Two of the world's technology giants, IBM and British Telecommunications, announced big deals on Aug. 18 in the hot field of "outsourcing"--running the voice and data networks for companies that would rather focus their efforts on building cars or baking cookies. In a deal estimated at $10 million over three years, British Telecom signed up BP Chemicals as a client. IBM, meanwhile, allied with Sears Roebuck to form Advantis, a joint venture to sell outsourcing services.

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