New York-Accenture and Hewlett-Packard Co. have formed an alliance to jointly provide technology consulting services. The companies will advise outsourcing clients on software implementation and e-business projects. The deal underscores HP's increasing focus on the lucrative consulting arena, an initiative that CEO Carly Fiorina has made a high priority to offset the company's slumping hardware sales. Last November, HP's planned $18 billion acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. fell through, mostly due to Wall Street's concerns that HP could not digest PWC's 31,000 consultants. Accenture, which is currently running a $175 million branding campaign, recently announced that it plans an initial public offering.