When iMovo was first founded more than 13 years ago, Managing Director Pierre Mallia set out to address a very specific gap in the market. Although companies possessed data about their customers, this rarely featured in their business planning or customer interactions. 

“Virtually nobody really understood what was going on with their customers at the time, at least not in any scientific manner. You can only really do that when you look at the data in multiple ways,” Pierre starts off.

And that is exactly what iMovo started to do. Having spent seven years working with Microsoft prior to that - which Pierre describes as doing a crash MBA programme – this gave him the necessary knowledge and experience needed to build a successful and sustainable business. Two key elements of this is applying rigorous discipline in both business development and financial management.

“Well ahead of starting the company I put in a lot of time and thinking into building a business plan, which as mundane as it may sound, does not feature in every company or start-up till this very day,” he adds. “The other factors behind our success were a volatile mix of luck,  self belief, being in the right place at the right time and getting great people on board – some of whom are still with us today.” 

The plan included a solid strategy for internationalisation from the get-go, with iMovo securing work in London and New York virtually in the first 12 months of its operations – despite the team being around four people.

“We were not afraid to venture elsewhere, and our curiosity took us to the Middle East – to Lebanon, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, as well as Libya. We were exploring AI as a possible part of our portfolio as early as 2014. Sometimes things worked, at other times we were too early in the market. But the main thing is that we always learnt from all this, which allowed us to move in a very agile manner,” Pierre explains. 

Enter BizBox which, while not strictly the company’s first product, is certainly  one that’s currently generating a lot of interest. BizBox is the successor to iMovo’s previous product, Socionomix, a social media monitoring platform which received a good review in a well-known US tech website. The company had also previously built a product which integrated two solutions from international product companies in the space of workforce management and customer service.

“All those tough lessons fed into the process and thinking around BizBox. Our inspiration came from our conversations with the leaders of many organisations who were experiencing major challenges around the pandemic period. Recruiting new people, never mind excellent people, was difficult and many ended up with their resources bogged down doing a lot of manual admin work such as approvals, handling things like invoices for payment, employee expense claims and the like,” Pierre says.

The concept behind BizBox, or Business In A Box, was a simple one. Imagine if you could capture all these low valued added activities which are pretty much common across businesses and automate them to an extent that it creates net savings for the company and frees up your people to do more productive work. This is exactly what the BizBox brand aims to deliver. Pierre gives me a few concrete examples. 


“Most firms no longer send their invoices by post, but prefer to use email. Consider what happens at this point, at the other end. Someone opens that email, figures out who to send the invoice to for approval and then finally, someone must read that invoice and type the data into their creditor’s ledger.” 

If you’re a medium sized company with a range of suppliers, the above gets multiplied by a few times for each invoice which comes in. The total time eaten up by this process, which brings no added value to the business, is substantial. We’ve heard cases of accounts departments with 2 of their people spending up to 70% of their time processing incoming invoices. Imagine if you could free up 70% of that.

“With BizBox, the emails come in, the tool picks them up, reads the invoice and extracts the data – all in the background. At the end of day, you can open up BizBox, assign each invoice to whoever needs to approve them and go home. The recipient approves (or doesn’t), you press a button and export all approved invoices to a file or directly to your accounting system. The time saved is tremendous, and that’s why we estimate it can reduce cost by 80 per cent,” Pierre explains. 

The tool works just as efficiently on the employee expenses side of things. It’s a reality that expense submission, approval and settling all remain a substantial nuisance for accounts teams and managers to this very day. Companies that offer employee perks like entertainment, fuel and mobile expenses or travel allowances will find that the expenses process will chew up a few working days every month.

“BizBox Employee Expense is designed to make this a paperless process from the get-go and to make the approval process easy, because claims pop up in email and can be approved directly from within the email. For employees, gone are the days of photocopying receipts and so forth, stapling them to a claim form. They can simply submit claims from wherever they are through the companion mobile app,” Pierre tells me.

Beyond cost reduction, BizBox also provides added value to supplier relationships through more expeditious payment processes,  efficiency, and overall growth, with iMovo’s vision being to offer a virtual digital workforce in a box. 

“This will entail us looking at developing BizBox solutions which will be able to take on increasingly complex tasks. Some of these tasks will impact supplier relationships – for instance we are working with a customer on procurement automation which will facilitate the issue of RFPs and expedite the overall procurement process, thus helping relationships and increasing efficiency,” Pierre says. 

And in a world where ESG practices are taking an increasingly important role, BizBox solutions are built keeping sustainability in mind as the streamlining of these processes result in a hefty reduction of the carbon footprint of businesses using the solution. 

“We have our eye squarely on the ESG set of principles – not just from a sustainability point of view, but also from a governance perspective, as the process automation has full auditability in mind. Feedback from our initial adopters has been positive, and our next challenge now is to design what our product update lifecycle is going to be and how to decide what we build in and what we don’t,” Pierre says.

One huge advantage to BizBox is that it’s based on Microsoft Office 365, which means that it has inherited the scalability and integration capabilities of this underlying platform. The tool is 100 per cent flexible and configurable, allowing customers to choose their own preferred processes.

“The way a small company handles invoices is very different from the way a supermarket does – the disparity in volume is enough to explain this. What we have done is build a core engine and a layer around this, to allow us to adapt the product to different customer needs,” Pierre says.

So, what’s next for iMovo after BizBox? This, Pierre tells me with a smile, is very much still under wraps.

“There are a few candidate ideas and some prototypes we are tinkering with, but come back to us in a few  months and maybe we can share a bit more with you,” he concludes.

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Written By

Ramona Depares

Ramona is an award-winning journalist and an author whose works have been published on both local and international fora. She is also the founder of a cultural blog - www.ramonadepares.com - dedicated to theatre, fashion, books and events in Malta. Ramona is fuelled by good coffee, music, the occasional glass of wine, and people-watching.