McCombs to showcase how IT program will make business systems more efficient

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Blockchain, a relatively new information technology program being used by businesses, will be the focus of an upcoming McCombs School of Business event showcasing how the program will make business systems more efficient.

“There (are) a lot of delays and problems trying to work because systems are different,” said Prabhudev Konana, event organizer and associate dean for Instructional Innovation. “Blockchain helps us get rid of all those complexities.”

On April 13, McCombs will host “Blockchain Opportunities and Reality” about the new IT program. Blockchain keeps records of transactions secure across multiple locations so they cannot be tampered with. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin, also known as cryptocurriences, have recently sparked conversation about the future of transactions and blockchains.

The event will have two keynote speakers: Jim Schneider, senior FinTech equity researcher for Goldman Sachs, and Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart. There will be eight panel discussions that bring together researchers and business practitioners, but the event is also open to students, Konana said.

Konana said this technology could affect many business sectors such as social work, supply chain, health care, credit cards and property titles. It allows for direct business to occur between companies in a more efficient way.

He said companies such as Goldman Sachs and Walmart are interested in using Blockchain. Doing business can be difficult when partners want to work together but they have different systems. Blockchain would simplify this process and use one system, Konana said.

“That’s what this conference is, to bring some light to that, you know?” Konana said. “What is that promise? What is that hype, and what are the opportunities?”

Blockchain can keep records of the history of faulty products, so Walmart and other companies can use Blockchain to find and remove the items. Blockchain also reduces the chance of corruption because it does not allow the tampering of old records, Konana said.

“Just like Amazon, just like Priceline, everybody said, ‘They can’t survive,’” Konana said. “Look, they’re doing very well. That’s what’s going to happen in Blockchain. There’s no doubt about it.”

Amanda Ramsey, management information systems senior, said Blockchain is easily accessible.

“It’s decentralized so anyone can edit the blockchain,” Ramsey said. “It’s an up-and-coming way to store information.”

Aimy Tu, management information systems senior, said Blockchain will be helpful to businesses.

“You have a lot of access to information that you don’t already have,” Tu said.