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Ernst & Young to take over contractor entity validation

For now, it appears that Dun & Bradstreet’s decades-long run as the company whose service federal agencies use to identify and track contractors may be over.

Ernst & Young has won a five-year, $41.8 million contract to wrestle the work away from D&B, GSA said Monday.

Agencies will access the new entity validation service through SAM.gov when they need to verify the identity of a company or person wanting to do business with the federal government.

D&B’s Data Universal Number System has been the standard for decades in the public sector and commercial world.

But in the federal space, the use of DUNS drew fire several years ago because of questions of ownership over and access to that data.

DUNS numbers can be used to verify corporate identities, as well as contract awards and other data.

Dun & Bradstreet resolved the access issue in 2016, but the pressure was on GSA to move away from a proprietary entity validation system.

With that resolution, GSA vowed to open the competition for an alternative and now EY has won that contract.

As the government transitions to the new system, agencies will still have access to D&B's service to maintain award reporting and data integrity.

The award was announced today (Monday, March 18), so it is possible that D&B could file a protest. They have 10 business days after a debriefing to do so. We’ll watch out for that.

A statement from Dun & Bradstreet gave no indication of the company fighting for the contract through a protest. Instead, the company praised GSA and their long relationship:

“Dun & Bradstreet will continue to perform mission-critical work for all 15 cabinet-level agencies in the federal government, providing best in class data and analytics to protect our homeland, secure the global supply chain and prevent fraud, waste and abuse," the company spokesman wrote in an email. "As a trusted partner for the General Services Administration over the last two decades, Dun & Bradstreet has been honored to work with the GSA’s Integrated Award Environment. We will continue providing support and continuity under our contract, delivering our proven capabilities for operational efficiency, transparency and accountability, while the GSA develops its new system.” 

An attempt to reach Ernst & Young hasn't borne any fruit yet. 

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 18, 2019 at 9:26 AM


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