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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.

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