The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the award of a $41.8 million-dollar five-year contract to Ernst and Young LLP (EY) that will replace the decades-long contract held by Dun & Bradstreet to provide entity validation services, currently known as the Data Universal Number System (DUNS®.)
This move will affect every federal agency and the hundreds of thousands of contractors, individuals, and other organizations registered to do business with or receive grants from the U.S. federal government in this all-encompassing transition away from the DUNS to a non-proprietary unique identity identifier.
This March 18 notification is a huge blow to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) which in just the last fiscal year was awarded over $68 million in 192 federal transactions across defense and civilian agencies. And in the last ten years, D&B realized over $639 million in federal revenues providing similar proprietary DUNS-related services to all federal agencies, according to USASpending.gov.
Every entity receiving contracts or grants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) website at SAM.gov, where the DUNS has served as a public-facing unique identification number, thereby keeping sensitive tax identification numbers private.
Through this new contract, the government will transition from the DUNS numbering system to a new government-owned SAM Managed Identifier (SAMMI), which will be used as a primary key to identify every existing and new entity within SAM.gov. GSA plans to enable a successful transition to the SAMMI to be completed by 2020.
In replacing the DUNS with SAMMI, the government will no longer be dependent upon a proprietary D&B-owned data system.
The SAMMI unique entity identifier is tied in SAM.gov to the legal entity name, ‘doing business as’ name, and the physical address that corresponds to it. All entities awarded federal procurement and grants actions, with rare exceptions, are required to register in SAM.
The information from SAM is used throughout the government, to include all aspects of the procurement and financial assistance processes. For historical purposes, DUNS information will continue to be available for awards made prior to the SAMMI transition
GSA acknowledges that this transition to SAMMI will be complicated, and states in its interact.gsa.gov website that specific transition plans will be published at a later date.
All businesses, individuals and government entities using sam.gov will receive notification through existing communication channels and updates will be posted to the GSA Interact platform at https://interact.gsa.gov/.
Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov and a national expert in business development in the government markets.