The General Services Administration is leaving behind its entity validation work with Dun & Bradstreet following the March 18 award of a new $41.75 million entity validation contract to Ernst and Young.

Entity validation services ensure that federal agencies can confirm the identity of any company, individual or organization wishing to do business with the government.

“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,” said GSA Office of Systems Management Assistant Commissioner Judith Zawatsky in a news release.

“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.”

According to a September 2016 GSA blog post, the agency has partnered with Dun & Bradstreet since the 1970s, and the company had longstanding control over government identity validation.

Some industry groups have in the past been critical of D&B’s proprietary control over the contracting validation process.

In 2016, GSA renegotiated its contract with D&B to eliminate the requirement that any D&B-sourced content be removed from government systems in the event of a contract change, opening the door for an easier transition of power in the federal entity validation space.

According to the GSA news release, the new contract will increase efficiency for agencies by eliminating the need for separate entity validation services for each agency and instead offer everyone the same service through the System for Award Management portal.

The D&B contract will continue long enough to ensure a successful transition to the EY contract, which will run through March 2024.