Federal Government Procurement & Contracting News: Essential Facts about the Transition from DUNS to SAMMI

The Federal contracting times are changing and the transition from DUNS to SAMMI has begun. Here are a few nuggets of information for the acquisition communities pursuing Federal Government Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) training and certification.

What is a DUNS number?

DUNS stands for “Data Universal Numbering System”. A DUNS number is a unique 9-digit number assigned by an entity validation system that has been provided and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet. For more than two decades, it has been the default data standard for identifying and matching the companies, state, local, tribal governments, and nonprofits that receive Federal taxpayer money.

What is a SAMMI number?

SAMMI stands for “System for Award Management Managed Identifier”. A SAMMI number provides a new, unique identifier for entities applying for and receiving Federal contract awards, established by Ernst & Young.

What is the difference between a DUNS number and a SAMMI number?

The most essential difference between these two unique identifiers is ownership and cost. The DUNS database is a proprietary asset of Dun & Bradstreet. SAMMI is owned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and is maintained by Ernst & Young within the Integrated Award Environment (IAE). Registration with either system is free, however gaining access or analysis of the DUNS is only available through a fee-based subscription with Dun & Bradstreet.

Why is the entity identification and verification system changing?

While the DUNS system has been the default standard identifier for contractors and grantees for tracking Federal spending information, every entity that registers for a DUNS number purchases a license from Dun & Bradstreet. This proprietary data standard prevents the information from being freely used and shared.

The DATA Act of 2014 directed the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to set standards for government spend reporting and tracking, which led to a Request for Information (RFI) and then a Request for Proposals (RFP) for entity validation services. On March 18, 2019, GSA announced that Ernst & Young was awarded $41.75 million for a one-year base, and four-option period entity validation contract, initiating the transition from DUNS to SAMMI.

“Securing this five-year contract means that the Federal Government will have a safe, secure, and unified method for validating entities, while also simplifying the process for those who seek awards,” GSA Office of Systems Management Assistant Commissioner Judith Zawatsky said in a statement. “This award greatly improves the government’s ability to manage data and is an important step forward to competitively procuring entity validation services on behalf of the entire government award community.”

Do I need to have a DUNS number, a SAMMI number, or both?

Because DUNS numbers have been the standard method of contractor identity verification for decades, existing government contracts will be tied to a contractor’s DUNS identity until the transition to SAMMI is complete.

According to GSA, “To enable a successful transition to the SAMMI while minimizing the impact to Government operations, the Integrated Award Environment (IAE) has planned for an extensive transition period implementing changes in IAE through a phased approach by 2020.”  So, for the moment, contractors will need to maintain their DUNS numbers and obtain a SAMMI number as well.

How do I get a DUNS number?

To apply for a DUNS number, visit Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number webpage.

How can I get a SAMMI number?

To register for a SAMMI number, review the System for Award Management Quick Start Guide for Contract Registration.

Need more info information while transitioning from DUNS to SAMMI?

In addition to monitoring the numerous media channels that report on public sector news, GSA hosts an online community called GSA Interact, where users exchange information.

Note: D-U-N-S is a registered trademark of Dun & Bradstreet.

Written by:
Natalie Komitsky
Acquisition & Contracting
Media Type:

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