When IBM Corp. bought the management and technology consulting business of PricewaterhouseCoopers for $3.5 billion last fall, it gained an important asset that it visibly lacked: strategic business consultants with BlackBerries filled not just with the names of CIOs and IT department heads, but the names of CEOs, CFOs and senior vice presidents of sales as well. These relationships drive the strategic IT consulting business, and with project-based IT on the decline, IBM's leadership decided that "strategic" was the place its service business needed to be.

Combining that operation with its existing consulting group enabled Big Blue to create its new Business Consulting Services unit. BCS, as it's called, is intended to complete IBM's lineup and allow it to become an IT mega-vendor akin to those spawned by the consolidation trend in financial services. Now, there is only one problem left: Do clients actually want one-stop shopping?

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