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Software maker plans 400 hires, including 250 in Indianapolis

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Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. plans to hire 250 people in Indianapolis and another 150 outside the state by the end of the year as part of an aggressive growth strategy.

Employment will increase to about 1,000 people in Indianapolis and another 800 worldwide. Locally, the jobs will pay an average of $75,000 a year, plus benefits, company officers told IBJ on Monday.

To accommodate the new workers, the company is stretching into 45,000 square feet at its existing headquarters on the northwest side of Indianapolis near Interstate 465.

The software developer and communications service provider needs more people to keep up with its forecasts of more than 20-percent revenue growth this year and beyond, officials said.

“It’s not any triggering event; it’s really just a sign of strong, healthy growth as a company,” said Chief Marketing Officer Joe Staples. “We’re kind of [beneficiaries] of a couple of things that are going on in our industry.”

A company official confirmed Monday morning that the firm would receive public incentives for its plans, but the value of those incentives was not immediately clear.

Interactive Intelligence, founded in 1994, initially focused on setting up call centers for small to midsize companies. These days, it is pulling more business from larger customers.

Contracts signed in 2012 averaged $306,000, and 49 deals were for $1 million or more. Compare that with 2005, when the average contract was $87,000, and the firm had one million-dollar deal, said Chief Financial Officer Steve Head.

The firm also has tapped cloud computing as a major new market.

Cloud data storage and management services accounted for 5 percent of sales in 2009. That grew to 35 percent in 2012 and will likely reach 50 percent in 2013, Head said.

“Just a few years ago, there was virtually no cloud business,” he said.

The expansion results from hefty internal investments in the past year that whittled profit in 2012 to $906,000, from $14.8 million a year earlier.

Interactive Intelligence’s revenue in 2012 increased $27.8 million, or 13 percent, to $237.4 million. But operating costs—research and development, sales and marketing, general and administrative—jumped $34.2 million, or 28 percent, to $156.7 million.

“We started the year saying, ‘Expect earnings to be down in 2012, compared to 2011,’” Head said. “The thesis was that we went into the year expanding cloud orders and increasing investments.”

Interactive Intelligence expects more of the same in 2013 as it looks at its long-term growth.

Head noted the overall value of the contracts signed in 2012 increased 48 percent from 2011. Contracts typically last for a duration of four years, pointing to more revenue increases in the future.

Meanwhile, the company plans to keep growing its presence in cloud services and to siphon market share from competitors such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Avaya Inc.

The firm also spent $4 million last year expanding its data centers in countries such as Germany, Japan and Canada to snag business abroad.

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