Under the deal, the companies will promote each other as the preferred partner for customers that want to install customer relationship management software. The deal puts competitive pressure on IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which are seeking to expand their own services revenue.
CRM software from Siebel Systems and others helps a phone company keep track of which customers have call waiting, or a service shop determine when it should send a flier to a customer whose car might need an oil change, for example. The software is complex to install and often runs on expensive servers, a Sun specialty.
Sun will promote PwC Consulting as a favored partner for CRM in its new Global Solutions Alliance. PwC will preferentially recommend Sun servers. The relationship will define who approaches which customers and will be governed by a joint steering committee.
Sun prefers alliances with services companies, often criticizing IBM's preference for handling the work itself through its Global Services division. In July, Sun signed a broad "continuum of services" deal with consulting firm EDS under which the companies would create combinations of hardware and software that work well together.
The EDS deal was expected to bring in $3 billion in revenue over five years, the companies said.