We’ve seen this coming for a little while now. The GSA released a Request for Information (RFI) and draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) back in October 2017 for Entity Validation Services for the predicted replacement of the Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS).
The DUNS is a proprietary identifier that has been used for decades. There was a desire to use these numbers across the government, however the contract between Duns & Bradstreet and the GSA dictated that the data collected could be used only for narrowly defined “acquisition purposes”. The ownership of the data became blatantly clear in 2014 when Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board did not renew their license with D&B, resulting in five years of government spending data being taken down on Recovery.gov.
D&B required $26 million to amend the contract to allow the government to use the data as needed in 2016. Needless to say, both the feds and those looking for a more transparent government were left with a bad taste in their mouth given the circumstances, leading to the GSA RFI in 2017 and the subsequent RFP in 2018.
On March 18, 2019, the GSA has awarded the 5-year contract to Ernst & Young to the tune of $41.8 million. D&B has ten days to file a protest which may add a new wrinkle to this narrative, so stay tuned for updates.