With backgrounds in IT and software development, Mark Abela Schinas and Anton Pisani’s paths crossed back in 2007, when Mark joined the company where Anton was working as an intern. Then, upon graduating, Mark was only offered 32 hours weekly due to the financial crisis – so, together with Anton, decided to take matters into his own hands.

Anton’s original role at the company was handling IT, both locally and for their international sites, but due to the situation, his hours had also suffered, and he was switched to reduced hours. “I had clients reaching out for freelance work,” he says, explaining how it kept growing, until eventually, he and Mark decided to make it official.

“Anton and I, both young and with time on our hands, decided to take a leap. We’d continue doing what we loved, but also build our own client base. That’s where MAP IT began, and our original employer is still a client 15 years on,” Mark smiles, looking back on those early days. “It’s been a privilege to have our past employer’s support from the start,” Anton adds.

Mark Abela Schinas

Since then, MAP IT has grown significantly, bringing together a dynamic, talented and inspired team of IT professionals.

Tracing their milestones and achievements, Mark highlights becoming an SAP partner a couple of years ago as a major achievement. “We’d been implementing this market-leading software and technology for over a decade, but this solidified our position as sellers and implementers of SAP products worldwide,” he explains, pointing out another highlight when the team had the opportunity to develop a product for a gaming company, and attended an international conference to demo it with them.

Anton also looks back on their first hire as a fond milestone for MAP IT. “The first hire, within only three months of starting, felt like a significant leap. We’ve been built on self-investment, so each new team member was a point of pride. It’s been about steady growth, ensuring quality service for each client before moving to the next,” he smiles.

Speaking about MAP IT’s mission at the outset, Mark says that the goal was to provide custom software development, as well as to maintain existing software. “Over time, we added selling software products as a complement. Custom software can be unpredictable – one big project, then a gap – so packaged software from established brands provides balance,” he explains.

Anton Pisani

As for what is keeping them busy now, Mark reveals, it’s mostly SAP implementations. “The big plan this year is to finish developing a software package that complements SAP’s offerings and take it to market. Internationalisation is also a goal, and something we haven’t done much of thus far,” the director reveals.

Shifting focus to their leadership styles, Mark says that as a leader, communication is crucial – with clients and especially employees. “You have to understand client needs to fulfill them, and with your team, it’s about constant feedback. You can’t know it all, so I try to provide my team the best work environment. My role then becomes more about resource allocation, obstacle removal, and having that longer-term strategic vision,” he shares.

Adding to this, Anton, is a big believer in owning up to mistakes. “Things happen, but if you admit it and focus on fixing it rather than playing the blame game, you build trust with everyone – clients, suppliers, and your team. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with people, not just tech.”

It’s also about identifying different people’s needs, and what makes them tick. “You can’t treat everyone the same. Understanding what motivates individuals, finding those subtle differences – that’s something I didn’t anticipate,” Mark says, sharing a valuable lesson he’s learned along his leadership journey.

Looking ahead at the opportunities and challenges facing MAP IT moving forward, the directors reveal that the focus now is rolling out the new products they’ve been developing, which will help in their mission to go international. “Balancing that with existing client demands is a challenge, as is finding skilled people,” Mark adds, noting that demand seems to be outstripping supply in their industry at present. Nodding in agreement, Anton affirms, “resource growth is a key challenge. We’ve even turned down projects due to not having capacity yet. But we remain committed to continuous growth and expanding our products to reach wider markets moving into the future.”

This interview forms part of the Digital 50 Business Leaders project. These high-profile interviews are exclusively featured online at MaltaCEOs.mt, highlighting 50 distinguished conversations with business leaders, CEOs, and emerging entrepreneurial talents. Through these discussions, we aim to showcase the remarkable journeys, achievements, and successes of Malta’s business leaders.

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