SIMS: How to set up SIMS Integration for Room Booking

If you would like SchoolCloud Room Booking to integrate with SIMS, this article takes you through the steps to set this up - either as part of the initial set up of Room Booking, or using a system that's already up and running.

Why Integrate with SIMS?

Using SIMS Integration, your complete timetable, cover changes, room closure and suspension rules will sync seamlessly into Room Booking every day automatically. 

How does this work?

A small program, the Room Booking System SIMS Client is installed by the school and then scheduled to run a daily sync, to make sure that the latest data is in Room Booking. This sync is one way only, no data is written back to SIMS. Once installed, the SIMS Client will automatically update itself to any new version. 

Create SIMS User

When the Room Booking SIMS Client connects to SIMS to extract the relevant data it does so using a SIMS user account. This account can either be a new one you create specifically for the client to use, or an existing SIMS user account - in either case the account must have the permissions below:

  • Cover Manager  
  • School Administrator  
  • Third Party Reporter  

If you are unsure how to set up the user, or want to check the permissions on an existing account, please see this article: Creating a SIMS user account with the correct permissions.

Download the Room Booking SIMS Client (First time user)

Note: This section should only be followed if you are setting up Room Booking for the first time and you are obtaining your System Name & API Key from the set up wizard.

For an existing system skip to Download the Room Booking SIMS Client (Existing System) below.

  1. Log into your system. You will be presented with the set up wizard.

    From the drop-down next to Will this system be used in a primary or secondary school? select Yes, a school

    Then from  Would you like fully automatic MIS integration? select Capita Sims Integration and then Continue.
  2. This will load the SIMS Integration page. Click on download the latest Room Booking System SIMS Client and extract the files to a suitable location. Or click here.

    The page also contains your  System Name and API Key which you will need at a later stage of the set up.
    The download includes three files:

    Data Extraction Declaration - pdf document providing details of the data to be extracted from the SIMS database.
    SIMS Integration Guide - pdf document providing set up instructions. 
    setup.exe - the installation file. 

Download the Room Booking SIMS Client (Existing customer)

Note: This section should only be followed if the integration is being set up for an existing Room Booking system. If Room Booking is being set up for the very first time and you have already followed the Download the Room Booking System SIMS Client (New System) step you can now skip to Install Room Booking System SIMS Client below.

  1. From the Administrator Homepage select System Settings > SIMS Integration
  2. Click on download the latest Room Booking System SIMS Client and extract the files to a suitable location.Or click here. The download includes three files:

    Data Extraction Declaration - This document provides details of the data that is extracted from the SIMS database.
    SIMS Integration Guide - This document provides the steps to follow for set up. 
    setup.exe - This is the install file. 

    This SIMS Integration page will also contain your System Name and API Key which you will need at a later stage of the set up.

Install Room Booking System SIMS Client

Now that you have downloaded the latest version of the Room Booking System SIMS Client you should run the setup.exe file and follow the on-screen instructions. Once the installation has completed, check the box to Launch the program and click Finish. You can also access the application via the Windows Start Menu: Start > All Programs > Room Booking System SIMS Client.

Note: if your SIMS server is on site in the school then the Room Booking System SIMS Client can be installed on any machine in the school network which has SIMS installed on it. However, we recommend that it is installed on the SIMS server itself, as the daily scheduled task runs in the early hours of the morning (between 01:00 and 02:00) and most ordinary computers are likely to be switched off at that time.

Configure Room Booking System SIMS Client

You should now configure your Room Booking System SIMS Client application with the login settings for SIMS, the details to authenticate to Room Booking, the proxy, and scheduled task settings. The synchronisation with SIMS can also be run manually at any time from the client.

  1. The first thing to configure is the proxy.

    Click on Proxy Settings Ensure the radio button is selected on Auto-Detect

    To test, using Default network Credentials, select the box next to Use Default Network Credentials. If you would like to test using other credentials input these details.

    Select Test Internet Connection, This will verify that the application is able to connect to the Room Booking servers. A pop up box will appear confirming the Internet connection is working. Once confirmed click on Save.
  2. To set up a new SIMS installation click on AddUnder the Room Booking System Settings enter the System Name & API Key of your system.

    If you are setting up a new system these detail can be found on the Quick Start Wizard.

    If you are setting up an existing system you can find the details when you are logged into Room Booking under the Administrator Homepage System Settings > SIMS Integration Under the SIMS Settings enter the username and password for the SIMS user you created earlier, or those of an existing SIMS user that has the required permissions.

    You can now either enter the SIMS server and database details or simply just click Auto Detect SIMS Server/Database to read these from the SIMS connect.ini file. Once all details have been entered click Save.
  3. To check that all the SIMS details entered are correct and to perform your initial sync click on Run Now
  4. The sync will now start in a command window (black background with white text).

    If the details are correct, the synchronisation will start syncing your data from SIMS, starting with Rooms and ending with Cover. This process normally takes around a couple of minutes.
    The output will be similar to the below: If the Room Booking System Settings details are incorrect, the output will look similar to this:If the SIMS Settings are incorrect, the output will look similar to this:If needed, correct the settings and run the sync again until it finishes successfully.
  5. Now set up the scheduled task, which will automatically run the sync for you daily. This is scheduled between 1-2am to reduce server load.

    Select Schedule Settings. Tick Enable scheduled task between 1-2am.

    Under Windows User Account enter the Username & Password of the windows user that will be used to run the SIMS Client. This user must have access to the directory in which SIMS is installed.

    Optionally, you can also tick Run as soon as possible if missed, which would mean that if, for example, the computer is turned off overnight then the scheduled task would run as soon as it was turned back on.

    Click Save
  6. Check that the proxy settings and schedule show the correct details

Match Room/Timeslots (Existing Customers Only)

Note: If you are setting up a new system you can ignore this section and continue to What's Next?

When setting up the integration for an existing system you now need to match the timeslots and rooms that have come across from SIMS to those already set up on Room Booking:

  1. Login to Room Booking as an administrator - or if logged in already, click the Home tab at the top.

    Follow the on screen instructions to match up the rooms and timeslots that have been extracted from SIMS (in the drop down boxes) to those already on your system.

    If the on screen instructions don’t show, ensure that your initial sync completed correctly and that (under Manage Admins) your administrator account has permission to access System Settings. Please ensure that you match this information carefully, as matching Rooms and Timeslots allows the Room Booking System SIMS Client to correctly sync timetable information into existing rooms in Room Booking.

    If any bookings previously made on Room Booking clash with the timetabled information received from the sync then the user of the booking would be emailed to advise them of this and their booking would be removed.

    If existing bookings do not clash with timetable information from the sync, then they remain on the system as booked.
  2. Once you have matched the rooms and timeslots the main administrator panel will appear, with the message below.Any rooms that have not matched up will be automatically created in Room Booking under Manage Resources. These will have a resource category of 'Unassigned'. This category is hidden from administrators & users when making bookings.

    If you would like the rooms to be made bookable select Manage Resources from the administrator homepage and edit the resource and assign it to a visible category. there is more on this in How do I set up my rooms and make them bookable? and All about resource categories
  3. Access the Room Booking System SIMS client again and run another sync by clicking on Run Now. 

What's Next? 

Your set up of SIMS Integration for Room Booking is now complete! Here are some extra steps you may wish to take:

  1. If you are setting up your system for the first time you will need to assign categories to any rooms that you would like to be made bookable. How do I set up my rooms and make them bookable?
  2. As long as your rooms have categories assigned you can check your timetable is showing correctly by going to the Calendar tab and viewing the timetable information for each room. The timetable information will be displayed in yellow.
  3. You can configure various settings for the SIMS Integration. These can be set by accessing System Settings > SIMS Integration from the Administrator Home page:

    From Days Ahead for Cover/Closures select the number of days from the drop down that you would like the sync to include.

    The Class Code Format field allows you can select the format of your timetabled information that syncs across.

    If you have half period information set up in SIMS but do not want this to show in Room Booking select Disable Half Period Mode.

    This screen also show you the date and time for the Last Successful Run of the sync. Select Update System Settings to update your information.
  4. If you are setting your system up for the first time you can now continue to to set up your users. Please see Users: How to add users to your system or take a look at How to set up Single Sign-On (SSO)
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