ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, GOVERNMENT BUYERS WANT MORE DATA FROM YOU
Whether it’s increased reporting requirements on a GWAC, GSA’s TDR pilot, or information on your company’s supply chain, there is an undeniable trend in government to extract more data from you, the contractor. The latest foray into this area is legislation currently being drafted in the House that would require contractor reporting of data in a common, standardized format. Similar legislation for grants is poised for House floor action. Supporters of the legislation promise a companion bill for contracts. The intent of the grant legislation is to establish a standard taxonomy for data reported by grant recipients to federal agencies. Ideally, supporters say, this would create a more searchable, transparent and user-friendly database of grant awards and awardees. All of this extra work isn’t supposed to cost you a dime, however. According to Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), a co-sponsor of the grant legislation, “Reducing compliance costs and demanding better data are not mutually exclusive principles,” she said. “We can do both by leveraging 21st-century technology.” One has to ask, however, if the mere application of technology can solve the issue at no additional cost, why doesn’t the government initiate the collection of desired information itself? Contractors need to be aware of what the costs of increased transparency are both in terms of IT systems and how much information will be available in the ether on your company.