An IT operating model is a combination oforganizational structure and processes that comprehensively covers the IT department. It spans the whole IT lifecycle from IT strategy, architecture, demand and supply management, project management, infrastructure to support services such as accounting andHR. In essence, it is how the IT organization is set up to serve its users, the business.

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and IT executives are facing constant pressure to optimize their IT operating model to fit the ever changing business models of their users. The guidance information systems (IS) research provides on this issue is scarce. The IS literature contains little specific advice on how organizations should develop and adapt IT operating models. While the literature has extensive studies on components of IToperating models, such as enterprise architecture, research on IT operating models as a whole is surprisingly sparse.

This paper analyzes the available academic and practitioner literature on IT operating models and identifies areas for future research. It specifically identifies research on internal alignment within an IT department ("inward alignment") as an area of urgent need.