Successful with blockchain

April 18, 2019

Understanding the technology and the business

Blockchain technology is transforming the business world in an unprecedented manner. In order to be able to identify how to use this technology to the benefit of one’s company, one needs to develop an understanding of it from both a technological and - in particular - a business point of view. The WU Executive Academy's four-day continuing education program Blockchain Transforming Business is designed to bring blockchain technology and business together. According to its academic director, Claudio Di Ciccio, the program will focus, in particular, on practical applications and on Vienna as a blockchain hotspot.

Pic of a blockchain
It is important to understand the blockchain technology from the technological and the economic side.

Recently, blockchain technology has attracted less attention, which can certainly be interpreted as a good sign. After all, the hype surrounding the bitcoin cryptocurrency and its skyrocketing price has been inimical to the technology's development, given that many investors were interested only in earning fast money. However, bitcoin is just one application of blockchain technology, which offers many industries and businesses a host of opportunities. But which of these are worth pursuing, economically speaking? What should businesses pay attention to? And what opportunities for cooperation are proving beneficial?

Technology and business as the basis for success

One cannot grasp blockchain technology and its economically viable applications unless one has a comprehensive understanding of the technological side of things and the business side of things. Hence, the WU Executive Academy has developed a new four-day program designed to deal with the topic from precisely these two perspectives.

Claudio Di Ciccio, assistant professor at WU Vienna's Institute for Information Business, is the academic director of Blockchain Transforming Business, which will be launched in May 2019: “The program will explore the fundamental question of when and under what circumstances it makes sense to use blockchain technology in practice.”

Other programs, he says, focus on either the technological or the business aspects. “We, by contrast, will identify and go through, in a practical manner, concrete application scenarios for businesses, organizations and start-ups.”

The program will discuss both the opportunities offered by blockchain technology and the challenges it entails. “Our aim is to help participants develop a good feel for what can actually be done.” It is with this objective in mind that they will be provided with everything they need to create their own blockchains. After all, learning by doing is still the best approach, according to Claudio Di Ciccio. No previous knowledge of blockchain technology will be required to attend the program. “What is more, we are flexible in terms of content and will gear the training to the individual needs and requirements of participants.”

A new mindset for new business models

Claudio Di Ciccio is convinced that there will be no way around blockchain technology in the near future. “This technology has the potential to fundamentally transform industries as we know them today. Its special potential lies in the fact that it allows for an unprecedented combination of infrastructure guarantees by design: Transactions are tamper-proof; data are securely replicated; every transaction is securely signed by its sender and is traceable. However, in order to be able to achieve economic success, it will be necessary to develop a new entrepreneurial mindset based on the logic of the blockchain itself: economic incentives instead of punishments, empowerment of colleagues, decentralization of information, full traceability. For this reason, blockchain technology is not just a business innovation.” According to the expert, companies, first and foremost, need to adopt a new mindset when it comes to their business models.

Portrait Claudio Di Ciccio

Prof. Claudio Di Ciccio

  • Academic Director Blockchain Transforming Business

Things are developing very quickly; we are getting closer and closer to new processes, and there will be new opportunities that we cannot even begin to imagine today. The situation is similar to the early days of the World Wide Web when people could not possibly imagine the extent to which the Internet would transform business and society.

Vienna as a blockchain mecca

Austria's capital plays a key role in the context of this development: The Austrian Blockchain Center at WU Vienna is one of the world's largest competence centers in this field. And in early April 2019, the Blockchain Summit Austria, a major conference devoted to exploring concrete applications, was held in Vienna. “What really matters is to develop a broad-based, holistic understanding of the blockchain that goes beyond the technological side of things—and this is our mission at WU Vienna,” adds Claudio Di Ciccio, who co-organizes the international Blockchain Forum, an event that will be held as part of the Business Process Management Conference in Vienna in September 2019.

Facts about the program:

The continuing education program Blockchain Transforming Business will be delivered at the WU Executive Academy on four days between May 16 and May 23, 2019. The participation fee will be EUR 3,800 (EUR 3,400 for WU Executive Club members). For more information about the program, please click here!

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