OK, so if you just use word to write letters, or Excel to do some simple spreadsheets then you probably don't need this. If however, you are an IT Professional and your job involves development work, or network management then you really should consider this. Microsoft Technet is a monthly CD Subscription - each month you will receive a number of CDs containing a variety of patches, service packs, evaluation copies of software, training notes, beta releases and White Papers (more theoretical looks at MS Softwrae and issues, eg planning an upgrade from Office 97 to Office 2000). These are very useful, but really are the bonuses - the main reason for taking Technet is the Technical Information CD. This is updated every month and contains a search engine and thousands of white papers, articles from MS Books, bug fixes and hints. Basically this means that if an error occurs in any MS Product, from SQL Server to Age of Empires, you can find out what it is and how to solve it, without a call to MS Support. (If you do call support, they will be using Technet themselves!) Some would say that it is a bit rich of Microsoft to charge you for a service that corrects their mistakes, and they would have a point. However, Technet does more than that, and is a service that none of Microsoft's competitors seem to offer (and you have to pay to receive support from all companies). In addition to all of this, there are quarterly briefings organised around the company where MS people will go over a few new opieces of software and what they are for, or explain some set of skills you never knew you needed. These briefings are very good, particularly if you are trying to decide whether to evaluate some new product. Technet costs about £200 a year, so get the company to pay for it, and enjoy the benefits of an easier life.
The idea behind technet is superb. If it weren't for technet I'm sure I'd have spent a very long time on the phone at considerable cost to Microsoft themselves resolving probs. Having said that technte itself is quite expensive. Unless of course you've managed to blag it as part of getting a certification such as an MCSE in which case you're paying for it indirectly. Enough bitching, the app itself is very good and simple to use. Just a basic search engine really. Sometimes it'll pull back some terrible answers to your questions and others will be superb. The relatively recent addition of real english questions is a god-send. Previously it was a simple word search and nothing more. If you're looking for an amazing amount of MS generated support information for all product MS then this is the baby for you. 1 years membership brings many many updates both solutions and software patch wise and is worth every penny. If, however, you doubt every word uttered by the creature MS then avoid it like the plague.