Arecibo Observatory establishes an organization-wide purchasing management system to achieve increased spend visibility and accountability with PLANERGY

Located just south of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory was completed in 1963 and has been stewarded by the U.S. National Science Foundation since the 1970s. Originally named Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory, at the time of its 1963 dedication, it was the world’s largest radio telescope; it has contributed to countless scientific discoveries and innovation.  

Having to coordinate between a consortium of three organizations, Arecibo Observatory needed to automate and streamline their procurement and purchasing process; have the ability to track and gain control over spend and inventory; maintain compliance; and increase fiscal visibility. After comparing a number of Spend Management Software options, PLANERGY’s user friendly software outshone the competition which seemed very complicated in comparison.

Key Challenges

Key Benefits

The Story


Scientific Research Facility & Visitor Center

Key client

IT Administrator


Life Science & Pharmaceuticals

Company Size

130+ employees


Purchasing and procurement touches countless businesses and organizations. Operating without a streamlined system or technology stack that suits your specific needs can introduce unnecessary risks. 

Arecibo Observatory TelescopeAside from the actual Arecibo Observatory, three entities comprise the observatory’s consortium – the University of Central Florida, the Universidad Ana G. Méndez, and Yang Enterprises Inc.

These three entities each have their own budget, purchasing, and inventory responsibilities regarding the observatory, warranting a need for a centralized tool to manage and control inventory and purchases.

“When I came aboard, I realized there was no dedicated purchasing tool or software.” said Jorge Herrera, IT Admin. “I escalated the issue to my director and he agreed it was a priority,” he added.

Many tasks were scattered across the consortium. One entity managed inventory and procurement. Another focused on purchases. And, the third entity handled approvals.

Without a central hub, there was lack of visibility and fiscal control; limited accountability; an increased risk of purchasing from incorrect vendors or overpaying; and reporting and compliance was a struggle.

Jorge shared, “With my director’s support, I began evaluating different options that were budget-friendly, user-friendly, and easy-to-deploy”.

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Implementing the PLANERGY all-in-one Procure-to-Pay Software brought full fiscal transparency to the Arecibo Observatory team.

“The PLANERGY software was very straightforward and easy to navigate, compared to other options that seemed extremely complicated and industrial,” says Jorge.

Arecibo Observatory EntranceHe added, “we have many personnel who are not very technical, so the less friction, the better. PLANERGY was intuitive and easy to use, yet versatile. I required very little support to get our team using the software.”

The Spend Management Software allowed streamlined automation of Arecibo’s entire purchase and pay process.

The software facilitated greater accountability; more informed, data-driven budgeting; custom purchase and approval workflows; and greater inventory traceability and control.

Further, the Arecibo Observatory team realized improved speed and efficiency, and gained the ability to run custom reports as needed – enabling them to track trends and minimize costs.

The collapse of the telescope in 2020 means there will be a huge rebuild project that could cost up to $1 billion. This is in the planning stages but with the complicated spend management requirements of a project like this Jorge shared, “PLANERGY helped us manage purchasing greatly during restoration projects from damage caused by Hurricane Maria and will definitely help greatly with the rebuild project”.


The biggest benefits of using PLANERGY were definitely the return on investment, the overall implementation process, from start to finish, and user adoption. Using PLANERGY was a no-brainer.

Arecibo Observatory Logo

Jorge Herrera

IT Administrator

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