PwC Consulting has strategic partnerships that do not fit in with IBM's strategy, such as its relationships with EDS, BEA and HP. IBM would hope users eventually switch to IBM systems. PwC clients using non-IBM technology or services face the prospect of putting a contract to tender mid-way through a development.
Clients should not expect many delivery changes before the deal closes, but they should discuss contracts and service levels where PwC Consulting is paired with IBM's closest competitors such as EDS or Hewlett-Packard. PwC Consulting has many alliances, and the deal could strain some of them.
Existing clients of IBM BIS and/or PwC Consulting should keep a sharp eye on their consultants to see how the politics of the merger evolve. Project delivery should be monitored carefully, because executive attention will, by necessity, focus on the details of integrating the acquisition.
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IBM has acquired Sterling Commerce from AT&T for $1.4bn, as part of its planned $20bn acquisition spree to bolster in high-growth markets.