Life after DUNS

If you have done any work, within the past 60 years with the Federal Government, then you have probably heard of the Data Universal Number System or DUNS. It is the data format that identifies organizations doing business with the government.

GSA, who administers the program, awarded a new contract in 2018 to Ernst & Young to dispense new organization identifiers. The new Unique Entity IDs (UEIs) will replace the current DUNS numbers. Ernst & Young will also manage the transition. (Nextgov October 13, 2021)

GSA is working with agencies to test the old and the new numbers prior to the final cutover, planned for April 2022. However, before the switch from DUNS numbers to UEIs takes place, GSA through the Integrated Award Environment program would like to work with some testers to ensure smooth sailing before the final cutover. (ibid)

According to Interact.gov, “volunteers get scripts which walk through various Unique Entity ID (SAM.gov) functions, such as requesting and receiving a Unique Entity ID (SAM.gov) or how to deal with error scenarios. Each test script takes about 20 minutes or less. You test at your own pace and send us your feedback.” This is extremely necessary because the DUNS is a nine-number string and the UEI is a 12-digit alphanumeric code. (ibid)

The program office recently released new help resources through the Federal Service Desk under a dropdown option under FAQ. It is also accessible through a large green button icon on the fsd.gov homepage. (ibid)

This large-scale modernization touches every single entity that does business with the federal government. GSA is hopeful their call for superusers will enable a smooth transition.

Questions about the UEI and how you might get ahead of the curve and get yours? Give us a call.

 

 

GSA is about to make Cloud purchases a whole lot easier

GSA is about to reveal a plan for a governmentwide marketplace for cloud solutions. This new marketplace will not only make it convenient, it will also set up a one-stop-shop for agencies to purchase commercial Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service, offerings. (FedTech October 7, 2021)

On a recent webinar, Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category in the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said, “We’re looking at how we put together a cloud marketplace that then becomes a buying platform for agencies. We want to put together not just a framework, but a market contractual vehicle that will allow our agencies to buy these core cloud services that we’re seeing them need more and more.” (ibid)

The GSA marketplace will provide agencies with professional IT services as well as post-award contract management tools. It would also set the requirements to verify cloud services meet the baseline security and adherence to guidance from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). (ibid)

GSA wants to streamline the entire cloud procurement process for agencies. According to Laura Stanton, “GSA uses the cloud and cloud-related IT professional services special item number (SIN) 518210C as a vehicle for multiple-award procurements. The contract type can be used to acquire cloud computing services, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” Stanton said that GSA is “hearing that agencies have to go to multiple places to buy cloud. We decided it was time to take the next step.” (ibid)

An RFI is expected early in the new fiscal year, which began October 1, 2021. (ibid)

Questions concerning the upcoming RFI? Give us a call.

Federal IT to get a $3B boost

The funding for Federal IT modernization is about to see a noteworthy increase, $3.35 billion if a recent amendment sees success. (MeriTalk September 3, 2021)

An amendment, put forward by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., would increase funding for Federal IT modernization by $3 billion. Connolly said, “this week, Congress continues our important work in rebuilding from this pandemic, and building a 21st-century economy that is more equitable, visionary, and sustainable. But the policy prescriptions we adopt will only be successful if our IT can deliver on those promises. The fate of the world’s largest economy rises and falls with the ability of government IT systems to deliver in an emergency and as we recover into the future. And that should galvanize us all. Without smart IT investments, our mission to help the American People, will not succeed. We have to get this right, right now.” (ibid)

Through a press release, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform expects the amendment to provide the following:

  • $1 billion in TMF funding, available until September 30, 2031.
  • $2 billion for the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Federal Citizen Services Fund. The fund helps agencies to improve public engagement with the government. It supports cybersecurity and cloud-based technologies.
  • $350 million to the Information Technology Oversight and Reform (ITOR) account within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a mechanism to track government IT spending. The ITOR account is used to fund staffing for the U.S. Digital Service. The U.S. Digital Service works to fix agencies’ most difficult tech problems. (ibid)

Are you a business looking to do work with Federal IT modernization? Give us a call.

A new day, a new number

After nearly 50 years as the official entity verification number, The Dun & Bradstreet DUNS is being replaced by the Ernst & Young, Unique Entity ID or UEI. Although the original transition was planned for December 2020, it has been moved to April 4, 2022. The additional time allows for agencies to test systems using both numbers ahead of the final cutover. (Nextgov July 29, 2021)

The DUNS identifier is comprised of nine numbers. The UEI is a 12 digit alphanumeric code. The character number change requires every federal agency as well as every private contractor/vendor doing government business, to recode their systems to accept the new UEI number. (ibid)

The GSA Interact site recently confirmed that all organizations with a DUNS have been assigned a UEI. The Interact post explains that contractors and grantees previously registered on SAM have “already been assigned a Unique Entity Identity ID”. Users should go to their entity registration record to view their new identifier. Users, such as sub-awardees, may request a UEI on SAM.gov, beginning October of 2021. (ibid)

GSA told contractors, “in preparation for the full transition to the Unique Entity ID, you should prepare any of your own internal systems to accept the new identifier and to stop using the DUNS number for federal awards processes by April 2022. Federal agencies will begin to migrate to the Unique Entity ID between now and April 2022. Pay special attention to instructions they provide regarding the use of the new identifier.” (ibid)

Questions concerning your DUNS number or your UEI? Give us a call.

GSA has some big changes coming

Over the last few years, the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has focused on improving customer and employee experiences. FAS is building on that foundation with the following four new initiatives:

  1. Modernize and consolidate the schedule contracts
  2. Develop commercial platforms under Section 876
  3. Develop a contract acquisition lifecycle management system
  4. Move toward catalog management for all products and services (Federal News Network July 1, 2021)

According to Sonny Hashmi, FAS Commissioner, the goal is to reduce friction for agency customers and contractors selling their products and services. (ibid)

At a recent Government Procurement Conference Hashami said, “if you look at the transactions that are going through, the majority are in the service marketplaces, whether it’s in IT or non-IT services. Then we have a products catalog marketplace and those experiences are slightly different how you buy a product is slightly different than how you engage with a vendor on services. We have to kind of provide that distinction. When it comes to products, we’re seeing customers increasingly wanting to see a self-service type, model, more of an e-commerce model. So that begs the question of what’s the future of GSA Advantage? How do we scale it? How do we make it more powerful? Then, of course, there’s a new policy frameworks coming our way from Section 889, supply chain risk management, cybersecurity and cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) compliance. We have to incorporate all of those as part of our thinking as well.” Hashmi noted that the effort to consolidate is 90% complete. (ibid)

The deputy commissioner at FAS, Tom Howder, expects GSA to make an award near the end of fiscal 2021 to develop the catalog management system. The contractor awarded will help manage data and catalog listings. The goal is to “make it easier for contractors to get on GSA contracts” according to Howder. (ibid)

Hashmi noted the focus on the customer is guiding its request for information and the possibility of setting up a new cloud services blanket purchase agreement. He noted that FAS is aware that the more GWACs and multiple award contracts they create, such the OASIS replacement including POLARIS, ASTRO and 8(a)STARS III, the more confusing it may become. (ibid)

Hashmi said, “give us some time. We don’t want to break what works. Industry should not worry that we’re going to take opportunity away from them. If you’re a company that’s been very successful on OASIS, engage in the OASIS replacement conversation, make sure that you are also going to be very successful on the new contract. But if you’re a company that was left out of OASIS, guess what, you now have an opportunity to also be successful in the new contract vehicle. That’s where I’m looking at it. Now we want to make sure that we talk constantly with our customers and our suppliers. So we can wait until this thing gets released and then say, ‘Well, this is not going to work for us.’ Or you can engage with us now to make sure we build something that’s going to actually work for you. We’re a couple of years away from this being fully figured out and issued. That’s plenty of time for us to rethink how we are going to do competition. Engage with us, give us some ideas, and then let’s make it so that it’s accessible for you.” (ibid)

Questions about the Federal Marketplace Strategy or how you can provide input? Give us a call.