SIMS uses a client-server architecture; the back-end service is based around Microsoft SQL Server with some business logic handled by a custom .NET Framework module. The client application is also built with .NET, and handles almost all of the data manipulation and reporting workload.

Some legacy components (notably Nova-T6, the timetabling package included with SIMS) are Windows API applications and store data in flat binary files.

SIMS is a modular application, the core offering covering storing basic school data with modules available to handle (among other things) legal registration, the recording of achievements and sanctions and the management and documentation of public examinations. Capita also offer modules aimed at specific sectors, such as a fee billing system for private schools.

Third-party developers can build products that integrate with SIMS through Capita's "Partner Program". Schools that already own a SIMS licence can get free or reduced-price access to the SIMS API, but private companies must pay a non-trivial yearly fee to gain and then retain the ability to interface with SIMS.

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