IAN Brown has a secret he’s bursting to share with everyone.

Excelpoint, the software company he helped establish more than a decade ago, is one of the North-East’s best kept secrets; a global player in a sector that’s been conservatively valued at more than £100bn.

As with all good ideas, Excelpoint’s business proposition is simple.

Why buy and maintain software packages at great expense when Excelpoint’s multi-purpose business software can do it all?

Excelpoint’s software is straightforward, easy to configure, secure, scales effortlessly enterprise-wide and is far more cost-effective than the traditional software packages businesses have been using for the past 20 years.

Mr Brown, whose first job was as a programmer for GEC Telecommunications, knows all about bespoke software.

He worked with it for more than a decade before taking the reins at Excelpoint.

He said: “Business used a mixture of bespoke and off-the-shelf software packages, such as CRM, HR, Customer Service and so on, because that was how they had always done it.

“But for software vendors, that is a growing headache.

"If they have 100 clients, that means they have 100 different products to maintain, and that translates into significant cost for the end-user.

“I had worked at building, designing and selling bespoke products when I heard about the Excelpoint idea.

"Initially, I invested in the company and shortly afterwards I got an offer to come and run it.

"I jumped at the chance and have been here ever since.”

Excelpoint’s solution was to create a software platform so flexible that it has all the benefits of a bespoke system but without any of the drawbacks such as high maintenance and ongoing costs.

Users can create their own systems in real time and deploy them across their workforces.

Excelpoint also integrates with existing platforms and can act as a bridge to join multiple systems or the host to display information from different data sets in one easy-to-understand view.

Users can access this information via a web-based interface, which works in all common browsers.

Excelpoint has been designed to be platform agnostic, so it works across desktop, mobile and tablet operating systems.

In addition, it automatically generates standalone mobile apps for iOS (iPhone), Android and Windows phones allowing workers to use Excelpoint software wherever and whenever they need to.

No wonder Excelpoint is already used by local authorities, emergency services, utilities, health service trusts and defence contractors.

The firm has enjoyed rapid growth since its early days as an ambitious start-up in Bradford and previously moved to Shildon, County Durham.

Mr Brown said: “I was born and bred in the North-East, which is why I moved Excelpoint from West Yorkshire.

"We could have relocated to anywhere in the country, but I wanted to return to the North-East.”

However, having outgrown its original North-East home, the company has just moved again, this time to the Evans Business Centre, in Newton Aycliffe.

At the recent office opening, Mike Matthews, managing director of Eaglescliffe-based car parts maker Nifco UK and past president of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, hailed the company as 'one of our region’s undiscovered gems.'

“I couldn’t have put it better myself,” said Mr Brown.

“At the moment, most of our business is done with clients from outside the area.

"It’s a fact of life that big businesses don’t tend to have their head offices in the North-East.

"That said, we’d love to do more for new clients from our region.”

The move to Newton Aycliffe was calculated to do just that.

“Not only is it one of the biggest business parks in the North-East, I bought into the community spirit the Evans Business Centre was striving to create straight away.", added Mr Brown.

“We want to be part of a thriving community here and plan to take an active role.”

Favourite North-East building and why? The Sage as it is modern and contemporary but set in the heart of a fantastic world city and produces some of the best sound you could wish to hear. Mind you, a close second is Escomb Church for similar reasons.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? My first job was as a programmer for GEC Telecommunications and I think my pay was a little less than £100 per week.

What is the worst job you've had? The worst job was as a group Scout master when I had to clear out a blockage in the toilet system. Believe me, that’s not what I was designed or built for.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? I would cook Nigella Lawson’s mirin glazed salmon dish on a bed of rice. It is elegant and refined, sexy (of course it would be being a Nigella dish), but takes minutes to prepare allowing dinner to fit in with my busy schedule.

What would your superpower be? To never grow up. In fact, my wife would suggest I have achieved this superpower as I stopped ageing at approximately 15. It’s fantastic.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Well I’m tempted to say Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie but I would have to refine this and say Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe and Andrew Muckley.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? Relative to my salary, when I was 18 I bought an Apple //e in 1979 for £1,200 when I was earning £100 per week – three months salary on tech!

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? Although I use Twitter, I prefer to get out in the real world and meet people face-to-face. I advise anyone to do the same. Some of them will inspire you to do more for yourself, and for others, than you ever thought you were capable of. However, my favourite person on Twitter is Gair Maxwell, who is a dynamic branding expert from Canada and who was the first person to make me understand what branding actually is and how powerful it can be.

Favourite book? My favourite books are the “Escape from Colditz” books as they tell a true story of adversity, determination against all odds, retaining dignity, ingenuity and invention, camaraderie and teamwork and embody all that is good and bad in the human race.

When did you last cry? I cry all the time. Most sad movies, most romantic movies, listening to most of the charities we support – I believe this makes me a “modern man”.

What is your greatest achievement? Without doubt landing the woman of my dreams and then together bringing up three boys. Compared to raising children, everything else is easy.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Business is simple: understand what the customer needs and deliver this at a price they want in a timeframe that impresses. It’s that simple – you’ll be successful.

Favourite animal and why? My favourite animal would be a dog, probably an Alsatian, a Dobermann or similar as they are strong, loyal, committed to the end, and although can defend themselves when they need to they rarely do. Sadly, I’m allergic to dogs.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? Robert De Niro.

What was the last band you saw live? The Selfish Murphies played an Irish bar in Poznan and really rocked the house until the early hours of the morning. Their style of Hungarian, Irish and Celtic/English music played in a punk style in their second language of English to a Polish audience was not lost on me.

Describe your perfect night in: My perfect night in would definitely not involve TV but would involve good food, good wine, time to talk and black nylon... it stops there.

In another life I would be... Wealthy enough to enjoy life, compassionate enough to care, in a position to do something of real value.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Paul Newman would play me to perfection.

What irritates you? The main thing that irritates me is people who don’t say what they mean, and don’t do what they say - this amounts to nothing less than lying and I can’t abide liars.

What's your secret talent? Well, most people that know me understand that I am a hardworking, caring, soft-hearted individual. What they don’t realise is that I am a hard case – I keep that secret.