IMovo, the customer relationship management and business intelligence company, has won key clients in nine sectors in its first year of operation and is geared to build its portfolio steadily, managing director Pierre Mallia told The Times Business.

A start-up’s first year is a fantastic discovery process

Set up just over a year ago by Mr Mallia with partners Geoffrey Debono, managing director of Toyota agent Michael Debono Ltd, and lawyers Tonio Fenech and Christian Farrugia, the company boasts a team of experienced professionals with backgrounds in organisations like Microsoft and KPMG. It is now seeking to recruit additional team members.

With an offering designed to help clients leverage their most valuable resource – their existing client base – iMovo, backed by its team’s diversified knowledge, seeks to design cost-effective solutions and projects which generate rapid return on investment.

“We do not consider ourselves an IT company,” Mr Mallia explained. “We are really a professional services outfit. The fact that we use technology is a consequence of what we do. Our mission is to help organisations change the way they work. Our departing premise is that it is easier – and less costly – to do business with existing clients first than acquire new ones. This is the age of insight. Rather than act on gut feeling, firms can make decisions based on the right information.”

Thanks to strategic partnerships with QlikTech, Microsoft, and Zoho, iMovo marries its own intellectual property with off-the-shelf products to deliver tailormade solutions. With up to a dozen Microsoft certifications between the team, iMovo is arguably the largest CRM practice in Malta.

Mr Mallia said typical projects revolve around a client’s specific problem or issue like identifying the cause of revenue leakage or ways to increase customer value. In a project commissioned by Michael Debono Ltd, iMovo was tasked with examining the operation’s customer relationship process. By working within an already implemented brand-mandated policy, iMovo designed a solution that would further enhance relations with customers from their first visit, through vehicle purchase and servicing.

Mr Mallia added iMovo had also caught the attention of the igaming operator community thanks to its particular customer engagement methods.

“The igaming sector is very active and vibrant in terms of business intelligence – data processing involves millions of records,” he stressed. “Operations are becoming increasing complex as regulations differ by region. Companies want to go beyond the raw numbers to be able to identify patterns to aid their business planning and increase their long-term profitability. We present data to them in a format that helps them do just that. We have also been tasked with CRM support for firms in telecoms, financial services and even the IT sector.”

Hadrian Sammut, iMovo’s solutions advisor, pointed out businesses were often not very good at telling their customers exactly what it was they did. By leveraging information on the products they were selling to specific customers, businesses were able to act to enhance relations with existing clients and win new ones.

“No two projects are the same, even for firms operating in the same sector,” Mr Sammut added. “In iMovo’s ‘know your customer’ type of engagements, culture and approach is different. Interestingly, most of our initial conversations are with CFOs and business owners. IT typically buys into the process later.

“IMovo’s first year has been hard work, particularly as most of our customers know the members of this team to wear different hats and we invested time and energy into marketing our new guises. A start-up’s first year is a fantastic discovery process. Everything is new, but a small firm is more agile and pragmatic, and it has been an enjoyable challenge.”

The key to iMovo’s success so far has been its policy to practise what it preaches about customer engagement. The firm’s healthy online activity, particularly in social media, has attracted considerable traffic and put business its way.

IMovo believes its own customer relationship management is its best calling card. The difficult economic climate, Mr Mallia pointed out, presents a powerful opportunity to help firms identify ways to improve their performance. Business intelligence and customer relationship management solutions can empower marketing and sales teams. By drilling down data, firms can identify customer trends and behaviour or issues they were previously unaware of.

Specialisation is another important differentiator. Mr Mallia said the industry iMovo operated in was increasingly about knowledge and intellectual property and less about services. Focus on a core capability was key to carving a track record leading to a solid reputation that encouraged word of mouth recommendation.

In its second year in business, iMovo intends to venture into more Cloud-based projects to satisfy demand for easier accessibility to business data. In the medium-term, Mr Mallia said iMovo will not only be Malta-based and will begin to make real inroads internationally.

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