By Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - Interactive Intelligence Group Inc, a U.S. provider of software and services for call center operators, is exploring strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

A sale of Interactive Intelligence would be the latest sign of the consolidation sweeping the telecommunications software and equipment industry, as rapid technological change and fierce competition force companies to seek more scale.

Interactive Intelligence is working with boutique investment bank Union Square Advisors LLC on a sale process that has attracted other telecommunications software companies, as well as private equity firms, the people said this week.

The sources cautioned that no deal is certain and asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Union Interactive Intelligence declined to comment, while Union Square Advisors did not respond to requests for comment.

Shares of Interactive Intelligence rose 19 percent to $52.96 after Reuters reported on the sale process, giving the company a market capitalization of almost $1.2 billion.

Based in Indianapolis, Interactive Intelligence helps call center operators develop applications that help them analyze data and improve customer service calls. Some of its competitors include Aspect Software Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Five9 Inc.

Interactive Intelligence had a net loss of $13.2 million in the first quarter of 2016, compared with a loss of $3.46 million a year earlier. The company has said that it has posted operating losses in recent quarters while it shifts its business model to the cloud.

In May, Israel's NICE said it would buy inContact Inc for $940 million. Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC invested earlier this month in contact center company Genesys in a deal that valued the company at $3.8 billion.

Not all companies in this fast-changing sector have been successful, however. Private equity-backed Avaya Inc, which owns a sizable contact center business, has also hired advisers to explore a sale or restructuring in order to deal with its debt burden, Reuters has reported.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Phil Berlowitz)