BCS chief executive David Clarke said the society had undergone a revamp in an effort to make it relevant to IT in the 21st century and boost professionalism in the industry.
"IT professional bodies are failing their membership. They are seen as exclusive clubs and elite groups," he said. "Professional groups have to champion the whole profession, and the institutions need to set standards and promote them." The society aims to double its 40,000 membership in three years, he added.
Speaking at the launch event, Peter Gershon, former head of the Office of Government Commerce and now head of the government's efficiency unit, slated the low success rate of IT projects. He cited studies from Computer Weekly/Oxford University Templeton College and the Standish Group to support his view.
"The fundamental issue is that IT is not a cottage industry or an art form - it is engineering," he said.
Gershon welcomed the BCS initiative, saying it is "a critical piece of the jigsaw and is complementary to what has happened to the supply side".
Last December, suppliers organisation Intellect set out 10 commitments to introduce greater professionalism into government IT projects.