Member Spotlight: Karen Loftis

By BOSHIA SMITH posted 04-06-2020 09:56

Karen Loftis
Karen is the Director, Product Management at Hyland.  Karen is looking forward to becoming a CIP!  If you have any advice or words of encouragement for Karen to help her obtain her CIP certification, please reach out and share some tips!  

Name:  Karen Loftis
Director, Product Management

Where do you live in?  Currently in Grafton, Wisconsin which is a suburb of Milwaukee

How long have you worked in information management?  20+ years in a variety of capacities

What does your work entail? My work puts me in direct contact with tools that support information management and content services. I manage a team of product managers who are tasked with evolving the information management tools we offer. My team represents the voice of the customer and a variety of different industries. We champion market needs and work to ensure the technology tools we offer fit those needs. 

Do you have company support?  My company supports me by allowing me and my team to connect directly with customers across different industries. We are NOT salespeople. Rather, our job is to connect with information managers with open eyes and ears, to understand business challenges (both new and long-standing) and to collaborate to ensure the technology tools we offer meet our customers’ needs.

How are you helping drive the goals of your office through your work?  A success measure for me has always been the ability for the technology tools I manage to fit customer needs so well that they become invisible. Technology should be about enabling business best practices and empowering end-users to do what they want to do in ways that are intuitive. The technology should learn and be easy to improve upon as you use it.

What has been the biggest success in your career in information management?  I am new to my position with Hyland. I joined the company in September of 2019, and prior to this, I worked in a variety of industries. One of the career achievements of which I am proudest is an early career experience. I was blessed with an opportunity to go to graduate school working full time for the USDA Cooperative Extension Service during the middle 1990s when the internet was first commercializing. I created a curriculum for business leaders focusing on the Internet as a Tool for Business and Community Development and presented classes to businesses of all sizes and industries across a 14-state territory. This was where my professional passion for information management really took shape.

The key takeaway for me from this experience – which has guided me throughout my career – is to always understand business needs first. Technology is just a tool. If the tool doesn’t fit business needs or add value in new ways, it will stay in the toolbox gathering dust.

What’s your current biggest work challenge?  Technology changes and evolves so quickly. It is easy to get caught up in cool new tech, especially when one works with smart engineers. I make a point every day of coming to work as an information manager – not a technologist. In every conversation or meeting, I and my colleagues have, we speak as information managers and use the tools our company offers. This leads to honest conversations about product roadmaps and detailed instructions for technologists who are eager to try out cool new ideas.   

It is important to think about future-proofing investments.  As new regulations, opportunities and market threats emerge that influence the ways information is managed and used, it’s important to have a strategy for evolving assets and changing business processes and workflow.  I mentioned earlier my love for technology becomes invisible and is easy to tune to do new things. This is easy to say and a lot harder to do!

What does Intelligent Information Management mean to you?  I think of Intelligent Information Management as being the basis of what information managers have always done. There is no substitute for human intellect and the capacity of business professionals who learn from and make decisions based on information. Technology does not replace this; it augments and enhances our ability to learn and handle ever-increasing mountains of information faster and more completely.

I am fascinated by business rules engines, workflow, content capture and recognition, machine learning and cloud technology. I am equally as passionate about information privacy, security and human oversight and audit of the machines. The machines allow us humans to be smarter, more connected and more caring.

What are the top 3 things you are looking to get from your AIIM membership? 

  1. I love being part of a professional tribe! I welcome conversation and ideation about emerging issues, opportunities, challenges and threats that impact the art and science of information management.
  2. Training classes and certification. Throughout my career, I have led projects that ultimately enable collection and use of information. Most of my learning has been experiential. I’m looking forward to balancing this with AIIM coursework and certification.
  3. Perspective and insight.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in the year 2020?  Study and prep activities leading up to taking the Certified Information Professional exam.

What is your end goal and how do you think we can help you achieve it?  My end goal is to create systems that enable individuals to receive the best, most personalized and highest quality services from service providers. When you experience outstanding service, you know it – whether that’s from your bank or credit union, at the local DMV, grocery store, dentist’s office, school, etc.  And most of the ingredients that go into creating the outstanding experience are common. It’s about knowing, understanding and connecting dots of information into insights.