Story 2.0 - The big Optimized Design Experience Update


Written By: Rafael - 25 May 2023
(updated on: 01 June 2023)

With the May 2023 update, the new "Optimized Design Experience" was fundamentally expanded and delivered to all SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) customers. The changes to the existing Story are so far-reaching that one can almost speak of a re-launch or simply Story 2.0.

In this blog article, we explain the vision behind it, discuss the new features and benefits, as well as the pitfalls that can arise during migration.

One for all

The Optimizied Design Experience (ODE) is nothing new in SAC and was introduced back in 2022. Besides a new design in edit mode, a few performance and design optimizations in view mode, the ODE mostly shined for its lack of features.

After numerous updates and the progressive unification of Story and Analytic Application (hereinafter only referred to as application), both components are now combined. This is surprisingly far-sighted, as the needs of different user groups are taken into account.

In the future, the "Optimizied Design Experience" will be the first choice for Stories and Applications.  

SAC_ODE_01_Redirect_Story 2.0

When creating a new Story or Application, the ODE option is selected by default;
if required, the classic mode can still be selected.

Brave new world

In a story with "Optimized Design Experience", the new menu layout is immediately noticeable. The story design view now has an outline and looks more like an application than a classic SAC story. But the changes are not only visual, because basically all functions of the Applications have been implemented. All widgets and objects can now be used in the story. Also on board is the complete and partially extended scripting API, as well as the ability to customize the design using CSS.

SAC_ODE_02_Menu_Story 2.0

New layout in Story with Optimized Design Experience.

Those who are afraid that their users will now be overwhelmed with functions can breathe a sigh of relief. In the menu bar there is now a new button with the Application icon. This button makes it possible to switch between an optimized but still simple story mode without scripting and a limited widget selection and an expert mode with all functions. SAP calls the two modes “Story Designer” and “Story Developer” (active advanced mode).


Story Designer

Story Developer

Optimized view mode



Optimized design mode



Containers (Panels etc)




All with databinding


Custom Widgets

All with databinding


Free placement of widgets










In addition, the menu can now be customized in the permissions section, so it is possible to prevent switching on the advanced mode or other functions for entire user groups.

The annoying question of whether a story is sufficient or an application is needed is now a thing of the past. Previously, if you only realized during the implementation of a classic story that you would not achieve the desired result and that scripting was required, you had no choice but to recreate the story in an application. This was annoying for the user in the department and also for the developer, who was surprised with new requirements and tasks. This can no longer happen in the new story with the ODE. The story can first be built by the business department and if necessary, a developer can add features with scripting.

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This sounds quite simple now, and from a purely technical point of view, it is. For a company, of course, this is a new process and at first glance it seems harder to plan. Of course, in practice it will rarely work to "just let the department do it" and then quickly step in. However, this option should be seen as an opportunity because if it is implemented skillfully, it will result in many advantages:

  • More personal responsibility in the business department according to the motto "Power to the User”
  • Relief for IT and developers
  • A more agile approach on dashboard projects
  • Better understanding of the needs of the business
  • Improved collaboration
  • Better stories

Therefore, be bold and rethink your own processes with Story 2.0!

From old to new

If you create a new story, you will of course benefit from the “Optimized Design Experience”, but what does this mean for the old stories and applications?

For Stories this is quite simple, classic Stories have to be converted to a Story with ODE first, this option has existed for a while and often works without problems. In some cases the widgets shift a bit or the colors have to be reassigned. On the other hand, if you have already used Stories with ODE, the new features are simply unlocked. However, it should be noted that users who did not have access to Applications before will not be able to activate the extended mode without adjusting their permissions.

With Applications, the conversion is a bit trickier. Classic Applications can be converted directly into a story with ODE.

SAC_ODE_03_Convert_Story 2.0

To convert Applications, Optimized View Mode does not need to be enabled.

Depending on the complexity and size of the application, this can work without any problems. In most cases, however, a little bit of rework is needed. This ranges from minor adjustments to the widget position or color to creating new metrics in the story or reconnecting the data source for some widgets. Converting larger stories can also take a while.  

It is important to not overwrite the existing application, but to create a new one. On the one hand, because the conversion only works from application to story and there is no way back, on the other hand we could find massive problems when overwriting. So overwritten applications keep their ID, which may be handy for linking, but in the worst case you get a no longer usable story.

Unfortunately, some features didn't make it into the final version either. The missing clock widget certainly won't be noticeable to most. But the limitation in Linked Models is much more painful. Linked Models can still access the same filters, but data blending is not available.

SAC_ODE_04_Blending_Story 2.0

Unfortunately, data blending is not yet available in Stories with Optimized Design Experience.

Is that all?

Now at first glance this may sound like few new features, but this is deceiving. Even though the focus of the update is of course Stories with ODE, there are a lot of new features to discover.

The scripting API was not simply copied 1:1, but also extended. There are numerous extended scripting functions, for example regarding input filters, but also completely new commands to address the story pages. In the test phase, the possibility to use scripting in the Responsive Layout was missing, but this is now also possible.

Apart from scripting there are numerous changes:

  • Custom Widgets in Stories
  • Free positioning of widgets in the flexible layout
  • Vertical story filter
  • Integration with the Data Analyzer
  • Unified bookmark concept
  • Unified story and landing page

Another big topic is planning. Since the entire and expanded API, as well as all widgets are now available in Stories, it also makes sense to build future planning applications in Stories to take advantage of the optimized and new features.

SAC Story 2.0 - Our Conclusion 

In the ende the impression remains that the merger of Stories and Applications was long overdue. The split into the two apps was due to their origins in Lumira Discovery and Designer. The new concept is well thought out and will not only have far-reaching effects on reporting, dashboarding and planning in the future, but will also indirectly influence Boardrooms, Data Analyzer and other SAC areas.

The classic stories and applications can remain for the time being, but one should not have high hopes regarding new functions for them. New projects should be implemented in Stories with Optimized Design Experience. The remaining limitations can be neglected except for the lack of data blending. Classic applications should be transformed step by step as needed.

Would you also like to benefit from our many years of BI project experience? Are you trying to build up the necessary know-how in your department or do you need support for a specific issue? Feel free to contact us!

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Topics: SAP Analytics Cloud, Dashboarding, SAC Story

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