Until a decade or so ago, the thought of using WhatsApp in business would have seemed absurd, almost unprofessional. The global messaging service was widely adopted for its ease of keeping in contact with friends and family, but, fast forward a few years, and it has become a frontrunning tool for business leaders to go about their work, alongside more customary applications such as email.

In MaltaCEOs 2021, we asked 50 of the island’s business leaders to share the tool – online or otherwise – they use most in their business.

For just two CEOs, their go-to tool was in fact a physical object. Dr Joanna Delia, CEO and founder of med-aesthetic clinic, People & Skin, shares that her most-used tool in her work is “a syringe”, while for Jesmond Mifsud, CEO of Malta Maritime Pilots, “life jackets” take first place.

For everyone else, however, the tools that get the most wear in the running of their business are online. These are the six online tools that Malta’s CEOs cannot do without in their day-to-day work.

1. Email

Despite the emergence of many alternative services over the years, email remains the top choice for many CEOs, who consider Microsoft Outlook to be an indispensable tool for work. Additionally, Nikhil Patil, CEO at GO Plc, and Matthew von Brockdorff, CEO at Atlas Insurance, consider the complete suite of Microsoft 365 to be essential.

2. Microsoft Teams

The year of Covid-19 will also be remembered for the widespread adoption of video conferencing tools, which proved to be a crucial link for businesses to maintain communication with their staff and clients. Gege Gatt, CEO of AI firm EBO, says he uses Teams primarily for meetings, while David Curmi, former CEO of MAPFRE MSV Life, says following the past year, Teams is “definitely” his most-used tool.

3. WhatsApp

The use of WhatsApp in business has been hailed by a number of CEOs for its speed and efficiency. Kevin Chircop, Executive Chairman at Enemed, says “it has become the fastest way to communicate with people”, and many tend to agree with him. However, Matthew J Mercieca, CEO at architecture firm MJMDA, asserts that he’s fighting the urge to use WhatsApp, “as it dilutes focus.”

4. Smartphone

Equally popular as the use of WhatsApp is the use of a smartphone for accessing all the useful apps that contribute towards the efficiency of running of a business in this day and age. Among the CEOs who cited a smartphone as their single, most-used tool are Jesmond Bugeja, CEO of the Malta Communications Authority, as well as Jeremy Cassar, CEO of Marsovin.

5. Excel

The Microsoft spreadsheet programme emerged as another popular tool among business leaders. Karl Azzopardi, CEO of INDIS Malta, says “I use them as a rough draft for everything”. Sandro Zammit, CEO of Bull Europe Ltd, also sites the programme as his most-used tool, which he developed a flair for in his early years in the family business, and hasn’t stopped using since.

6. Slack

While less popular than the previously mentioned tools, the business communication platform, Slack, proved to be another chat service that some CEOs prefer to use. Gege Gatt uses Slack for internal communication, while the CEO of BRND WGN, Peter-Jan Grech and Gareth Genner, the CEO of Trust Stamp, also prefer this service to maintain contact.

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