Solely for “business planning purposes only,” the General Services Administration released a Request for Information (RFI) for Entity Validation Services, services currently fulfilled with the use of the Data Universal Number System (DUNS). While in an early stage, this could indicate the Federal government’s interest in moving away from the proprietary Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) identification system. The RFI specifically mentions the necessity for open access to the data by the public and the Federal government, which illustrates a key point in the years-long criticism from some circles of the current DUNS implementation: the ownership and protection of the information by D&B.
The RFI divides the validation services into two separate categories: Core Validation, which includes determining and confirming the uniqueness of the entity using objective data; and Additional Services which include the validation of other data points including the profit status and other company information. In both the RFI a the draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) released last month, emphasis is placed on interoperability with SAM.gov, strong customer service, and full public availability of the data in the Federal push for transparency.
After the detailed look at the expectations of the government in a new iteration of validation services, the RFI and PWS also provided some interesting statistics measuring the current contracting community. Of the over 2 million entity records held in SAM, at least 618,000 of those records are considered active contractors, while over 1.4 million are considered expired. Beyond looking at the 618,000 entities potentially competing for $454 billion in FY17 alone (and the almost $2.6 trillion in total Federal funding to entities, according USASpending.gov), the government also noted the cyclical pattern to entity registrations.
New entity registrations and entity updates seem to peak during a month of each calendar quarter of the year, according to a chart in the RFI. A much higher than average number of entity registrations also seems to be prevalent in the month of September. This could be attributed to huge spike in contracting activity that many agencies seem to conduct in September, something EZGovOpps covered previously.
While this project is in the early stages, it could prove to be a major shake-up in how the government keeps track of contractors, and a big step in the push for Federal transparency. EZGovOpps will continue to monitor the process for any updates.
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