latest platform and tech developments, but also to keep a clear focus on what will actually deliver practical value to our clients or activity.”

“The goal posts are often changing, and problems such as GDPR and multi-regional data operations can lead to some unique challenges.”

>See also: From upskilling to outsourcing: How CTOs can introduce blockchain to the enterprise

Big Tech: Will it detract from innovation?

The ongoing fight between tech providers and platforms will continue, and this might contribute to the feeling that the digital world is moving towards closed networks and away from open source led innovation.

Indeed, O’Neill predicts that the “big players such as Google will continue to try and consolidate their grip on data and create increasingly closed integrations within their ecosystem. This has the potential to stifle innovation and create an unhealthy reliance on one source of truth”.

“On the upside, I do predict that there will always be innovation or even hacking achieved by smaller more agile operators on the periphery, which will lead to a greater understanding of the online to offline, of cross device experience of users for example.”

 

Information Age is on a journey to meet the different chief technology officers who have offices in and around our base in Old Street; what defines their role, what it takes for them to succeed, what challenges do they typically face and more

Latest news

divider
AI & Machine Learning
The CTOs guide to anomaly detection

The CTOs guide to anomaly detection

23 October 2018 / There are few resources as abundant in modern enterprises as data. Every day organisations generate [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
Network and performance monitoring and how anomaly detection is keeping enterprises secure:

Network and performance monitoring and how anomaly detection is keeping enterprises secure:

23 October 2018 / In any industry, any enterprise that does business online needs to ensure that their network [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
How companies in the supply chain are using anomaly detection

How companies in the supply chain are using anomaly detection

23 October 2018 / It is no secret that machine learning is one of the most exciting technologies for [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
Anomaly detection: Machine learning platforms for real-time decision making

Anomaly detection: Machine learning platforms for real-time decision making

23 October 2018 / Ever since the rise of big data enterprises of all sizes have been in a [...]

divider
Tech Giants
Autumn Budget: UK must grow its own tech giants

Autumn Budget: UK must grow its own tech giants

23 October 2018 / Instead of dreaming up ways to tax the internet giants, the UK Government should be [...]

divider
News
AI in customer service, and augmenting humans is the opportunity

AI in customer service, and augmenting humans is the opportunity

23 October 2018 / “The real opportunity for businesses is to blend AI with human effort,” says Mark Turner, [...]

divider
Business & Strategy
CTOs on our doorstep: Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Mr & Mrs Smith Tamara Lohan

CTOs on our doorstep: Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Mr & Mrs Smith Tamara Lohan

23 October 2018 / As part of our CTOs on our doorstep series, Information Age spoke with Tamara Lohan, [...]

divider
News
Chatbots and human customer services; does artificial intelligence replace or complement humans?

Chatbots and human customer services; does artificial intelligence replace or complement humans?

23 October 2018 / Whenever the topic of  chatbots, of AI in human customer services arises, a point of [...]

divider
Business Skills
Harnessing customer data to drive commercial success: It’s a challenge

Harnessing customer data to drive commercial success: It’s a challenge

23 October 2018 / Disparate technology platforms are the main challenge for organisations trying to harness customer data. This [...]

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Pin It on Pinterest